Looking ahead to 2017

 This is just a brief heads up as to what you can expect in 2017 from ECOA.

This logo would make a pretty cool patch wouldn’t it.

If you’re interested in seeing what’s just over the horizon for ECOA, read on…

New Website

Coming January 1st 2017 will be a brand new ECOA website.  Currently this blog is hosted on blogger.com and the vast majority of content and traffic for ECOA flows through Facebook.  The plan is to migrate all content hosting to a standalone ECOA website with all content hosted in one location.  From there social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) will be used to point people back to the main site.  The migration itself should appear almost seamless.  The only notable difference will be an all new look to the site with a bunch of new features.

Speaking of features…

Videos

Yup.  Coming in 2017 will be a series of ECOA videos.  I won’t be saying much more than, “Yup. ECOA videos are in the works.”  I’m a tease, I know.

Online Store

You’ve asked, and I’m going to answer.  One of the features I’ll be adding to the new website will be an online store where you can purchase things like the NHT books, stickers, patches, and eventually ECOA shirts and hats.

Interactive Map

I’ve been sitting on this idea for a number of years and in 2017 I’m going to do my best to roll it out.  One of the things I will be adding to the site will be an interactive map of the east coast.  You’ll be able to click on state and get ideas of places to, resources to plan a trip, as well as known events.

Here’s a teaser of the interactive map.
I won’t go into too much detail other than “if it has a color, you can click on it.”
You’ll just have to wait and see what happens when you click.

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These next two have nothing to do with the site, but things you can look forward to none-the-less…

ECOA Guided Trips

Again, you’ve asked and I’m going to answer.  I fully recognize not everyone has the time nor ability to plan an overland trip.  For those new the lifestyle it can be a daunting, if not completely overwhelming, task to try and plan a trip.  Also, some people don’t like to be in the lead having everything riding on their shoulders and just want to kick back, enjoy the ride, and not worry about the details.  Other people just like to be surprised.  There’s also a social aspect of getting out there and networking/meeting with other overland enthusiasts.

I’ve been a guide for a number of years.  My goal is to plan trips up and down the east coast ranging from weekend mini-adventures to week and maybe even two week long epic adventures.  All trips will be family friendly, appropriate for any 4wd vehicle, and somehow themed around a certain idea or area.

These trips will also fall into one of two categories: recreation or educational.  On a recreational trip it will be just that, a fun laid back trip with little to no pressure or expectation beyond having fun.  Educational trips will still be fun but also feature some hands on workshops allowing for novice people to develop new skills or experienced been to hone existing skills.  Topics will include, but are not limited to: trip planning, vehicle preparation, camp cooking, navigation, wilderness first aid, trip planning, tips & tricks, and so forth.

There will be fees associated with each trip but they will vary depending on the permits, insurance, access-fees, and other costs associated with each trip.  Some trips will also feature specialized local guides which will also add to the overall price.

Patreon

In the past I have used the crowd funding website GoFundMe to presell copies of the No Highways Tour books.  This was a good way for me to ensure the trip had enough funding as well as build excitement for people to follow along as the trip happens.  The model has been to live blog the trip as it happens while preserving much of the content for the book off-line.  As ECOA has grown and developed over the last year I am seeking to better integrate the NHT book series as a part of ECOA and not so much a stand alone project.  With this in mind I will be shifting the crowd funding aspect form GoFundMe to Patreon.

A preview of the ECOA Patreon site.
More details will be released prior to its launch in January of 2017.

Patreon is a popular crowd funding platform for those generating creative content.  For many overlanding is a hobby.  For me it’s a lifestyle.  I am not trying to get rich.  However, for ECOA to continue, and to ensure quality content for years to come, there has to be some kind of revenue stream.  Over the years I have supported friends who are musicians, artists, authors, and photographers.  I always do my best to contribute to causes I believe in.  I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I didn’t believe in it.  Nor would I be doing it if I didn’t think it was worth doing.  That said, I hope those of you that find value in ECOA content be it educational, entertaining, or inspirational would consider contributing to the cause.

That said, the ECOA blog and NHT trip journals will still remain free for anyone to view.  I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing.  Patreon is just a way to help take things to the next level.  If you like what you see, and you want to see more, then consider supporting what’s happening here.  However, there will be new patron exclusive content and swag not made available except through Patreon.

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The last and final thing over the horizon…

The ECOA Team

For the last few years I’ve been flying solo.  Starting in 2017 you’ll start to see some new faces and names popping up on the blog, in videos, and on trips.   Some of these people will be regional experts contributing to the interactive map I mentioned earlier.  Some of them are just wheeling buddies hoping to get their 15 seconds of fame.  Others are trusted experienced people I’ve guided with in the past and I’m hoping they will bring something new to the ECOA trips I mentioned before.  The mission of ECOA will remain the same.  None of us are in this for glory, fortune, or fame.  Anyone who becomes part of the team will mirror the emphasis on education, encouragement, and inspiration.

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Wrap-up

I hope you’re as excited about the 2017 season for ECOA and the NHT.  Thank you all for being interested in what I’m doing here.  Also thank you to all who have supported the No Highways Tour book trips so far.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to reach out to me here, on facebook, or via email.

Hope to see you out there!