It is a question that Glyn Demmer has often heard uttered by off-road enthusiasts: how do I get my girlfriend or wife into the 4×4 lifestyle? According to Glyn, it requires a careful strategy.
I must admit that I have been very fortunate. My wife Debbie has always enjoyed the outdoors. She loves the bush and doesn’t mind camping. We my son Miles was born, we also exposed him to the great outdoors at an early age, and he quickly took to it.
However, there are girlfriends, wives and kids out there who are, well, a little more reluctant to embrace the 4×4 lifestyle. So, what should one do to get them excited about activities such as bush camping and rock crawling?
I’m certainly not a marriage counsellor, but I have noticed that some strategies work better than others.
Most importantly, ease them into it. As a first outing, a ten-day, toilet-less, shower-less expedition through Botswana is doomed to fail. It is simply too much too soon.
I would recommend an easy day trip. Spend a relaxed day at a local venue, and give everyone a chance to get used to the vehicle and the equipment. Don’t tackle the toughest obstacles you can find – those can be attempted when it’s just you and your mates. Introduce the family to off-road driving, but keep it safe and simple. End the day relatively early, so that you can have a nice meal together and look at all the pictures that you’ve taken during the day.
I would also recommend taking other couples along. Your wife or girlfriend will have more fun if she has some female company.
Once you have enjoyed a couple of day trips, it’s time for a longer excursion. Don’t be overeager, though. Now is not yet the time to break out the tent and the portable shower. First, visit a catered venue with good accommodation. Make sure that the scenery is stunning, the rooms are beautiful and the food is exquisite. A good example of this would be Moolmanshoek in the Free State, as it combines great trails with luxury accommodation.
Okay, after a couple of weekends away, it is now time to give proper bush camping a try. How should you go about it? Here are a few tips:
- Meals are important. Don’t think you can get away with serving two-minute noodles three times a day. Pack your fridge with decent food. Yes, you might have to leave some beers behind, but sacrifices need to be made.
- Invest in a gas shower. The brownie points provided by a good shower cannot be overestimated.
- Don’t push the envelope too much. Do not head into too rough an environment.
- Train and assist your partner, but don’t treat her like a child. She might enjoy off-road driving more than you expect.
- Be fair to the family. Try and make sure that the trip is fun for everyone involved.
- Admit it If you don’t know something, and ask your partner for advice. Her common sense can come in handy.
- Remember to hold her hand and stare lovingly into her eyes. Just because you’re outdoors you don’t have to behave like a Neanderthal.
- Don’t use Tabard as massage oil!