“Why is it that we often believe the further we are from home, the better the adventure is?” wrote Mary Hannah (MH) Hardcastle in the November edition of Land Rover Monthly.
“Is it the sense of accomplishment or the feeling that with each mile we’re pushing further into the unknown? The thrill of being that much further outside of our comfort zone? Or, could it be the desire for exploration that’s so deeply rooted in our human DNA? Whatever it is, it’s something that any Land Rover owner has probably daydreamed about at some point and time.”
MH and her husband, Andy Ellis, have been chasing better adventures away from home since 2018 in their custom-built Land Rovers, gaining traction and fame through their Instagram account @expeditionrove. Since kicking off, they’ve been to 35 countries, 4 continents, and more on the way.
MH, a former media and marketing professional from Houston, Texas met Andy, a former British Paratrooper and Land Rover Technician, in 2015. The two developed a fast connection as two wanderers would.
The two recognized each others’ love for adventure and embarked on a date that would be daunting to most established couples: a two-week journey in MH’s jam-packed Jeep Liberty through the Smokey Mountains.
From there, they found themselves renting their apartments on AirBnb to pay for occasional road trips around some of the most beautiful places in the United States. On one such trip, they went from Salt Lake City to Lake Tahoe, to Sequoia, to Las Vegas, to Zion, and then back to Salt Lake City. It was as if they were testing themselves before testing their builds and equipment.
After surviving and thriving during trips all around the country, the Expedition ROVE team upgraded to a 2003 Land Rover Discovery 2, and then a 2005 Land Rover Discovery 3 (which they still own, known as the LR3 Build) as they set their sights on their biggest adventure yet: the Pan-American Highway.
With their custom-built LR3, they drove from California to Ushuaia in Argentina, known as “The End of the World.”
The success of that trip proved their concept. They decided to fully invest in an adventure rig and found the perfect one: a bright orange 2010 Land Rover Defender Camper nicknamed Tango 2.0. With only 30,000 miles, it was the ideal canvas for the two to begin their exploration. They started with a basic upgrade — a sleeping platform with some storage and figured they’d learn along the way.
Plans were made with routes around the world. The first on the list? A Trans-African Route from Cape Town to Cairo. A trip disrupted by the only thing that could bump their trip off the rails: the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In March of 2020 we packed out our Defender 110, Tango, and shipped it to South Africa,” they wrote on their site. “Unfortunately, a few months later we were forced to cancel the trip and ship Tango back home, due to Covid-19.”
The duo pivoted to more manageable trips, like…you know…driving into the Arctic Circle.
“From snowshoeing in -20 temperatures, to breakdowns in -23, and spotting the Northern Lights, it was truly one to remember.”
The lessons learned from the trip to the Arctic Circle inspired, educated, and encouraged them to create the perfect, livable adventure mobile with modern amenities:
- Alu-Cab roof camper conversion
- Alu-Cab Awning
- Exterior lights
- Water tank and sink with filtered running water
- External shower
- Built-in induction stove
During the pivot due to the pandemic, they adventured through England — Andy’s home country — on their way through to Turkey. The trip proved to the couple they could adventure anywhere, not just spectacular milestones but the often overlooked landmarks around their home base.
From cobblestone roads to cliffsides, they reached corners of the United Kingdom that inspired a little more attention. Tango 2.0 was seen (and photographed) cruising through Cornwall’s campsites, beaches, landmarks, and coves on its way south toward Turkey.
In fact, by this time, their adventures were capturing the attention of thousands of people. Their Instagram account has amassed nearly 70,000 followers and they’ve been featured in magazines and publications from Land Rover Monthly to Forbes.com.
“They live a life that many people dream of,” said Forbes Contributing Writer Breanna Wilson, “traveling the world together in a custom-built overlanding rig that would make anyone’s jaw drop, and they do it with such genuine joy and enthusiasm. It’s hard not to fall in love with them, and the adventurous lives they lead.”
After taking the trip from the UK to Turkey this year, they’ve decided that next year they’re going to tackle their “white whale” trip: Cape Town to Cairo.
“We’ve decided it’s time to finally take on the Trans-African and will be exploring from Cape Town to Cairo, a trip we’ve been dreaming of for years.”
Follow along at @expeditionrove and expeditionrove.com
Are you an Owner? Do you have a story? Of course you do! We’re always looking to meet our Owners and share their adventures on our site and with our fans. Send us a message and let us know you’d be willing to chat with us about you and your adventures, and we’ll do the rest.