Community Spotlight: Zach and Rachael Elseman’s Full-Time Adventure Travel

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*This article was originally posted as a Community Spotlight from December 2019, additional details added

Zach and Rachael Elseman are the newest members to the Overland Expo staff team. The couple met in rural Oklahoma where they were both working in education. While dating they realized that they had a similar love for the outdoors and travel. 


Rachael hard at work on building the bus

Rachael hard at work on building the bus

Rachael had spent the majority of her adult life giving bike tours in Alaska, working ski slopes in Colorado or bike touring down the West Coast. Zach had a brief stint in Corporate America but has always been a weekend warrior; backpacking, traveling, and hunting and fishing whenever possible in Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Colorado.  

When the two met, they made plans to travel almost immediately and a few months later bought an old school bus and began converting it into an overlanding rig. They got married, saved up money, finished building the school bus and took off to live full-time in their bus. They spent the majority of 2018 on the road seeing 17 states and racking up over 20,000 miles of travel. Since this community spotlight ran in 2019, the Elsemans have visited the lower 48 states, Mexico, and several provinces in Canada.


Posing for a photo near Hurricane, UT in 2018

Posing for a photo near Hurricane, UT in 2018

Zach and Rachael returned home for the holidays in 2018 to build out their ’86 Toyota 4Runner to prepare for more off the beaten path travel. The bus will continue to be their home base as they use the Toyota as a means to explore the backroads and two-track of the American West and Mexico. Zach and Rachael will spend the Winter exploring the Baja Peninsula and will likely be heading to Alaska in the Summer. 


The Okienomad’s setup in Baja

The Okienomad’s setup in Baja

They document all of their travels online at www.okienomads.com and on Instagram @okienomads

At Overland Expo events you will likely find Zach and Rachael checking in attendees at the HQ Tent, golf-carting volunteers to their destination or trying to track down the best food truck in the food court.

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Photo by Brett Willhelm

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