Vote for the
2019 Overland Challenge
Heroes Award winner!

SOUTHERN XPEDITIONS™ presents the "2019 Overland Challenge - Heroes Award"!
In association with WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™, they have committed to donating all net proceeds from ticket sales to send 2 female veterans on a 10-day, all expenses paid, overlanding retreat to Costa Rica.

 
 

Please take your time to read through our submissions and cast your vote!


 
 
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Alyssa V.

Are you submitting for yourself or someone else?: Someone Else

What branch of the military did you serve in?: Army

Which years did you or your nominee serve? (example: 2008-2012): 2003-present

Tell us why you or the person you are submitting should be chosen to go on a WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™ retreat?: I am nominating one of my closest friends, 2LT Alyssa Vasquez. I am also a soldier, and I know my wife nominated me to win this trip, but my friend Alyssa deserves it so much more. She’s been on 2 deployments; and she most recently became the first female Armor officer in the state of TN. 

She is the ultimate badass, and she deserves to be recognized. When I first came into the Army National Guard, I only vaguely knew Alyssa because we had some mutual friends (because lesbian circles and stuff), but I really got to know her as I was preparing to advance my own military career when she started to train me. 
She knowledgeable. She strong. She’s the person I want in my corner when the shit hits the fan. Please award her this trip. She doesn’t know I’m doing this, so I don’t know exactly what the protocol is here, but I want her to receive this. She’s spent years as a National Guard recruiter, preparing so many young men and women for military life. She deserves a real thank you.

Please write a brief biography about yourself/your nominee. (500 words or less): I don’t know much about Alyssa’s past other than she was born in California and her mom brought her to Tennessee at some point. She joined the National Guard right out of high school and has been there ever since. 

She is my best friend and she’s a warrior. Please give her this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Amanda W.

Are you submitting for yourself or someone else?: Yourself

What branch of the military did you serve in?: Air Force

Which years did you or your nominee serve? (example: 2008-2012): 1993-1997

Tell us why you or the person you are submitting should be chosen to go on a WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™ retreat?: I think I should be chosen because I love the outdoors. I’ve hiked 620 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, went cage diving with Great White Sharks, been Skydiving, etc. I have PTSD and was injured when I was in the military. I have a few medical conditions that should keep me from being adventurous but I do not allow it to define me. The thing I miss most about the military is getting to travel. I love going places and trying new things. I write poetry and use my destinations as the stage for ideas. I know travel stresses a lot of people out but it’s the only thing that truly “sets me free.” If you pick me, I promise to be the absolute best person for the adventure. I’m funny, thoughtful, and helpful.

Please write a brief biography about yourself/your nominee. (500 words or less): I was raised by a single mother and we were very poor. I realized education was my way out. I joined the military and went to college to better my circumstances. I now run the #2 tourism company in the #1 city of Nashville, TN. I spent my whole life believing I deserved better and have provided that life for myself and grown daughter. I’ve recently took on helping to foster a little girl named Ximena who is addicted to Heroin because of her moms neglectful use of drugs during pregnancy. We’ve had her for 3 months now and she had my heart the day I met her. If I could save everyone, I would. I understand what it feels like to think life is hopeless.


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Diana Z.

Are you submitting for yourself or someone else?: Someone Else

What branch of the military did you serve in?: Army

Which years did you or your nominee serve? (example: 2008-2012): 2015-2018

Tell us why you or the person you are submitting should be chosen to go on a WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™ retreat?: I have decided to nominate Diana to go on this retreat for many reasons. Diana is the definition of adventurer, she wants to see every little part of this world that she can in her lifetime. I feel that She would be a great candidate for this retreat because she is strong, smart, very self-suffecient, and extremely outgoing! She got out of the army almost a year ago now, I think this experience would be An awesome gift as she is finishing this chapter in her life!

Please write a brief biography about yourself/your nominee. (500 words or less): Diana was born in korea, she is 29 years old. She was raised in Wichita Falls Texas by her mom and dad, she is the youngest of 3. She has always been athletic, playing lots of sports growing up such as: softball, basketball, football, tennis and later on in life jujitsu. After high school Diana started working for a nonprofit company called P.E.T.S, it is a low income spay and nueter clinic that her best friend opened. After working there for a few years, she decided to join the military. The military brought her to Clarksville Tennessee, where she has since purchased her first home and spent the last 4 years. She plans on taking a big road trip this summer to visit every us state!


Kimberly D.

Are you submitting for yourself or someone else?: Yourself

What branch of the military did you serve in?: Navy

Which years did you or your nominee serve? (example: 2008-2012): 2000-Present

Tell us why you or the person you are submitting should be chosen to go on a WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™ retreat?: These past 19 years of service have come at great personal sacrifice. Raising twins, supporting my mother all while serving active duty. While family time is always cherished in between deployments, I am an adventurer at heart! Women Overlanding the World retreat would be the perfect opportunity to focus on myself. Time to recharge. An opportunity to rediscover myself. To meet some amazing and inspiring women along the way. All in hopes to reignite the motivation and inspire me to continue on to serve another 11 years.

Please write a brief biography about yourself/your nominee. (500 words or less): I joined the World’s greatest Navy as a girl just 17 years old from Southern California. Now, a woman with a lifetime of experiences, my adventurous heart keeps me going! A single mother of twins, working on a Master’s degree, balancing life and deployments gracefully. Having recently commissioned to a Chief Warrant Officer in the Navy, I am one of only two females in my field. Previously, one of only four female Senior Chiefs in the AWO rating. I love what I do as a Naval Aircrewman. This career has been my passion for 19 years and my goal is to continue service for another 11 years.

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Leslie K.

Are you submitting for yourself or someone else?: Yourself

What branch of the military did you serve in?: Select

Which years did you or your nominee serve? (example: 2008-2012): 2008-2016

Tell us why you or the person you are submitting should be chosen to go on a WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™ retreat?: Active lifestyle while working as an ER physician full time and two young kids. So many goals and not enough time! My 8 years in the Navy while deploying with the USMC to Afghanistan leading a Shock Trauma Platoon in Helmand Province taught me to appreciate life and which this world has to offer. Also taught me that women are beautiful and amazing beings capable of more than society gives us credit for. I have been inspired by the women in your IG posts and hope to inspire others with my story.

Please write a brief biography about yourself/your nominee. (500 words or less): I grew up in Iowa to a Chilean mother so was the weird kid who spoke Spanish. Went to college and then medical school, joining the Navy to pay for school and wanting to serve my country. Stationed in San Diego I met my husband, who eloped with me before I deployed. He followed me to my last duty station in Jacksonville, FL and we are now settled in Omaha to be near family. We love to be healthy and lead a good life for our two young girls aged 3.5 and 1.5!


Melody B.

Are you submitting for yourself or someone else?: Yourself

What branch of the military did you serve in?: Air Force

Which years did you or your nominee serve? (example: 2008-2012): 2002-2006

Tell us why you or the person you are submitting should be chosen to go on a WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™ retreat?: This is a trip I could really only dream about. Spending 10 days with inspirational women who live and breathe the road less travelled would be a marvel to me. I am an adventurer at heart, with good moral fiber and a home that is built more-so on experiences, rather than materialistic gains. I think it is important for strong women to come together and strengthen and encourage each other and to also lead by example. Breaking down stereotypical barriers and throwing out life-lines to each other in the smallest of ways, can make the biggest unforseen differences in our everyday lives. I should be chosen for this trip because I come with a big heart of gratitude, a healthy competitive spirit, lots of love and a personal dedication to growth and to share what I learn with others as I lead my own life.

Please write a brief biography about yourself/your nominee. (500 words or less): “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.” 

A favorite quote of mine, by Ronnie Oldham that is the bedrock of who I am. I joined the military in my late twenties to really learn and understand my strengths and weaknesses and to also be part of something much bigger than myself. For a duration of 4 years and 2 months I was a Flight Engineer on HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters doing combat search and rescue in Iraq, Afghanistan and Hurricane Katrina. When I got out of the Air Force, I attended Full Sail University and received my Bachelor’s in Digital Art and Design. After over a decade of working myself up the corporate ladder, close to 3 years ago, my spirit was suffocated by the purposeless drive of corporate capitalism, the bottomless pit of stress and complete lack of regard for valuing and respecting someone's time, effort and production of work. I decided to make a change. I turned my attention to my local community and found a work environment in alignment with my core values at Cypress Systems, an ingredients supplier. Community outreach and volunteering are encouraged and supported at Cypress. Working with non-profit agencies like Doc’s Dogs for Vets, Ideaworks, a local community Makerspace, and working with a local low-income school, creating and coordinating STEAM activities every year are the highlights of my responsibilities. Connections and experiences like these are what drive and invigorate me to share what I know with others and to help ignite their own internal flame. Being a good steward of the planet is also very important to me, specifically, re-purposing and fixing things instead of throwing away and buying new things all the time. I spend my off time taking propane and air compressor tanks and turning them into beautifully resonating drums. 

My heart is overjoyed and honored to have this shared opportunity with other like-minded women and I thank you for your consideration of my entry.

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Morgan F.

Are you submitting for yourself or someone else?: Someone Else

What branch of the military did you serve in?: Army

Which years did you or your nominee serve? (example: 2008-2012): 2015- present

Tell us why you or the person you are submitting should be chosen to go on a WOMEN OVERLANDING THE WORLD™ retreat?: My wife served the City of Nashville for 10 years as a police officer and has spent the last 4 years serving as a soldier in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. As a police officer she was the youngest woman to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. 

She doesn’t think she deserves the honors of a veteran, but she has done a lot of things for women in combat arms and has always excelled in everything she’s done. 

She is one of a very small number of women who serve in the Field Artillery and was recently promoted to gunner, which is rarely held by a female soldier. 

While serving in the military she has been awarded numerous medals for superior performance; and most recently represented her battalion as Soldier of the Year in the Massachusetts Best Warrior Competition- again, a slot never held by a female in the field artillery. 

Going on this adventure would be the chance of a lifetime for her and not something to ever be taken for granted.

Please write a brief biography about yourself/your nominee. (500 words or less): Morgan was born and raised in Nashville Tn. She grew up in a musically talented family and was expected to follow in their footsteps, but felt she had a higher calling in public service. She chose to be a police officer after the Sept 11 attacks and served in various law enforcement divisions until 2016. She has an amazing wife named Kimber (me) and we have an amazing 10 year old son named Adeel. 

We moved a couple of years ago to New England and now spend our days loving our dogs and enjoying New England sports. 

Morgan spends most of her free time at the gym and loves to outwork all of the “young pups” as she calls them, in her National Guard unit.


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