Step 1. Getting out there.
So for me the first step with photography happens before you pick up a camera. Don't get me wrong, I love creating photos but the thing that lead me into photography was exploring new places and finding new experiences. Now I just take photos while I am doing it. My aim is to somehow show other people what I am experiencing and hopefully inspire them to get out and explore the world and have that new experience they might have missed if they didn't get out and try or see.
For me having a reliable way to get to and from your adventures means not only are you more likely to get out and explore but it means you are going to have more fun while you are out there. In a country as large as Australia one of the best ways to get around on your own is by car. Ever since my first car (bonus points if you know it! Yes there will be a test at the end) my cars have been very special to me as they are my means of getting out and exploring.
A lot of people would have experienced this at least once. After spending another weekend fixing my beloved old ute and not out using it I started to wonder how much time the old girl had left.
I started to do the sums in my head (well tried) and had a bit of a look at what I would be up for should there be some major mechanical issue. Not only could I not justify spending more to fix it up then she was worth but I couldn't be with out a car to get around and to work should something happen.
Maybe I could just ditch my job and then I wouldn’t be putting as many kilometers on my car. More trips, adventure and fun! Hmmmm It would be great!! No I need my job well.... yes I still need a job.
So the decision is made it's time to get a new 4x4 but what..... I looked at the newer models after all my old girl has done everything I have asked. It has taken me all over the country through the hills and sand dunes loads of camping trips lots of great memories. I started to have a look and oh my they have gotten expensive! They look and drive amazing but the price is just too much for me. Maybe I'll just keep working on the old girl.... no no that hasn’t been working. So what do I do....
I widened the search. Well the first thing I wanted was to get off the black stuff so it needed to be a 4WD, I liked the diesels and for me personally a manual was better suited.
This gave me a lot of possibilities then bring the search into my price range and we will see what we find. After lots of trips to car yards to get an idea of what all the different vehicles are like I finally decided on a Suzuki Grand Vitara. It was much smaller than my old girl for camping trips but with a little work I will get that sorted. It is great in the city, sadly where most of my kilometers are spent.
So I find one I am happy with, it ticks all my boxes. Driving it home is loads of fun I wouldn’t say it is fast but it does have a more go than the old girl and it is so smooth. Before long the personality comes through and it is named Suzi, how original is that!
Now for the fun bit! Making it more suitable for trips. First up making the most of the small back area behind the seats. There are loads of different options these days for drawer systems, unfortunately not many of these are made for something as small as Suzi. After a few trips to Bunnings and a few weekends I built a drawer system that also included a space to store the second battery, voltmeter, USB outlets for charging, plenty of capacity for some tools and recovery gear just in case and some draw slides to make access to eskys and tube much easier. After that was done I added a shelf to the very top just so we could make the most of the limited space available.
Living in WA we have loads of great places but unfortunately they are often a long way from much and when you are trying to make the most of a weekend this means driving at night and roos! I have hit one in the past and sometimes you just cannot avoid them. So a steel bull bar and extra lights where bolted on quick smart.
In the quest to find more space I made up a roof rack then added an awning and some camp lights, just to make camping that little more civilized. I also added a small table to the back door and some more lights, just because I could.
I have now had Suzi for quite a while and been out on a few trips and while we are still getting the hang of squishing stuff in for the weekends away it is also great to take around the city when you are doing the things you have to do.
All in all Suzi is a great little adventure car and has been able to handle everything I have wanted. There may be some future modification to help it handle the bigger off road stuff but for now I am happy just making the most of my time off and not fixing cars (touch wood).
I hope you get out and explore that spot you have been thinking about! I would love to hear about it!!
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