I’ve received some interesting feedback from fans of 4XPEDITION after my announcement that I would be launching a new company–ROVE Ultra Expeditions–with my friend Dan Cronin of Northwest Overland Society.
Responses were mixed when I posted an update video on my YouTube channel and wrote about it on various social media. Many people found the news to be very exciting. Others were let down that I wouldn’t be as focused on producing content for the 4XPEDITION YouTube channel.
I have seen this kind of mixed reaction in the past. When I started my channel, I was almost entirely focused on weekend adventures in a specific brand of car (a Subaru Outback converted to an overland soft-road rig). Then, I decided to purchase a RAM Truck and a slide-in truck camper. That started some backlash from viewers that I was no longer entirely focused on Subaru adventures. But I still had both vehicles at the time so I was pretty evenly distributing content using both. Viewers stuck around and, in fact, my channel grew by new viewers interested in the truck camper.
As my life evolved and I left the employer I had been working for, I found myself with an opportunity to make a life shift. So, I sold the Subaru to my son, sold the slide in truck camper, bought an RV and started the search for a mountain property to build a cabin on.
The cabin build experience was one I had dreamed of. For years I would sit in front of my television in the evenings watching other people fulfilling their dream doing such things. And, because I am willing to make bold decisions in my life, I set out to do the same. Because so, my focus on YouTube shifted to that adventure.
Wow, did I get a lot of backlash from people that my channel was no longer about Subarus. I would say that I lost more than a thousand viewers because of it. And, the comments reflected their distaste in my decision. I guess that is what happens when people live their lives vicariously through the lens of others. They come to depend on others for an escape out of their world even if just for a few minutes. Frankly, that’s what I had been doing watching other people build cabins in the woods. So, I get it.
Interestingly, as I settled on a property and Heather and I started the renovations, the channel took a new direction and again I saw backlash by those who expected my content to continue revolving around vehicle adventures. But, just as viewers fell away, new viewers tuned in that were particularly interested in the cabin build project.
Because Heather and I were willing to be public about our relationship, channel viewers were gifted a unique opportunity to watch a new love relationship unfold as we worked together to build out my dream. Heather rolled up her sleeves and supported me in achieving something that I had set out to accomplish. The Pursuit of Cabin Living Series took viewers through an entirely different experience than the vehicle adventures and it wasn’t just the cabin build project. We offered vehicle and hiking adventure videos and a story of a remarkable love which culminated in an entire video–a very intimate window–into our wedding.
Then, this past November, we decided to head to Arizona. My new wife was missing the warm sunshine of the Desert Southwest and so for her birthday, we decided to embark on a new adventure–to spend the winter there instead of at Songbird Cabin. I was also getting prepared to look for new sources of income and expected I could tap into my 30-year network of business people in Arizona.
As the months passed, we realized we just didn’t want to go home to the blistering cold of our 8,600 foot-elevation property. The weather service was reporting negative 30 degrees and feet of snow. And, as an entrepreneur like me generally tends to do, I started thinking about businesses I could start to generate the significant revenue Heather and I wanted to create to move in the direction of our joint goals.
4XPEDITION is an exceptional brand. But revenue streams are limited. I spent years running my own branding and marketing agency, so I set out to gain new clients–even if only to level things out until other plans were underway.
As luck would have it, Dan and I decided after several conversations and over 10 years kicking the idea around, to start an adventure travel company. Businesses take time to grow legs and so I cannot depend on ROVE for income for at least the first few years. Thus, I still need to focus on making income now. That may come in a variety of forms including employment opportunities and/or sub-contract work.
When you are a public figure like I have become, people tend to shape a perception of you. At first, their perception may be skewed. So, for example, they may expect you to always do one thing–like drive a Subaru. They may fall in love with your cabin in the woods. They may hope for things to go in a particular direction in your life. But, pursuing dreams is personal. And, when you are a person who goes after the experiences they want to have in life, things constantly evolve.
I took a break from content creation and sharing my life last fall. That break continues today. I am entering my fifth month not posting videos to the channel. Yet, my channel continues to grow in viewership and I continue to generate revenue from the streams I have established. New subscribers join the channel every day watching everything from Subaru to cabin life experiences. They come away inspired by the colorful life I have lived and shared.
At the end of the day, all I’ve ever wanted is to inspire you to pursue your dreams, to motivate you to get outside and explore this amazing world we’ve been gifted and to care about each other and our planet.
What I do with my time is for me to decide. Sharing it with all of you is something I do to feel inspired. I share the stories of my life when I feel compelled to do so. And, as my life evolves and unfolds, so too will the content and message I share [if and when I decide to do so].
I can only hope that when I do take pause and you are missing my consistent content shares, that you will fill that void with your own experiences. You are the catalyst of your own inspiration. You have to overcome the fear. Only you can overcome a passive nature. You have to make the effort to rise up and take a stand for your life experience.
I’ve had several people ask where my life will now head. The truth is, Heather and I take one day at a time and we explore all the options we have before us almost daily. We could just as easily sell the cabin property and go live somewhere abroad as we could keep it and build new structures on it. Neither one of us feels attachment to what is. We love Songbird Cabin and Mantle Rock Mountain Camp, but it isn’t the end-all. And, because we were smart about the property and seriously focused on paying it off, we are not in any way pressured to sell it. We have granted ourselves options.
If you want freedom in your life, create options for yourself. Nobody likes being backed into a corner and suppressed. Focus on what will give you options. And, don’t be fooled by the American Dream. That’s a dream you’ve been fed by the system. True freedom is having options. Do you really need that huge house and those expensive vehicles? Do you realize that the payments you accumulate force you to depend on your employer?
Life will constantly offer opportunities for a shift. We must embrace these opportunities and invest ourselves in the evolution of our life experience. If we don’t, life becomes stagnant. It’s most certainly ok to sit on the sidelines at times. It’s appropriate to catch your breath. It is sensable to recenter and give yourself time to focus. Eventually though, we must take action and make a move. It is imperative to do so. With foresight, we can mitigate regret when we look back on our life later.
The experience I wanted to have on our property in New Mexico is what I grated to myself to have. The cabin and the property itself wasn’t the dream. The dream was to have an experience building my own cabin with my own hands in a remote forest away from the crowds. We love the people we have befriended there. We love our little cabin. But we also have other dreams to fulfill and we are still young enough to pursue them. And, truth be told, I still have to make a living in the process.
My life will continue to unfold. I suspect I will continue to share my experiences so long as it inspires me to do so. The content I share will continue to evolve. I hope along the way that it isn’t the specific subject matter that keeps you interested. Instead, I hope it is the anticipation of the unknown. And, if you decide that you would rather spend your time living your own dreams and cannot find time to spend following me then most certainly follow your path. Maybe we will cross paths on our pursuits to live life fully. If we do, I look forward to sitting with you around a camp fire exchanging stories of our epic life adventures.