5 Years with this Tacoma, and life has literally never been the same.

The beginning of November marks the anniversary of owning my Tacoma named Ronan (or also #BadassBasecamp). This vehicle is a manifestation of hard work, goal setting, daily visualization, and a no-excuse attitude to obtain what you desire most in this life. This truck is a literal dream come true – I’m grateful for it’s existence in my life every single day I get to drive it.

So let’s take you back to where it all started.
For years leading up to the day this Tacoma became mine, I had dreamt of owning one. I seriously ate, breathed and slept this dream! At the time, it was wildly out of my price range. Like, I could not even fathom being able to afford one, and would often defeat myself straight into a level of doubt that I could probably, in all reality, never really own one. This resulted in me test driving other small trucks, more affordable options, as a fall-back for when I decided to give up.

I am SO damn grateful that I did not give up. Something was pulling me to this vehicle. It scared me shitless because I continued to think of all the excuses as to why this would never work.

About the time I was seriously beginning my search for a Tacoma, I found one that fit everything I was looking for: 6-speed manual, 4wd, 4 door, and in the speedway blue color. I was sick with excitement. I got the loan approved, was ready to pull the trigger on it when suddenly I had a thought that I needed a second opinion about it. I knew nothing about vehicles or what to look for, so I trusted that thought and had it inspected by a shop.

Turns out, this dream vehicle was a rust bucket.
The entire underside was plagued with rust spots and was a ticking time-bomb for a mess of problems.

I. Was. Crushed.

Here I felt so defeated knowing this rare manual Tacoma was not meant to be mine. It sounds so dramatic saying it now, but I handed back the keys after that “test drive” with a literal tear in my eye. I got back into my Hyundai Accent and cried the whole drive home.

Silly, huh?

And yet, on November 4, 2014, a couple weeks after the rust-bucket experience and with a renewed fire to still pursuit my goal, I walked onto Brent Brown Toyota to take a look at some used Tacoma’s on the lot that day.

Well, I didn’t leave there with a used Tacoma. I left with a brand new 2015 TRD Sport.

I was so terrified.

I had never bought a new vehicle before and was so scared. In hind-site, I would have done a few things radically different, which served as valuable lessons in and of themselves. At one point, about a week later, I had buyers remorse so badly, I called up my sales guy and discussed options for backing out of this truck… yeah, I was THAT scared.

Again, I am so fucking grateful that I didn’t, and that even in the dark depths of the unknown, I still had that pull towards this truck. Something was genuinely in motion. I stood there with the keys in my hand and the thought came to mind,

“Your life is never going to be the same.”

Reflecting back on it now…

That little voice was not wrong. Not in the slightest. My life has literally never been the same since that day, and I would not trade ANY of it for the world.

As I sit here typing this, five years later, I have become such a different person than that timid little Cristin was. I have grown in ways that I could have never dreamed imaginable. I have met a countless number of people, learned some serious skills and invaluable lessons, and traveled to some of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen, all because of the doors that this truck has opened for me.

I made some great friends along this road and eventually we went our different ways. The time and adventures spent with those folks played such a key chapter in where I stand today. There were greater lessons learned, experiences had, and a fuck-ton of self-growth that ultimately came from that chapter in the story. It was a time in life that served the exact purpose that it needed to, of which I am truly grateful it happened.

With the closing of one door, another one opened.

Over the last nine months, or most of 2019 all together, new people and opportunities have stepped into my life. I am in an even better place mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This new chapter has been the best one yet, as all others have led right to it. It’s exciting and invigorating! I am in love with life in a brand new way, strictly from this year alone. I can’t even begin to describe to you guys the level of renewed fire that exists today. All because this truck has continued to open doors.

The skills learned out there in the dirt have also been invaluable. I am, by no means, proficient or confident in every facet of offroading. But the fact that the day I drove off that dealership I knew absolutely nothing about offroading or about my vehicle, I daresay that as of today, I have a taste for quite a bit. There is still SO much yet to be learned and better understood. There are teachers at every turn and I look forward to dialing those skills in even more.

Things have only just begun.

Just as I have evolved over the past five years, so has my truck.
From bone stock to Badass offroad warrior, this thing has been everywhere with me, and together we have experienced the entire spectrum of successes and failures, rewards and defeats. We have driven to the summit of mountains and have been sideways on the trail. As the pages in the story are written, the truck evolves to match. With the changing of metaphorical seasons, the evolution with the build is radically apparent (as you will see below). It has grown into something more capable than I could have ever dreamt possible… just like myself.

Day one – 2014




Photo – chaoskingb (IG)
Photo – Ed Plozai Photography


Photo – chaoskingb (IG)

Beginning of 2019

(Start of the new chapter)

Mid 2019

Two weeks later.

End of 2019

Photo – chaoskingb (IG)
Photo – chaoskingb (IG)
Photo – chaoskingb (IG)

My Tacoma could tell you one hell of a story if he could speak. He would slap me upside the head for some decisions I’ve made in regards to it, but also hug me for a few others. He would tell of narrow misses and grand triumphs. He may even divulge in secrets about the driver, like how she always gives a look-back after parking, or has kissed the steering wheel after a spicy section in the trail.

Hmm.. maybe it’s a good thing Tacoma’s can’t speak after all.

This truck has been the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I really mean that. It truly brought me out of my shy, timid shell and has been my foundation for stepping into more of who I am meant to be. It gave me permission to become something more and the freedom to do so. To push the limits and to keep moving forward. To dream bigger and to go further. It signifies so much more to me than just four wheels that get me from point A to B.
This truck is me and is a daily reminder of it all.

I’m grateful every single day that this truck continues to shape my present day. I literally cannot imagine where I would be right now if I hadn’t committed to making the dream a reality. On that same note, I can’t even imagine what is still left in store for us! Like I said, we have only just begun. There are many more people to meet, experiences to be had, places still left to travel and lives yet to be changed.

I’m also grateful that you got this far with the post! Thank you for reading this. In whatever way you have supported this five year journey of mine, THANK YOU.
I would not be here without the multitude of people along the way, both past and present, including yourself.

Thank you for being here.

So here’s to a hundred thousand more miles and many more years yet to come with a badass brunette named Cristin and her one-of-a-kind blue Tacoma.

The best is yet to come.

2 thoughts on “5 Years with this Tacoma, and life has literally never been the same.

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey with Ronan and offroading. I started following you thinking you had it all and everything was perfect for you only to learn there are still challenges that you have to overcome. And this post gives me so much hope for myself and my 4Runner because I don’t know a lot about offroading and yet I want to build a business out of it. I appreciate your raw openness. Thank you.

    1. Badass Brunette – I am on a mission to be apologetically Me - true to myself and what I believe in, pursuing all adventures that set my soul on fire, living this life to the fullest extent and allowing the world to join me on the journey.
      Badass Brunette says:

      Thanks for the comment! My journey has been such a learning curve from day one, and it STILL is. If I can do it, you and your 4runner definitely can! Keep showing up and putting yourself out there. You got this, girl.

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