A few years of traveling, 140 countries on all 7 continents – at least so far.
We, Monika and Martin, met during our studies in Zurich, Swizzyland in 1978 and decided to spend some time together.
In 1980 we needed a student’s sabbatical to recover from the overwhelming stress at university: 6 months to earn some odd money and 6 months to backpack thru South-East Asia. We flew to Singapore, and discovered Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma (nowadays Myanmar), Nepal, and India.
The 1st weeks of the trip were a little unusual for Monika. It was her 1st journey to Asia; she discovered mozzies as big as vultures and cockroaches bigger than elephants. Nevertheless, later on, they shrank significantly.
For Martin, the experience started a little more relaxed. A few years earlier he made one of these odd overland trips to Nepal that everybody had to experience back then. So, he was used to all kinds of mysterious occurrences that he wouldn’t dare to share with Monika.
After this adventure, we had to finish our studies, add a postgraduate year on developing world issues, and finally sought opportunities to earn something for our living.
Of course, after our studies, we were convinced we could change the world. To comply with this conviction we took the chance to work with a big German development institution.
We started working in Haiti, the Pearl of the Caribbean; later moved on to Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Benin, Lesotho, and finally Burkina Faso. In the beginning, we rather tried to apply what we had learned: we spread our good’n’bad advice on how to irrigate land and increase agricultural production and thus enabling farmers to improve their living. Later on, we considered it more relevant to give our all-important opinion on more global themes: Monika on food security, and Martin on governance issues.
During all these years we still found some time to discover the world. When not busy converting the world into a paradise, we used all opportunities to explore the surrounding of our respective locations or interesting places a little bit further away. So, an opportunity to discover many African countries on our doorstep, and during our scare leaves some trips to Asia and the Americas.
In 2007, we decided on another sabbatical: time for an extended 10-month backpacking trip from India to Australia.
Back to work, now in Lesotho, we planned our next journey at the end of our assignment: to drive back to Swizzyland. In 2012 the dream came true: another sabbatical and we were on our way from Lesotho to Europe. Somewhere in Turkey, near the end of the trip, we decided on the next step: Ushuaia, Argentina with a stopover at the Glacier Brew House in Anchorage – their Indian Pale Ale is fantastic.
Nevertheless, as a preparation we had to go back to work, improving our financial basis. Another assignment in West Africa, this time in Burkina Faso.
1½ years later, and after 30 years with the always same company, we definitely decided to continue our trip to Ushuaia. In 2014 we said goodbye to our Mother of All Companies – MoAC (not to confuse in a certain context with MoAC meaning Mother of All Corruption, or MoAC as Ministry of Anti-Corruption in another framework).
Well, to start with we 1st drove back to Swizzyland. Then for the next 8 years thru Asia, North, Central, and South America to finally reach Ushuaia, Argentina in December 2022.
There – the big crises. Ushuaia is the final destination of our trip. Finally, after a few bottles of excellent Malbec, we found our way out of it. We just renamed our blog. Now it’s no longer a blog about our journey to Ushuaia, but about our trip to Ushuaia and Beyond. Easy, isn’t it?
True, we haven’t seen yet the eastern part of South America. Nor to many other parts of the world.
During the past 20 years, Prado has been accompanying us on all our trips. 2003 we bought Prado as a simple Toyota for our assignment in Benin. During our time in Lesotho, we converted it every month a little more to comply with the challenges of an overland trip. It got a stronger suspension to conquer the jungle of the DRC, a 2nd battery to keep the beer cool, a lodge on the rooftop, and all kinds of wiring to ensure that all indispensable electronic scrap maintains its life.
In the meantime, it got a little bit rusty, and got some bumps from trees, cars, or fences that were standing in its way.
Still, it always brought us reliably through sand, swamp, water, desert, and mountains – to the highest elevation at approximately 5400m in west Tibet and the lowest minus 50m at the Caspian Sea.
Prado is used to getting an extra load of sulfur-enriched diesel after each hard adventure. Of course, sometimes it cried for a spare part or 2. Often just a small repair. Sometimes also a part to be flown in from Dubai.
Soon Prado will celebrate its 20th birthday and its 400 000th kilometer. But still eager to continue a little bit. By now as a proud senior citizen. Well, it’s a Toyota.
By the way: we had long discussions on what language to choose for this blog. Due to the many friends throughout the world, the decision was not an easy one: Sesotho, Chinese, or Wolof. Finally, we opted for English – a foreign language for us and many of our readers and probably a good exercise for those speaking Xiri or Zuñi.
Now just relax, get jealous, and enjoy as we do!!!