Epic Land Cruiser adventure
Sylvie Caira

Highest road in the world

Swiss husband and wife Paul and Brigitta Bohlen Jüni are not your average couple. Having met and fallen in love in the Caribbean, they went on to tour Australia together, cementing their relationship with marriage in Namibia. Their honeymoon wasn’t spent reading books on a deserted beach. Instead, they chose to go an epic 4×4 adventure through South America and finishing it off by sailing to the Antarctic on a Russian icebreaker! The end? Far from it. Click through the break to find out.

After an already ambitious adventure like that, most of us would return to the routine of normal life with plans of growing old together. Not for Paul and Brigitta. They instead chose to circumnavigate the globe, crossing 63 countries, racking up an incredible 280,000 kilometres.

Earlier in the journey

The decision on how to cover this epic distance was an easy one for the pair: a Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ78. Quoting Winston Churchill they explained their choice of vehicle, who once said: “my tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.” The Land Cruiser’s reputation for strength and dependability made the decision for them.

After three years of planning, their world tour started from Switzerland on September 3, 2006, and within a month they had been through two continents. After a tour through France, Spain and Portugal, the couple took some time to have a well-deserved rest with a month-long stay in Morocco.

Soon enough, it was time to move on. With their next stop across the Atlantic in South America, they used a 20 foot shipping container to make the transfer easier as well as keeping costs down. Their cherished Land Cruiser, or as they began to lovingly refer to as “Mahangu” – meaning “food for the people”, a type of millet widely grown in Southern Africa to satisfy the hunger of locals, much in the same way the Land Cruiser satisfies the couple’s sense of adventure – was squeezed into the container with barely a few inches of space left for its month-long voyage across the seas.

Zoom in, can you identify all the flags?

Knock. Knock. Who’s there?

It’s incredible to think that, as they arrived in Brazil, at this stage, they’ve already been travelling for three months! Onwards they went, and before they knew it, they’ve been travelling for nearly seven years. That’s seven years across some of the harshest conditions known to man, from deserts to deep snow, and from wild rivers to wildlife. The Swiss couple and their trusted Mahangu survived it all without breaking a sweat.

On the September 21, 2013, the intrepid duo crossed the Rhine River and completed their circumnavigation of the globe, after 2,573 days. With the diesel rumble of their dependable Land Cruiser still going strong right until the end, a letter the couple sent to Toyota Europe mid-way through their trip said it all: “The Land Cruiser is the best car you can drive around the world [with].”

Long and winding road

Here’s a select gallery of Paul and Brigitta on their Land Cruiser world tour. Click here to visit their website for the full travel log.

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