Inspiration From Five World Travellers

How did we get inspired to travel? Whose videos did we watch in the middle of the night in search of new motivation? Long before we started our world trip, we daydreamed of what we are doing now, and it suddenly dawned on us that “We are going to go on a world trip one day” was not a serious ambition – it was a procrastination. At that point, we changed from dreaming to planning and, eventually, to acting.

Even while we were still wallowing in “one-day-we-will”-adventures, we were already obsessed by the stories of other world travellers. We steadily fed our motivation by reading their blogs, watching their movies, and attending their live events.

Raise the curtain for five people who have inspired us to go out there and play the game of life:

 

Paul & Hansen Hoepner
(www.hoepner-hoepner.de)

zwei-nach-shanghai

Duration: 13 months
Distance: 13.600km

Paul’s and Hansen’s project was the first that we stumbled upon, and it totally got us addicted to world traveling. These two twins jumped on their bicycles and pedalled from Berlin to Shanghai through the Baltic states, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. According to them, reaching Shanghai was never the main point of their journey. What they actually wanted was to “get to know each other again” after having lived separate lives for eight years.

They hit lots of barriers on their way: they were beaten up by a group of drunk men in Kazakhstan, Paul caught high fever in Kyrgyzstan, and they almost ran out of time to enter China, crossing the border two hours before their immigration permit expired.

Since the end Berlin2Shanghai, they finished another project called “Zwei Um Die Welt” in which they set themselves the challenge to travel around the globe in only 80 days without money. Their latest project is named “Zwei Im Eis” which they are planning to start in 2019: they will ride a self-made vehicle from one to the other end of Alaska.

Our favourite quote:

“Maybe this is a crazy idea. But the whole tour is really a crazy idea, so why not top it?” (Paul, after explaining that they are about to leave the asphalt street and ride off-road through the Chinese mountains)

Watch the documentary of Paul’s and Hansen’s trip here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8X7XRsJmnE (German only)

 

Heidi Hetzer
(www.heidi-um-die-welt.com)

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Duration: ca. 2 years and 8 months
Distance: ca. 85.000km

When Heidi started her world trip, she was 77 years old. On her way, she met countless surprised faces: a granny who drives around the world, and, on top of that, in a car named “Hudo” that’s even older than her and that? Many news channels in many countries reported about this courageous and humorous woman who crossed their country in a Hudson Great Eight built in 1930.

You can imagine that her trip wasn’t always easy: She had to go back and forth between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan many times to be allowed to enter China, she had to wait for weeks until the Australian immigration service would release her car from quarantine, she lost a finger while taking care of her car while crossing the U.S., she got diagnosed with skin cancer and went back to Berlin for treatment, and, finally, her old-timer broke down a myriad number of times, sometimes even in a desert.

Nevertheless, she made it home in excellent shape after having travelled through 46 countries on five continents. And although she finished her trip at the age of 79, she said: “I’m still not fed up. […] I’m definitely continuing to drive. […] My life – I can only go by car.”

Our favourite quote:

“Every girl can do this – if she wants to. She just has to really want it. It must come from her inside. And if somebody says ‘How can you party all night?’ the next morning… ‘If I want to, if I’m interested, I can do everything.’”

Watch the first part of her trip here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0n_AKPJF_4 (mainly German with some English in between)

 

Daniel Rintz
(www.open-explorers.com)

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Duration: 2 years and 8 months
Distance: n/a

Before Daniel started his trip, his main working environment was the computer, and, according to his own statement, the fact that after hours of work he would have nothing to lay his hands on exhausted him. Thus, he radically changed his occupation to something that was literally more “hands-on” when he decided to ride a motorbike from Germany to New Zealand.

Close to the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, his bike broke down. He somehow managed to get back on track even though “[it] turn[ed] out that BMW bike parts are hard to get in Pakistan and I was down to my last 10 dollars”.

Daniel crossed a total 27 countries. On his way, he met his girlfriend with whom he then continued his adventure. After the end of their trip to New Zealand, they ventured out again, going all the way from Alaska down to the southern tip of South America, then by ship to Cape Town and back to Europe.

Our favourite quote:

“Making the decision was the most difficult part of the whole journey.”

Daniel’s film is called “Somewhere Else Tomorrow”. Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_efe5NdBnpo (English)

 

Michael Wigge
(www.my-challenge-coach.com)

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Duration: 150 days
Distance: 35.000km

Michael grew famous in Germany through various projects: He bartered an apple and the things he got in return until his inventory had enough value that it got him a house in Hawaii. On another occasion, he went on a razor scooter from the very north to the very south of Germany.

We discovered Michael through his project “How To Travel The World For Free”. He started in Berlin with literally not a penny in his pockets, and travelled all the way to Antarctica without using any of his private savings.

How did he manage to cross the Atlantic Ocean for free? He wrote to a bunch of shipping companies, asking them whether they would permit him to travel for free in exchange for work. Every company except for one declined his request to take him on board as a worker or passenger. He gave that one company so many phone calls that they eventually said: “We will let you on board, if you promise to never call us again.” And so they had a deal.

Our favourite quote:

“I never found a guinea pig as appealing as today.” (Hungry Michael, after having received a cooked guinea pig as a free meal in Peru)

Watch the first part of Michael’s adventure here:
https://my-challenge-coach.com/projects/how-to-travel-the-world-for-free (English)

 

Before reading this article, did you think that it would be impossible for you to travel by bike for long distance like Paul and Hansen did? Did you believe that travelling is only for young people? (A belief that we encounter a lot!) And were you then surprised to see Heidi take off in her vintage car to explore what’s out there? Were you hit by a new idea when you heard about Daniel’s motorbike trip? And were you – prior to watching Michael’s experiment – convinced that you could not travel without money?

Which brave idea have they sparked in you?

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