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November 17, 2016

Interview: Harley Williams (@FozRoamer)


1.We know you are pretty “Nomadik” and are constantly on the go. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself? My name is Harley and I have the pleasure of traveling with the love of my life. We are always looking to explore new places in our trusty Subarus or backpacking through the mountains. A lot of people see the trips we take and always ask if we have day jobs. We do have normal jobs but we are always taking advantage of our time whenever possible. If this means driving up to our destination on Friday night after work then that’s what we do. I am lucky to have found a person in my life that has the same sense of adventure as I do. We really like to travel off the beaten path and find those places that are tucked away and hard to get to for a reason.

2. You’re pretty active in the Subaru community; can you tell us a little bit about your mode of transportation? I currently drive a heavily modded 2010 Subaru Forester XT. I purchased this rig about 4 years ago and have constantly been adding modifications to it as needed. The major modificaitions I have done to my vehicle is an Anderson Design and Fabricaton 2 ⅜” lift, full skid plate under armor, and a customized offroad rear bumper that allows me to mount extra fuel, water, and a full size offroad spare tire. I am what many consider an “overlander.” I have spent a lot of time and research making our overland lifestyle functional yet comfortable. I am always trying to make improvements to my Subaru that will make our lives a little easier on the trail as well as making our base camps as comfortable as possible.

3. Did adventuring get you into Subaru’s, or vice-versa? What are the benefits of having a vehicle like that? I really began to get into adventure and travel when I was younger through backpacking trips and a lot of hiking and the overlanding thing is just an extension of that. Back when I was a lot younger I would always see a lot of people using their Subarus for adventure and travel. I was always drawn to the quirkiness of the Subaru community both in the designs and the people who drive them. I had always been utterly blown away by what Subarus could do and after driving a Nissan Xterra for many years I decided to make the switch over to Subaru and I haven’t looked back. I was looking for the the entire package when I bought my Foz. I was looking for performance, dependability , off-road capable, and a car that was extremely safe. I had looked at other larger offroading vehicles but the Subaru Forester just had everything I wanted so I went all in. Subarus are very capable offroad machines and I think a lot of people are starting to see this. I love building an offroad style Forester and it really stands out among other rigs. I really get nothing but love on the trails from other offroad drivers as they are all quite surprised by how cool a Subaru can actually be.

4.)Where’s your go-to spot to get outside and explore? My favorite spot as of late is Death Valley. Previous to 2015 I had never ventured to this amazing National Park. Considering it a rather short drive for us to get to DV allows us to do shorter trips more often. The vastness and simple beauty of Death Valley has really impressed me as of late. I have always considered myself more of a mountains and forest guy but after recent visits to Death Valley I have gained a new respect for this type of desert topography.

5. What your favorite trip/spot you’ve gone to? And why? My most memorable trip was the Lost Coast. Many people who live in California rarely venture to this part of the state as its somewhat secluded and a little more difficult to get to. The Lost Coast portion of California is so rugged the state could not build a serviceable highway through this portion of the state and this allowed the Lost Coast to be an off the beaten path destination because of its seclusion. There are many secluded/hidden beaches and towns that have probably been the exact same since the 1960s. I don’t normally give too much away about this area of the state because I want to try my best to preserve it and have it be a place of solitude for those who actually do the research and who want to visit. We also traveled to New Zealand last April. We rented a campervan and drove the entire country (north and south islands). We hiked Tongariro (aka Mt Doom) pass, visited Hobbiton, and also backpacked the famous Routeburn track in nearby Milford Sound in the South Island.

6. Are there any specific places you want to journey in 2016? I am headed to Peru for a few weeks starting next week. We are staying outside of a little village outside of Cusco to decompress and unplug. We do plan on backpacking the Inca trail as well on a seven day booked tour to MAchu Picchu. We are also planning a trip from Southern California to Canada along Highway 1 and 101. I have also been invited to attend the Overland Expo West from May 20-22. We will also be doing our normal quick road trips along the way to unplanned locations. Possible short trip locations include Mt Shasta, Lassen National Park, Mendocino National Park, and Sequoia.


7. What’s your go-to camera, and why? (Ie: iPhone, DSLR?) I use a Sony Nex 5t Mirrorless Camera, iPhone 6s Plus, and a GoPro 4 silver. I love what Sony is doing with the mirrorless cameras and they have a wide range of very capable accessories and lenses. My iPhone 6s Plus is for quicker shots for when I do not have the Sony camera. I mainly use the GoPro for hiking/backpacking trips as well as mounting to my Subaru for offroad trails.

8. What’s your go gear you always pack when you travel? When we do Overland trips we normals cannot go without our ARB fridge. WE absolutely love this piece of gear and it really allows us extreme comfort while traveling. We are also home brewers so this allows us to keep our growlers nice and cold with our home brew when we are in the backcountry. I would say our other important piece of gear would be the Cleanwaste Go Anywhere toilet system.

9. If you could live anywhere on Earth where would it be and why? This is a tough one! I think we left our heart in New Zealand! The place is simply magical and has so much to offer for such a small country. The people are very friendly and the outdoor lifestyle is alive and well. The country is not over populated and the quality of life is really balanced as a culture there. Kiwis are big on having a proper work life balance and after our recent visit there we can really see why.

10. What motivates you to get off-the-grid and explore? We like to visit places off-the-beaten path and love be totally secluded away from the hoards of other people. We love people its just we live in a very urban environment and find it important to get away and hitting the reset button to stay balanced. I find that when my mind is still and I’m truly away from it all I can think clearly and make better decisions to impact my life in a positive manner. We are just on a big rock floating through the universe we should all fear nothing, haha!

11. What does The Nomadik mean to you? Someone who has figured out how to travel without actually being a traveler. A Nomadik is someone comfortable in their own skin and in any surrounding. A Nomadik is adaptable to their environments and sees the best in any situation even when things aren’t so good. A Nomadik finds life lessons in uncomfortable situations as well as not so good situations. A Nomadik sees life experience through others and knows we are all in this life together.