“Travelling leaves you speechless but turns you into a storyteller”
True, isn’t it? The best part of travelling is that you make new friends, learn new culture, explore the unexplored areas and above all you meet the new you, which is best thing that can ever happen to you. And when you are doing it with your soulmate, here we mean your priced possession i.e. your car, the experience fourfold.
We are discussing about those crazy travelers who are in most sense car lovers too and in the last blog our pick was the Indian family that drove from Bangalore to Paris in their Fiat Linea. Our next member in the list is a person who seems to have been born for travelling and driving. Let’s meet the man who has changed the way one can ever pursue his/her passion.
Gunther, Christine and their OTTO
6 Continents, 215 Countries, 26 Years, 900,000 Kilometers
Gunther Holtorf who has spent a good time of 23 years travelling around the globe in his Otto is now popularly known as the World’s Greatest Traveler. Otto is the name of the car in which he covered his long journey with his wife, which lasted for around 26 years. It was none other than the 1988 Mercedes G Wagon, which is not a part of the Mercedes-Benz museum in Germany.
Gunther has nearly spent 3 years of his life being behind the wheel of his Otto and his attachment with the 3-litre 5-cylinder diesel-powered long wheelbase Mercedes 300 GD that was capable of churning out a peak power of 88hp. Throughout the voyage, the Otto witnessed many minor accidents which end up giving nothing more than a dent to the off-roader and this is what something that makes the Mercedes cars special.
The trio set their journey back in 1988 and their first destination was Kenya. The trip that was planned to last for 2 years lasted for around 5 years in Africa. And then the never-lasting journey began. From New Zealand to Australia to India to Brazil and the countries and destinations kept on adding one after the other.
The toughness of Otto is well described in the words of Gunther (2013) – “Otto is nothing but nuts and bolts that means I can unscrew the nuts and pull out bolts to repair anything that comes up myself”. He further added, “In any modern car you cannot touch the brakes because it’s all electronically controlled.”
Gunther and Christine have confessed that they have treated the Mercedes G Wagon as their old grandmother and never raised the odometer hand by 80kmph (50mph). As a result, even after travelling a gigantic distance of 900,000 kilometers the Otto didn’t end up drinking the oil, the engine cylinders never underwent re-lining and the piston remained the original one.
Right from facing the wrath of the mud hole to fighting the malign facial tumor that Christine got detected, the Holtrofs confronted every challenge that came up to their way. Unfortunately Christine’s situation worsened and she succumbed to her disease in June 2010. The remaining journey Gunther and Martin, their son, continued.
For complete information on the adventure the Holtrofs had on the 26-years lasting world tour, visit their blog – Otto’s Journey.