For now, Us is Me. My name is Dave Thum and Overland Adventurer Designs is my start-up. The company will seek to design or locate best-in-class products and strategies for optimizing the overland travel experience. Excellent quality and performance are essential as reliability is paramount for distant travels far from product support and repair. I like solving problems and listening to customers (fellow adventurers) to determine unmet needs or desires in their travel experiences.
My unswerving curiosity has always been the primary engine that drives the decisions in my life. It’s no surprise then that travel and adventure are among my favorite pastimes. Oh yeah … and I tend to ask a lot of questions and challenge the status quo. The highlight of my adventures so far was taking a year to backpack around the world. My plan is to “retire” and travel full time in my truck camper to Central and South America.
From the time I started driving I’ve always loved the road trip. And going off the road was right behind that. My first off-road experiences were atop a 1969 Yamaha 250 Enduro – the first vehicle I ever purchased. I really enjoy mastering the control of vehicles to do my bidding. Choosing and holding a line on the trail is all consuming and pure joy whether it’s a motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, or four-wheeler. My favorite personal 4x4 vehicles from the past are my 1978 Toyota FJ40 Landcruiser and a 1995 Mitsubishi Montero SR.
Recently I purchased a Ford F-250 4x4 with a 7.3 liter PowerStroke Diesel engine and a 2010 Four Wheel pop-up camper. I named my rig Homer. This will be my new platform for adventure and ultimately Homer will be my rig for full-time travel. Before then I will find a 250-400cc motorcycle to put on a bumper ramp on the back. I can use this to explore less accessible trails. I can also use it for a camp vehicle, running into town, and for redundancy when the truck needs servicing … or an escape vehicle if I get stuck :-/
I’ve also always had an affinity for mechanical things. I have Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. My first job was in aerospace and I went on to design exercise equipment and do product development consulting. I like to solve problems – especially with product solutions. Spotting problems with opportunity requires paying attention, listening, challenging the status quo … and then of course being clever about coming up with a solution.
I like being prepared for anything. I tend to plan for anything that can go wrong. This does get in the way of spontaneity but I can pull that off sometimes too. But it’s so satisfying to be prepared when something goes wrong and I have the tools, supplies, and skills to solve the problem and carry on with the adventure. It’s also very gratifying to save someone else in trouble that is less prepared.
I like community. I come from a big family and I live in a small town. I have seen what a small number of people working together can accomplish. I am a Rotarian and have been on several missions to foreign countries. I plan to contribute 10% of profits from Overland Adventurer Designs to organizations that have some relationship with international travel. Each year or so I will choose a new non-profit. For my first year of business I have chosen ConserVentures, an organization dedicated to the benefits of exploration. They say “exploration is one of the most important positive catalysts for change, as well as a defining human characteristic: to explore one’s identity, community, or world is intrinsic to being human”.
I know now that I want to immerse myself in the overlanding culture in the years leading up to my own full-time exploration journey. Overland Adventurer Designs is part of that learning process. I look forward to sharing stories and knowledge with my fellow adventurers.