Overland Expo began over ten years ago when less than 1000 people gathered at the first Overland Expo WEST held in Prescott, AZ. A mixture of curious attendees, very brave exhibitors (some of which are still exhibiting at Overland Expo), and a determined vision led by Roseann and Jonathan Hanson has matured over a decade into one of the largest and most unique niche events in the United States.
An ecologist and writer by trade, Roseann grew up in Southern Arizona and has spent most of her life documenting the natural world and working to preserve it for future generations. Over the last 30 years Roseann has worked with non-profits in the American Southwest, Mexico, and East Africa as a conservationist and writer. Roseann has written over a dozen books, many co-authored with Jonathan. Their writing has won commendation from the National Park Service and the National Outdoor Book Awards, and they both have been elected fellows of the Explorers Club and Royal Geographical Society for their conservation work, expeditions, and writing. Roseann is also an artist, making jewelry as a metalsmith and creating fantastic journals and watercolors that serve as inspiration to anyone that aspires to document their travels in a meaningful and creative way. To learn more about Roseann’s art, conservation work, and travels, follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Jonathan has written, taught, and guided on 3 continents and his writing portfolio encompasses an overwhelming variety of subject matter including outdoor recreation, natural history, conservation, and travel by land and by sea. Jonathan is one of the founders of Overland Journal-regarded by many as the quintessential overlanding publication in print today. Jonathan has collaborated with Tom Sheppard on a reprint of the seminal Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide with Tom Sheppard. Tom’s books are distributed in the Americas by ExploringOverland.com.
In 2009, Roseann and Jonathan along with a small group of like-minded friends ran with the idea of a trade show that emphasized conservation and responsible overland travel through training and education as well as by gathering the best gear and equipment companies in the industry to outfit any size of adventure. The non-profit partner organization, ConserVentures Charitable Organization has been run by the Hansons in an effort to promote exploration and conservation of the natural world. You might recognize the ConserVentures name as the sponsor of the Change Your World Fund grant that is awarded at Overland Expo annually. The Change Your World Fund was created to honor the memory of Alistair Fairland, an Australian world traveler who died in a motorcycle accident during his adventures in 2014. Alistair believed in using exploration to change the world and the Change Your World fund carries on that legacy today by funding travel projects that bring about positive change in the world.
Over the past decade, Overland Expo has grown, tremendously. From the humble beginnings in Prescott, Overland Expo has exploded simultaneously with the rise in popularity of overland travel across North America. At the heart of this growth has been Roseann Hanson, serving as Director of Overland Expo for ten years! The same skills and habits that have made Roseann and Jonathan such accomplished writers and conservationists have bled over into this event that has captivated so many people and drawn them to the world of overland travel. The overlanding community owes a debt of gratitude to the Hansons for the tireless effort they have invested to provide a platform for this group of enthusiasts to come together, swap stories, purchase some gear, and plan their next adventures.
Since selling Overland Expo in 2018, one might think that Roseann and Jonathan would kick up their boots and relax. That is not the case as the Hansons are off and running with new projects as well as maintaining roles with Overland Expo as Directors Emeritus and instructors. Roseann has recently been selected as Coordinator for the Science and Art Program at the University of Arizona Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill where she serves as a curator and instructor.
Jonathan has been busy releasing and promoting his most recent non-fiction book, Tales of the Southwest, a creative collection of short-stories set in the deserts of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. He also maintains a truly informative blog Overland Tech and Travel where he brings you in-depth overland equipment tests, reviews, news, travel tips, and stories from the best overlanding experts on the planet. Roseann and Jonathan have a full travel schedule as well with trips planned to the Sierra Madres in Mexico as naturalists for the University of Arizona’s College of Science Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill and leading a coast-to-coast expedition in Africa in 2020 with 7P Overland.
Roseann and Jonathan will be instructing at Overland Expo 2019 EAST in courses such as Travel Journal: Recording Your Journey, Regional Q&A’s on Africa, Australia, and Western US, and the Ultimate and Affordable DIY African Safari: Botswana and Namibia.To learn more about the countless awards, honors, projects and accomplishments that are credited to the Hansons as well as their upcoming projects, check out their website Exploring Overland and their various social media outlets.
Roseann Hanson Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/roseannhansonexplore/
Jonathan Hanson Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.hanson.52
*Thumbnail/Cover Photo Courtesy of Gary Haynes; Other images courtesy of Roseann Hanson