Based in Japan: Luke Bridgford | Overlanding | Travel

With over a decade’s experience living and dealing in Japan, Luke Bridgford is a non-stop bundle of life-affirming energy. An actor and entrepreneur from Australia, Bridgford once considered himself as a “horrible person,” but through a passion for discovery, found not only himself but additionally Japan’s first overlanding camping automotive enterprise. His company, Overland Campers Japan is a recent call back to nature, offering the chance to independently travel and experience Japan. A task model for locating passion in each life and work, Bridgford sat all the way down to chat about his story and what overlanding represents.

An obvious query, but how did you find yourself in Japan?

Bridgford: I jokingly say that I didn’t select Japan, Japan selected me! In 1999, I used to be applying for jobs all around the world. Japan was only one country on my list but though I couldn’t speak a lick of Japanese, it was the primary to supply me work. So there I used to be, a bright-eyed young kid in Sapporo teaching, of all things, the best way to make beer with imported machines. A minimum of, that’s what I feel the job was purported to be [laughs].

An Australian working with beer? Who’d have thought! But you didn’t stay in Sapporo.

Haha, right. I’m a Bob Dylan fan and got here to Tokyo to see him in concert. I used to be then scouted to be a ‘talent.’ I scoffed at the thought, finished my visa and returned to Australia. But I used to be restless and shortly moved back to Japan and gave talent work a shot. I failed miserably and ended up working in a Roppongi bar. That’s after I got involved in recruiting, working hard for the subsequent five years successfully growing the corporate. By the tip, though, I felt I’d turn into a horrible person so I left Japan and traveled for a 12 months to search out my next path.

That takes some doing, to acknowledge that something is incorrect and attempting to fix it.

Well, I ended up studying acting in Latest York and loved it. It was so refreshing to learn the best way to read myself and see things from one other’s perspective. I returned to Australia, did some acting after which began up a successful food truck business, taking some inspiration from the food stalls I had seen in Japan.

So how did food trucking in Australia morph into overlanding in Japan?

I received a suggestion too good to refuse to return back to Tokyo and construct up one other company. Eventually, though, I discovered myself at odds with mainstream corporate recruiting. It was just take, take, take. For my very own work-life balance, I purchased an inexpensive automotive, tinkered with it and commenced overlanding as a hobby while regaining my love for being in Japan. When colleagues became curious, I spotted overlanding was a strategy to give back to Japan and interact positively with people’s lives.

So what exactly is overlanding?

Overlanding is self-reliant travel to distant destinations where the journey is the principal goal. It dates back to the 1900s and is now typically done using a 4×4 with a rooftop tent, a pull-out kitchen within the rear and equipment for long-distance travel.

How does your organization Overland Campers Japan fit into the outdoor culture here? In any case, Japan’s michi no eki system is well advanced and camping is sort of popular.

Outside of Tokyo, individuals are friendly and keen to determine relationships. Michi no eki and camping are great for this. Overland Campers Japan offers this too, nevertheless it also gives people the possibility to operate inside nature again. It’s fun, a release for people caught within the grind. If it wasn’t fun, it could just be a camping automotive business. However it’s an experience business. The vehicle designs give almost unlimited potential for travel, rest and camp throughout Japan. 

You mentioned “function inside nature.” Could you elaborate?

I feel we’ve lost our sense of surviving inside nature. That’s why I deliberately offer interaction with our vehicles. There are things to do, the kitchen comes out, you’ve got to light a hearth, and so forth. Everyone back from an overlanding trip has a tremendous look on their face. Possibly the experience calls on something deep inside our caveman DNA? Anyway, all of them come back modified. I really like seeing that because I’ve experienced that change for myself.

What concerning the challenges you’ve faced establishing Overland Campers Japan?

Many wish to be a part of something. Should you could be the focus, people will gather and support you. In that way, I feel Japan wants you to succeed. However the challenge is that Japan is very process oriented and straightforward things like filling out forms and dealing within the language take time. But you will have to undergo the method. Should you’re still around, you’re legitimate and Japan will respect that.

After three firms in Japan, what’s your advice for starting a business here?

You’ve got to have something value offering and you must be patient. There’s a blessing for each difficulty so interpreting success in alternative ways — not the standard growing the bank balance kind of success — is actually vital. So is self assurance and wanting to depart a positive mark.

Translate »