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  • Desk to Glory
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    Empyre Support
  • desktogloryoverlandsouthamericatoyotatravelwanderlust

Desk to Glory

Desk to Glory

One thing we love is supporting overlanders—especially those undertaking life-changing trips. We came across Richard and Ash from Desk to Glory a while back and were instantly smitten. Being able to help these guys on their journey with some OE tees, sweaters, and enamel mugs—and being along for the ride—brings us more joy than we can describe. We recently had the privilege to interview these guys to get a little more insight into their travels.

OE: Please introduce yourselves.

DTG: We are Richard and Ashley Giordano of Desk to Glory.  Richard is a mechanical engineering technologist and wedding photographer, and Ashley is a paralegal and holistic nutritionist.  We have been married for five years and together for ten.  Our past wanderings took us to Japan, South East Asia, Jordan, Israel and Turkey, all consisting of 3 or 4 week trips at a time.


What made you guys decide to take your first big trip?

With a simple text message conversation our short-term life plans were about to change.   See above.

We met for our “life chat” at Trees Organic Coffee in Vancouver, BC on April 13, 2013. Our full-time day jobs combined with our part-time evening/weekend jobs became a little too much for us that afternoon.  It was time for a change and time to ask ourselves the question, “What are we going to do about it?”

We decided on a whim that it was time to go travelling.  We had 5 months to pay off our debts, sell our junk, save some money, build a truck, rent out our condo, and quit our jobs.


Where did you go on that trip?

We travelled south from Vancouver, BC.  The first month was spent exploring the west coast of the U.S. while continuously trying to escape the rain of the Pacific Northwest.  Baja, Mexico was next.  Then a ferry to Mainland Mexico, and east to Caribbean before heading south through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and finally Costa Rica.  At this point it was time for us to head back to work, which we did for a full year.  We parked the truck in San Jose, said our goodbyes, and boarded a plane back to Vancouver.  

Here’s a video our friends at Koyo Photography put together about our travels and our time back at home.

How long were you gone?


Seven months.  


What was the feeling you had while on that adventure?

Freedom.  It’s hard to explain it any differently than that.  We had the ability to spend a week on a beach in Baja, Mexico or ditch out the following day to go explore the mountains.  


Best moment?

The first day on the road.  Otherwise, the trip itself was our best moment, not necessarily a specific day or event but the entire 7 months as a whole.


Worst moment?

About three months after we were back home and back at the desk jobs.  The feeling of freedom was gone and we were back into the exact same routine that we were running away from originally.  At least this time we knew it was very temporary and a means to an end.  The end goal of made it much easier.


What was the feeling when you got home?

Indifference.  We flew back home to Vancouver after parking our truck in Costa Rica.  The problem was that the truck had become our home, but now we were in a city very far away from our bed.  We put a Band-Aid on that problem by buying another Toyota Pickup and exploring our own backyard every weekend.  Ashley said she felt like she was drunk for the first two weeks, as it was so overwhelming to be back again and seeing things differently.


Most people dream about doing trips like this, but very few actually do. What do you think stops them?

The planning, logistics, and finances of the trip added to the same issues in your current life at home can be very overwhelming to think about.  Once you take the first step and decide to go on the trip everything else will most likely fall into place.  

For us it seemed like a pipe-dream at first.  We had never spent more than a few weeks off of work or school since we were teenagers.  For a couple who essentially lived paycheque to paycheque how could we ever take so much time off of work without pay?  Once we actually wrote out a budget (on a napkin at that time) and realized it would be cheaper to live on the road than in the city, we dove in head first and never looked back.  We cut back on things that were unnecessary (eating out, alcohol, cable, etc), moved from our downtown condo to a 400sq foot bachelor suite and kept track of absolutely everything we spent our money on.  

I think the reason we were able to take the leap and actually leave was because we made the decision to go, told our friends and family, and then had to figure out how to make it happen.  There wasn’t any going back after committing to it. 


Where are you going next?

We have flown back to Costa Rica, reunited with our truck/home/adventuremobile, driven to Panama, and shipped to Colombia.  We've traveled through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and are currently meandering through Bolivia.

How long will you be gone?

We have our sights set for making it to Ushuaia, Argentina (the most southern point of our journey) before the winter starts.  This means that we should run out of road by the end of April-ish 2016 and then start heading north.  The plan is to ship the truck from Uruguay to the U.S. and explore some of the national parks before heading back to Canada.  


Tell us about your vehicle

It’s a 1990 Toyota Pickup that we resurrected from the weeds of Richard’s dad’s backyard.

We had Disturbed Industries rebuild the stock 22RE engine and swapped it in before the trip, Old Man Emu suspension was installed, and the mouldy interior was gutted.  After everything was swapped we had Ryan at Disturbed Industries in Abbotsford, BC do a complete check of the truck and complete some last minute maintenance and repairs  

Our living quarters consists of a CVT rooftop tent, ARB awnings, and an ARB fridge/freezer.  

We wanted to keep the truck as simple to keep it as reliable as possible on the roads and trails, but while still remaining comfortable when it it’s time to set up camp.  

We have an ongoing Expedition Portal Build Thread that shows all of the details of the build.

What's your dream rig?

This is something that constantly changes.  Sometimes our Toyota Pickup is the dream rig.  Sometimes it’s a pair of Honda CRF250Ls.  Every once in awhile we think a newer Tacoma with a Four Wheel Camper would be the best rig for us.  And then there are the days we dream of Unimogs. Is “one of each” an appropriate answer?  Or is “whatever we have in the driveway” the better answer?


Have you already started thinking about trip #3?

Every day.  We always have plenty of time to think about upcoming trips.  Meeting other travellers and listening to their stories seems to constantly add more destinations to the bucket list.   We’ll throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

Huge thanks to Richard and Ash for their time and insights. And thanks for the nonstop daydreams and inspiration. Follow along with Desk to Glory on Instagram at @desktoglory and @desktogloryash, and on their website
  • Post author
    Empyre Support
  • desktogloryoverlandsouthamericatoyotatravelwanderlust

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