In December of 2017, my kids and I headed to Tucson, Arizona to spend Christmas with family. On our way out there, I realized I had left my razor at home and told the kids I needed to stop at the store to buy a new one.
Since neither one of them had seen me with facial hair before, they insisted I skip the store and just keep going. I was confused at first but embraced the idea since we were in full vacation mode.
Besides, this Christmas was different. Way different. I had just lost Tina—my wife of over 24 years—to a three year battle with inflammatory breast cancer. Being scruffy around family should be the least of my concerns.
But as soon as we got home, I trimmed down the beard, pulled my razor out and cleaned up. You see, I’ve always been clean-shaven so I thought I’d better get back to who I was.
That was a mistake. By the next morning my kids made it clear that who I was wasn’t who they wanted me to be.
Don’t misunderstand me here. They love who I am.
But since we were in the early stages of trying to figure out how to do life without Tina, my beard helped accentuate the change. So I did what they wanted and grew it back out.
But that decision didn’t come easy. Not because of them but because of how uncomfortable the early stages of growth can be.
There’s itching, scratching like a dog with fleas, and (did I mention?) more itching. This phase drove me nuts!
To combat it, I jumped online to figure out what to do. That’s when I discovered beard oil, this supposedly “magical and full of wonder” product that makes living with a new beard tolerable.
So I fired up Amazon and quickly ordered a bottle. Unfortunately, the product I ordered was subpar and full of chemicals that actually worsened the itch and irritated my skin.
This ticked me off. But, to be honest, it was my own fault. I knew better.
I should’ve researched things further instead of just trusting all those five-star reviews. I should’ve heeded the advice of Abraham Lincoln who once said, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.” ?
So I chalked it up as a lesson learned, did a deep dive into how organic, premium beard oils are made, then used this new-found wisdom to create my own oils. At the time, I had no idea this journey would lead me to start my very own premium beard oil company several months later.
WHERE THE NAME “OVERLAND” CAME FROM
Before I get into why I started Overland Beard Company, let me explain where the name came from. Its roots go back when Tina, my loving wife, was in the middle of her fight with cancer.
During that time, I longed to get away—far, far away. Not from her (heaven forbid!) but from the stress and everything else that goes with fighting cancer.
This desire—the desire to get away—was innately driven. As a matter of fact, it can be traced to my childhood.
As a boy, I loved playing in the woods. They were my happy place and drew me in like a moth to a flame.
During the summer months I would stay there from sun up to sun down. The only time I’d leave was when I either needed something to eat or was called home by my parents.
As Tina’s fight became more intense, I oddly thought about those times in the woods.
I’m no psychologist; however, I believe my embodied cognition surfaced simply to remind me of the benefits of getting away. It made me want to scoop Tina up in my arms so badly and take her to my happy place.
But I couldn’t. It simply wasn’t possible. We had kids to take care of, a house to maintain, and a business to run to help keep us afloat.
Since we couldn’t get away I turned to YouTube to bring the great outdoors to us.
Initially, I stumbled upon Shawn James and My Self Reliance at the exact same time he started to hand-build his log cabin. I then discovered Joe Robinet and binged watched hours of bushcrafting while Tina lay sick next to me.
This led me to Chris Schontz of Venture4WD before he left on his very first overland adventure. Watching him sit in his apartment mentally processing his next move was both amusing and shockingly therapeutic. But it also opened my eyes to an entirely new world called overlanding.
Simultaneously, Tina and I had many discussions around a term I coined “essential minimalism”.
If you’re not familiar with Essentialism, I recommend you read Greg McKeown’s book titled Essentialism—The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.
Likewise, if you’re not familiar with minimalism, read Joshua Becker’s book titled The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own.
Even though both books are uniquely different, they share similar philosophies that radically challenge the lie we’re constantly fed about the American dream.
If you haven’t read either one of them, I highly recommend you do so. They’ll cause both epiphanies and paradigm shifts that’ll only make your life better.
Ironically, I picked up a copy of Essentialism when it was first published in April of 2014, just a few months before Tina was diagnosed. Not only was it tremendously helpful from a business perspective but also applicable to parenting, raising a family, and navigating through more serious trials that life would soon throw our way.
Tina was diagnosed in August of 2014. She passed away on June 28, 2017. Even though that was the darkest chapter of our lives together, we learned a ton through the journey. If interested, she documented everything over at TeamTina.me.
Months before she died we had several conversations about downsizing so that we could be more intentional about living for today instead of just dreaming about what we’d like to be able to do tomorrow. After she passed, I continued our commitment and decided to document the journey over at Pursuing Less.
PURSUING LESS. LIVING MORE.
Proverbs 11:28 says, “A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.”
It’s not that things are inherently bad. As a matter of fact, they help us accomplish a great deal. But as a Christian, I’m called to pursue the Creator not things that moth and rust can destroy. (See Matthew 6:19-34)
Part of my vision with Pursuing Less was to overland the United States with my son, Creed, while visiting all 62 of our National Parks. It was my attempt to get away to grieve and, in my mind, would help him process his grief better, too.
However, after visiting just 10 National Parks, it was evident that my vision—this epic, grandiose father-son journey filled with lifetime memories and majestic views—wasn’t necessarily his. He missed home, missed his friends, and was ready to return. So we did.
What about my trip? Do I still plan to complete it?
Of course! But, ultimately, it’ll be up to the Lord. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last few years is that God is sovereign. He is in control of my life, not me.
As a matter of fact, the Book of James reminds me not to be arrogant or foolish about the future. It states:
And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.” — James 4:13-15
Also, in Proverbs, verse 16:9 reminds me, “We plan the way we want to live, but only GOD makes us able to live it.”
So right now my focus is on Creed. He’s got big dreams and I’m here to help him fulfill them—even if this means postponing my trip for at least another five years.
Does that frustrate me?
Not in the least! Being a dad is the coolest thing ever. As a matter of fact, I can’t imagine doing anything else right now. Besides, without Tina, it’s pretty evident—he needs me more than ever before.
This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my initial dream, though. No way!
Instead, I’ve decided to expand it by including an additional route that’ll take me across Canada. But to do it the way I want to do it will require enough money in the bank that’ll support my journey for at least two years.
PREMIUM BEARD OIL FOR OVERLANDERS & OUTDOORSMEN
One of the ways I plan to do this is through Overland Beard Company, a premium beard oil provider for overlanders and outdoorsman—two communities I’m passionate about and truly humbled to serve.
We offer three premium beard oil collections known as the Outdoorsman, the Overlander, and the Weekender. Each collection contains three unique beard oils that have been carefully selected for the community they represent.
Furthermore, each premium beard oil is made right here in the great USA out of all-natural and organic ingredients. You simply won’t find a better beard oil in all of North America. Yeah, I know that’s my opinion but I’m sticking with it!
So if you’re a bearded brother that shares similar passions, make sure you check them out, buy a bottle or two, then spread the word. I’d GREATLY appreciate it!
And, if you feel so inclined, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. We’d love to connect with you as you start your new journey with our products! Just tag us using #overlandbeardcompany in your posts.
Last but certainly not least, reach out to me and let me know what you think. Your input matters and will help me make Overland Beard Company the best in the business.
Thanks for reading. You are appreciated!
Founder, Overland Beard Company