In the spring of 2013, Richard and Ashley Giordano needed a change. Apparently, a big one. They sold their belongings, quit their jobs and became full-time adventurers—a decision that would let them explore the world, one trip at a time.
Richard and Ashley figured they should keep it simple for their first adventure. They craved freedom. But before they could go anywhere, there was a lot to figure out: destinations, routes, gear and, most importantly, their vehicle.
A Family Favor
Ashley’s dad had a 1990 Toyota pickup sitting in his backyard. All it needed was a new engine, suspension, wheels, tires and updates to the interior. Easy. Richard and Ashley asked nicely if they could use it for a trip to Central America. Besides a few raised eyebrows, nobody had any objections.
Modded to be Stock
Richard and Ashley tried to leave the truck as stock as possible so they could easily find replacement parts on the road if needed. First, they replaced the springs and shocks with beefy Old Man Emu parts. Next, they rebuilt the 2.4L 22RE engine. Then, they added bumpers and rock sliders for off-road protection.
The two also made some specialty mods that helped improve camp life, like adding a second battery, an 85W-solar panel, a 37-quart ARB fridge and a CVT Mt. Bachelor rooftop tent. “The ‘keep it simple, stupid’ ideology was our main thought because we really wanted to enjoy the trip instead of constantly fixing the truck,” recalls Richard.
Hitting the Road
Their first month on the road was spent exploring the west coast of the U.S. Then, it was on to Baja in Mexico. By the time the two finished with the Baja Peninsula, they really hit their stride. Each day brought different territory, and the unbridled enjoyment of their newly found freedom.
Every change to the Toyota was made for a purpose: to get them as far away from home as possible, with the strength to bring them back. That function-over-form mindset ended up taking Richard and Ashely all the way from Vancouver, BC, to the end of the road in Ushuaia, Argentina, and back again.
Time for a New Rig
After spending two years living out of the rooftop tent, the couple purchased a 1993 Mitsubishi Delica 2.5L Turbo Diesel 4x4. The goal was to build an adventure mobile that would let them camp in the mountains year-round. “Also, I’m a sucker for project vehicles, so I was stoked to have a turbo diesel 4x4 to wrench on,” says Richard.
Advice From the Globetrotters
One thing these full-time adventurers learned was to always keep it simple. For vehicle builds, it’s important to make sure it’s reliable and uncomplicated. When it comes to life, it’s the same thing. Take it from them: the less you have to worry about, the less you worry about.
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