Driving a Land Rover vehicle often gives drivers the urge to throw away their worldly possessions and start a life of adventure on the road. The Bell Family knows that feeling all too well.
"You’re leaping into the unknown all the time. But the reward is always worth it."
Owning a handful of vehicles over the years, the Bell family has always counted on the Land Rover brand. But it was their current vehicle, a 2003 Defender 130, that made the most profound impact on how they live today. Looking for a greater connection to the world around them, Graeme Bell, along with wife Luisa and their children Keelan and Jessica, took on a dream many have but few actually act upon: escaping the confines of the modern world to travel the globe.
“We’ve always been outdoor people,” says Graeme, patriarch of the brood. “And when you own a Land Rover, adventure naturally comes along with it.” The life-changing decision came after embarking on an ambitious six-month drive from Cape Town, South Africa to the Serengeti in Tanzania back in 2012. Ten years later, the Bell family has nearly circumnavigated the globe.
To accommodate family life on the road, their trusty Defender went through a few modifications. Early on, the rooftop tent provided more than enough room for a young family, but it quickly became apparent that the Bells' ambitious schedule, as well as two growing teens, required a bit more space. A customized cabin was planned, and in typical Bell family fashion, they created it themselves.
"We’re more confident. More humble. We’re better people because of this."
Living minimally has taught the family to appreciate what they have. “There’s no sheltering yourself. There’s no buffer of material possessions between you and the outside world.” But despite the optimism this life has given them, the family has run into many close calls, and thankfully their Defender has helped them through. “We’ve had some difficult drives in areas like the Amazon during rainy season. If we had gotten stuck or had a mechanical issue, it would be a huge problem.” Graeme explains that when what you love most is your vehicle and the people inside, it isn’t as simple as dumping the Defender on the side of the road. “When we pull through those situations, I’ve actually kissed the vehicle and thanked it.”
Despite the many close calls, it’s all been worthwhile for the Bell family. “We only have one life on this planet. A life of learning and understanding culture is the best use of our time.” And for Graeme, that, as well as the opportunity to be with his family every day, is a life well lived. Will the Bells ever park the Defender for good? Probably not. “We’re always adapting. The road dictates where we go”
THE LAND ROVER DEFENDER
CAPABLE OF GREAT THINGS
The Defender is capable by nature. Built to be the toughest Land Rover vehicle ever, it confidently handles a variety of terrains. The Defender is strengthened with outstanding geometry, Configurable Terrain Response® and our most durable materials yet, making it a real force to be reckoned with.
HAVE A STORY TO TELL?
We're creating a series of short films and photo shoots featuring Land Rover vehicle owners. We want to hear about your adventures, your family, your passions and motivations. But most importantly, we want to know what makes your story different. We want to find out what makes your story yours.