When I originally envisioned this adventure, I saw myself living out of a Subaru Outback with a modified bed/storage system in the rear. Packed with features, the car can do just about anything: All Wheel Drive, low profile, high clearance, and all the comfort that comes synonymous with the word “Subaru”. As this trip has grown in scope, so have my designs and desires changed. This is, by and large, a function of many, many hours spent wandering the far reaches of the internet researching the best possible ways to live out of a motorized vehicle.
I now have set my sights on a Honda Element. But how did I get from a Subaru Outback to a Honda Element? It isn’t necessarily a huge jump. The Subaru Outback is the poster child for ski-bums and dirt bags alike. It is a powerful, functional, and utilitarian car built for adventuring in comfort. Recently, Outbacks have also begun to trend more and more towards luxury vehicles with my expensive additions that truly improve the ride, comfort, and quality of the car. I also knew that everyone I have ever known who has owned an Outback has loved theirs for many, many years. Initially, all that made it seem like the perfect candidate for my adventure.
As my dreams shifted towards realities, I realized that I didn’t necessarily need to be limiting myself to only one type of car when multiple models would definitely serve my purposes. As I surfed from road trip blog, to travel blog, to ski bum blog, I kept seeing Outbacks, Foresters, CR-Vs, Elements, and the occasional closed-cab Toyota Tundra. I also saw plenty of Honda Fits, Civics, Mini Coopers, Eurovans, Sprinters, maintenance vehicles, and all manner of vehicles outfitted for adventure. It was clear that just about any car could work if you tailored it to your needs. I had officially moved beyond the realm of the Subaru Outback.
I had always thought that Elements were silly looking vehicles. Then again, I had never actually spent any time thinking about the purpose behind their design. They are a Spartan vehicle that can become whatever you need them to become. If you need to travel with your family, you are good to go. If you need serious cargo room, you are good to go. If you need to go off road or drive in slick conditions, you are good to go. The car is just that… good to go. It looks like a Lego mobile, but that cartoonish design is minimalistic at heart.
With the rear seats removed, you are left with a waterproof cube. Dozens of likeminded individuals have transformed that space into a fully functioning and livable home. That, is what eventually sealed the bond between me and my Element. No one had done exactly what I wanted though, so I had to tweak the available designs. I am still not entirely there yet, but the images below should give you an idea of what I am trying to create. The process will no doubt be difficult, but these painless 3D renderings are at least a taste of what is to come.