A new Land-Rover Defender ignites old memories for an adventure seeking father
Jeremy had grown up in a Land Cruiser home. From a young age, his parents took him and his older brother camping at least three times a year; traipsing the South African bushveld for the next best spot to erect their campsite, and searching for an exciting piece of terrain to take and test their off roading vehicle along.
He had fond memories of these times; the scary stories shared around the campfire, the sightings of rare animals and more importantly, the bonding time with his loved ones.
And of course that time their ‘trusty’ Cruiser lost its will to chug along the veld, hundreds of kilometres away from civilisation…
Fast forward 20 years, and Jeremy’s passion for these adventures was re-ignited, when he saw an opportunity to light that childhood spark in his own family.
Where and when to travel were important considerations to have in mind when attempting a bush excursion but the biggest decision he had to make came down to choosing to either take his wife’s 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser, or to go against everyone’s advice and speed along in his shiny new Land-Rover Defender.
Jeremy knew as well as most people; Land-Rovers don’t exactly have a great reputation for reliability.
Traditional wisdom claims you could fix a Land-Rover with some duct tape and a spanner. Now it seems like you’d need a degree in computer science and a Wi-Fi connection just to get it started. For many, the new model is a far cry from it’s rough and tough DNA and is no longer a first-choice off-roader. But Jeremy wanted to test this theory and give his Defender the baptism of fire it needed to prove itself 'wildneress worthy'.
From the smooth and comfortable work commutes in Sandton, to the rocky paths of the Kruger he went - wife and kids in tow. It didn’t take long for Jeremy to remember why he had invested in his new wheels. Despite his defender being portrayed as ‘soft’, as it powerfully ploughed through the South African bush it was clear that Land-Rover hadn’t forgotten its roots.
A weeks long trip through the park created memories to last a lifetime for Jeremy and his family. And whilst the physical roads were bumpy, the overall experience was as smooth and enjoyable as could be.
Listening to their favourite Golden Oldies playlist, laughing at Whackhead Simpson prank calls on the radio, playing the typical i-spy games for hours on end, and of course irritating one another a little at some point, the family found that connection they were all so deeply desiring. Although Jeremy secretly hoped for a flat tyre somewhere along the way - just so he could put his kids to the test and teach them some valuable 'dad-tips-and-tricks' - he was grateful that the entire trip went off without a hitch.
His new Landy had proven that the 'delicate' tag it had collected was unfair and untrue and had obviously been given out by a select few who were either jealous or stuck on their past perceptions.
In this case, the Land Rover was triumphant. No hiccups, no flat tyres, no last minute phone calls for back up. A good decision and an even better story for Jeremy to confidently tell his friends and colleagues who were 'Anti-Defender'.
But this story isn’t just a tale about a car; it's a story about the love and appreciation this trip allowed Jeremy to form not only with the 4 wheels and chassis beneath him, but more importantly with his young family.
This proud father (and car owner) could slowly see and feel his youthful passions for these types of adventures being passed down and shared with his own children.
This was exactly what he had been after. Thanks to his Defender - mission accomplished.