Taking Her Passion On – and Off – the Road: Expedition Overland Creator Rachelle Croft

Expedition Overland creator Rachelle Croft is on a mission to empower the world. We caught up with her to find out more, and how she raises 3 sons while doing it.

Rachelle Croft Of Expedition Overland.
Rachelle Croft of Expedition Overland relishes adventure travel with her family. Photo: Expedition Overland

Turning life into a hit TV show isn’t as easy as it might seem.  

It seemed like a smart way for the Croft family to explore the world together and to harness the unique skills of Rachelle Croft, a storyteller and influential voice, and her husband Clay, an experienced filmmaker. Conceived more than a dozen years ago, the Croft’s TV show Expedition Overland, which airs on YouTube and on their site XOverland.com, takes viewers around the globe on a fleet of custom-built Toyota SUVs and pickups, and showcases the life they love. 

The Expedition Overland Family All Contributes To The Show'S Success. Photo: Expedition Overland

The entire family on Expedition Overland contributes to the show’s immense success. Photo: Expedition Overland

In the Beginning

When Expedition Overland was born, the Croft’s youngest of three sons was almost two, their middle was three or four, and their oldest was five or six. Since then, the boys have grown up watching their parents live the overland life. It sounds idyllic to combine work and family in a way that keeps everyone in the same place, building a passion for the same things. But it’s not always easy. 

“When my husband and I had this idea to start a kind of a documentary reality series all about overlanding, it was very new to the United States,” Rachelle says. “So we thought what a cool thing to put our passions and our hobbies together and travel, and hopefully we could tell a really good story to inspire people to go travel and explore their world. That is Expedition Overland to a T.”

Rachelle'S Children Have Been Immersed In Overlanding For Years. Photo: Expedition Overland

Rachelle’s children have been immersed in overlanding for years. Photo: Expedition Overland

Raising Global Citizens

So far, the Crofts have covered the Pan American Highway in Australia, sites in Central and South America, and much of Scandinavia including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and much more. The kids have seen the world, and the education is priceless. And they get to contribute as well. 

“We kept [our boys] out of filming as much as possible until they were old enough for all of the responsibilities being a part of the show would bring. In addition to being on camera, each team member has to pull their own weight, hold and operate cameras, set up camp, cook, do dishes, etc. Being young does not exclude you from these roles,” Rachelle wrote for Overland Journal

Musings on Beauty and Inspiration

Rachelle Croft is raising strong, independent young people. In fact, she says, the lessons her sons have learned from watching her have manifested in the choices they make for dating partners, too. The girls they’re dating are independent and have their stuff together, Rachelle says, and they have goals and dreams. It’s what she wants for all women. 

“I am really passionate about wanting to get more women involved,” Rachelle says. “I like helping teach women to dip their toe in the water and having them put a truck in four-wheel drive for the first time. It’s been an amazing thing to see how much the interest there has grown.”

Honda Gold Wing 6 Sm

Many women are inspired to travel by motorcycle, thanks to Rachelle Croft of Expedition Overland. Photo: Kristin Shaw

Today, because of women like Rachelle, there are women traveling the world by themselves on motorcycles with incredible adventure travel stories to share. 

“It’s inspiring to look around and start seeing all of these women coming together for the same purpose, going at it in different ways,” Rachelle says. “And I think that’s really beautiful.”

Work Life Balance Does Not Come Easy, But Look At The View! Photo: Expedition Overland

Work-life balance does not come easy, but look at the view! Photo: Expedition Overland

Finding Balance (Is There any such Thing?)

On top of her show, Rachelle has participated in a number of off-roading competitions like the Rebelle Rally in the US and the Rally Aicha Des Gazelles in Morocco. Her kids were little when she started, and (as we know!) pursuing a passion comes with a heaping side of mom guilt. She had to come to terms with giving herself permission to dream. 

“At that time, I didn’t realize that being a mom doesn’t mean losing who you are and what you love,” Rachelle said during an interview for Expedition Portal. “Those things might get put on hold, but you never have to give up on them.”

The Crofts recognize that their family operates and looks very different than a lot of people’s families. At one time, Rachelle would get stressed out about trying to achieve work-life balance and how much time she was away from home. She worried about missing her kids’ soccer games or birthday parties. Over time, she realized that elusive balance was tricky, so she shifted her focus. 

“It’s a concept we’ve just thrown out the window,” Rachelle laughs. “There is no work-life balance, to some extent, because your life is always changing. You have different seasons of your life and you’re going to go through seasons. I try really hard when I am home to be very intentional with quality time.” 

Adventure Travel Is Conducted On Land And Sea On Expedition Overland. Photo: Expedition Overland

Adventure travel is conducted on land and sea on Expedition Overland. Photo: Expedition Overland

The Future, and a Few Firsts, for Expedition Overland

So far, that’s been working well for the Croft family. This summer, all five of them will be filming the next Expedition Overland series during a two-month trip through Africa. This will be the first time the entire family will go to an international location together for an extended period of time; in past years, the boys have been not quite old enough to be able to film, drive, and contribute in other ways. Nobody is just along for the ride, Rachelle says. 

“This is my oldest’s last summer before his senior year of high school,” Rachelle says, a little wistfully. “And we get to go have this hopefully amazing experience as a family as a final summer all together, which is – whoa – so bittersweet and I can’t even wrap my head fully around it.” 

More than 200 episodes in, Rachelle has no intention of slowing down. This is the life she chose, and she gets to inspire others along the way. When her sons launch into the world on their own, they’ll never forget what kind of mother raised them, and how she is teaching women to pursue their dreams in ways that make the most sense for them. 

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Writer. Car fanatic. Mom. Kristin is the co-owner of auto review site Drive Mode Show and a nationally-published writer... More about Kristin Shaw