October 03, 2023
Midland Radio has partnered with "Radio Chatter" to keep overlanders connected through two-way radios.
Radio Chatter's founders shared their story and how two-way radios are crucial to building connection.
Bethany and Paul Gunnels founded Radio Chatter in the summer of 2023.
"Radio Chatter is a conversation starter game to build and strengthen your relationships while overlanding or traveling," the game's website said.
“It’s a deck of cards, playing cards with questions on it. Anything we pack in our rig, we try to have multi-purpose so that’s why it’s both a deck of playing cards and a game with the questions. The idea is on the radio you can ask everybody what their favorite camp meal or favorite vehicle upgrade. We included a couple of blank cards so if users decide they want to ask their own questions, they can," Bethany said.
The game includes 52 cards with 52 questions. Bethany said they tested a few packs throughout the summer and plan to release a bigger batch in September of 2023. Users can purchase the game online for $20.
The Gunnels started overlanding shortly after the pandemic.
"We started going on Mountain State Overland trips. On our first trip, it was a lot of fun. All the trips are fun, but on the second trip I noticed there was a lot more conversation. I enjoyed it a lot," Bethany said.
Bethany wanted to continue to connect with others on the trips, but as she was new to the activity, she wasn't sure where to start.
“The first question I thought of was, ‘What has been your favorite enhancement to your vehicle?’ From there I thought of 10 or 11 more.”
After she started the conversations, she saw people start to build connections.
“When we went on that third trip, I started asking those questions over the radio and people thought it was a lot of fun. We all thought it made the day go by faster and once we got to the campfire, it felt like we all knew each other. On these trips we spend three days together, but a large chunk of that time, you’re in your own individual vehicle not communicating. This kind of helped move that along.”
Using two-way radios to build connections is Bethany's favorite part of overlanding.
“When we leave the trips what we spend more time talking about and telling our friends about is the unique, different people we meet on the trips. I think back to when we first started overlanding about two and a half years ago and now I have close friends from around the U.S. is really cool. Also, it’s been nice to connect through this world, but then take those relationships outside of the overlanding activity.”
Paul said building these connections only adds to the trip as a whole.
"Asking questions of others in the convoy, sharing adventure stories, or just catching up can really build group camaraderie and make the trip more enjoyable. Sometimes though, it’s hard to think of what to say and that’s why we created Radio Chatter. Having predetermined questions allows anyone to start and participate in the conversation. It’s amazing how one simple random question can generate conversations over miles of your adventure and even stem further conversations later in your trip, such as around the campfire at the end of the day."
The Gunnels plan to continue to sell the game online and often bring packs of the game with them when attending overlanding trips.
She hopes to release expansion packs in the future as well.
For them, developing the game has been something new to experience together.
“My husband Paul and I joke that this isn’t something that we plan on retiring on. My husband has really enjoyed this because he said he’s always wanted to start a business. He’s enjoyed the business side whereas I’ve enjoyed meeting with the graphic designer. There’s a little bit of we’ve never done this before so it’s just kind of fun.”
In the end, it's all about connection.
“It’s given me so much joy just seeing how well received it is.”
The Gunnels know firsthand just how important to use two-way radios when overlanding.
"In overlanding, the two-way radios generally serve two primary purposes: coordination and safety. When on the road with a group, the radios are very helpful to coordinate and communicate routes or turns onto different roads. This communication keeps the group together and ensures someone doesn’t get lost," Paul said.
The use of two-way radios are also key to safety.
"You can use the radio to alert others of oncoming traffic on narrow and winding roads, obstacles, road washouts, etc. Additionally it’s often used when spotting other vehicles who are driving over challenging obstacles or when visibility isn’t ideal," Paul added.