There is no stopping Lux Girl. From breaking gender boundaries to challenging the status quo. She isn’t your average 4WDer, but she sure will take you on one hell of an adventure.

My love for the outdoors began many years ago when I was first introduced to camping and rock climbing. With the pressures of daily life (work and kids), that love affair took a back step for many years until I met my current partner, who also happened to have the same love for the outdoors. As a photographer, he took every opportunity to be outdoors and encouraged me to do the same.

I guess the timing to get out there and explore was also right. Although the pressures of daily life never truly go away, I realised that there needed to be a balance between the hustle of city life, being a mother, a professional and an outdoor life-styler. My adventurous spirit had been dormant for a long time, and it was now time for it to awaken again.

That balance came in the form of four wheel driving and camping. I chose the camping culture over the café culture, the four wheel drive therapy over the retail therapy, the sand dunes over the footpaths and the tent over the townhouse. With my partner by my side to help me plan and keep a visual journal of my adventures, I was on my way.

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For a long time, I fell victim to a misconception that outdoor hobbies, like four wheel driving, were only available to a select few; those with time, money and know-how. I saw myself as being too time poor and not knowing enough. I have since realised that this is not the case. As my journey continues, I’m discovering just how rich in outdoor destinations Victoria is. Living in Melbourne means I am only ever hours away from the High Country, the beach and the sand dunes or the low-lying scrub where I can leave behind the city life and let my adventurous spirit take hold.

For me, the outdoor recreational lifestyle has been about choice. The choice to get away, be it for a day, a weekend or longer. I’ve discovered a huge range of products on the market which cater for all seasons of outdoor adventure. Admittedly, getting off the beaten track takes planning and research, but with the right advice and a passion, it’s achievable. It really is a shame more people don’t get out there and explore this beautiful land of ours.

If being an IT professional has taught me anything, it’s that success comes from challenging the status quo. My personal experience of the IT industry is that it has traditionally been a male dominated environment, and as a female, I’ve often had to push the boundaries of that status quo in order to be successful. For a long time, I considered the four wheel drive and outdoor recreational lifestyle to be the same; simply because I felt that it appeared to cater for the male market and be a little out of my reach. Over time I’ve come to recognise that this lifestyle can and does cater for women too.

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I had yet to buy a four wheel drive, but on a trip to Croajingolong National Park (just east of Lakes Entrance and south-west of Mallacoota), I quickly realised that if I was to reach some of the best locations Victoria (and Australia) had to offer, I would need to get one. I had to replace my factory standard 2-wheel drive with an aftermarket, accessorised four wheel drive. Initially, the more I researched, the more confused I got. Let me tell you; there is no shortage of passionate opinions about what are the best four wheel drives on the market. People do love their off road vehicles! With time and patience, I found the vehicle I wanted, a Toyota HiLux SR5. Once more I found myself challenging my own preconceptions (in having a vehicle traditionally designed and used by tradies) but the marriage of off road capability and ute type styling of the HiLux met my needs perfectly (although it only just fits in my garage!).

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With car in hand, a new challenge began. How to take a standard factory vehicle and optimise its off road capabilities. Fun right? Remember how I said there is no shortage of passionate opinions regarding the best four wheel drives? Well, equally passionate are opinions on the best aftermarket 4×4 products. Since I had no real understanding of the four wheel drive community, I was initially at a loss to make the right decision. Like anything else, I wanted to make sure my budget went as far as it could go. I kept coming back to the realisation that a reputable company with a proven history would give me peace of mind when in the middle of nowhere. The advice I now give others wanting to start their off road adventures is the advice given to me, “buy the best you can afford and if you can’t afford it then wait till you can”.

Over the course of a year, I’ve been fitting out my HiLux with aftermarket products supplied and fitted by ARB. With every modification made, I’m like a kid in a candy store, full of enthusiasm and confidence to get out and test it. Now I have a very capable vehicle which I enjoy pushing to its limits everywhere from rugged rocky terrains to soft high sand dunes and thick scrub with the odd mud hole here and there. I can now travel to remote locations with a car that matches my adventurous spirit.

Join Lux Girl as she tackles the unforgiving dunes of Portland VIC in edition 2 of 4×4 CULTURED.

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Lux Girl, or Jayne, is an IT/High-Tech professional, a mother of two and an off road adventurer. Her love for the outdoors stems back many years but it’s in the last two years that her passion for off roading has really taken off. That passion has led Jayne to take a factory standard Toyota HiLux, fit it out with 4×4 accessories and explore the Australian Outback as Lux Girl 4x4ing. Along the way she’s continuously challenged the boundaries of the off road adventurer stereotype and hopes to inspire others to do the same while promoting a responsible and eco-friendly way of life. You can follow Lux Girl 4x4ing on her Facebook page luxgirl4x4ing and her Instagram page lux_girl_4x4ing.

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