Route Map







A >3-Year-Journey Around the World

(see also: [Am]  Statistics > "More statistical figures" and "More information" and "The Journey's Chronological Sequence" and "Countries" and "Route map")
(see also: [Br]    Statistics > "More statistical figures" and "More information" and "The Journey's Chronological Sequence" and "Countries" and "Route map")

It began with a dream on the part of a Swiss couple, Emil and Liliana Schmid: to have a year free from schedules to explore the world, remote backroads, unique cultures and peoples, and the beauty of nature. The dream grew into an epic reality with the purchase of a Toyota LandCruiser FJ60 in 1982 and the couple's departure in October 1984. Destination: Montreal in Canada.

North and South America    1984-1988

One year soon proved insufficient for traveling throughout North America and Central America, and after two years, 98'000 km/61'000 miles and seven countries, even incidents with guerrillas and bandits could not deter them and their faithful vehicle.

They embarked on a 66'000 km/41'000 miles/10 countries circumnavigation of scenic and challenging South America. From Tierra del Fuego, their two year jaunt carried them through deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, swamps and the Amazon Jungle.

From Africa to "No Worries"    Australia 1989-1992

Their travel bugs still biting, Schmid's continued on to Africa, all 97'000 km/60'000 miles and 34 countries, with challenges from mud-choked roads to 200-meter/600 ft-high sand dunes and rewards like brilliant desert nights under the stars, the awakening jungle at dawn, and the diversity of traditions and customs.

After Africa's excitements, Australia was a welcome vacation as the Schmid's explored the deserted West, the rugged South, the green East, and the hot North, taking advantage of the adventures offered by the Outback tracks (39'000 km/24'000 miles).

Asia and the Middle East    1993-1995

The jump into Asia was a thrilling change: The stunning temples, sandy beaches and deep jungle, along with the kind people are memories of this region.

As they traveled to the Middle East, they were greeted with endless deserts, fascinating architecture, safe passage and deep Arab tradition.

Europe and entering the Guinness Book of Records    1996-1998

After traveling through 100'000 km/62'000 miles and 28 countries in Asia, the Schmid's crossed the Ural Mountains in 1995, returning to Europe. Their travels through this culturally rich continent lasted three years. From Gibraltar to the North Cape of Norway, they traveled through 45 countries and 84'000 km/52'000 miles. It was at the Vatican, the smallest state in the world, when in May 1997 they achieved a triple lead in the Guinness Book of Worldrecords: for the most countries, the most kilometers and the most years in a single car (www.guinnessworldrecords.com). Until now they visited 169 countries, driving >656'000 km/408'000 miles during over 26 years.

Arabia, Far East and Northern America    1999-2000

Europe could not hold the Schmid's any longer. In January 1999, they headed to Arabia for the third time - to the U.A.E. and Oman. This fascinating corner of the world was love at first sight for them already in 1994 and became one of their favorite regions. In Dubai, the speedometer of their LandCruiser reached on 16th March the 500'000th km/=310'690 miles. Mid 1999, they changed from the beauty of the desert of traditional Arabia to a subtropical lush green world: South Korea and Japan.

Their eleven weeks' journey through the hilly islands of Japan presented them with a still untamed nature. They appreciated the exceptional courtesy and friendliness of the people and their very safe passage through this Far East country.

On 9th September 1999, they landed on the North American continent where their epic journey began.
North America, South America and Caribbean Islands    2001-2004
With the goal to explore all 50 US states on the mainland of North America, they headed for the second time through this diverse continent, where the exceptional beauties of nature, the endless open land in the West and the "Indian Summer" in Atlantic Canada kept them for many months. Then, the longing for more exotic places overwhelmed them again. They embarked to the Caribbean Islands of Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico. Those beautiful islands with their great hospitality, contagious joy for life, happy music and palm-fringed beaches made it easy to leave behind fond memories and the desire to return again.

In June 2002, the need for more "pepper in the soup" and "off the beaten track" adventures brought them back to the South American continent after having heard that there would now exist a jungle track connecting Northern Brazil to the three Guyana's, the only countries still missing on the American mainland. These small countries pushed their LandCruiser and themselves to the limits through incredibly muddy tracks and dense rain forest. The beautiful rewards were the cries of howler monkeys, calls of tropical birds, noises of unknown creatures and the luxury tropical vegetation. And not only once they found Jaguar tracks around their solitary camp in the morning.

Still infected by the travel bug and still obsessed by the desire to travel to the most possible of the 193 sovereign and 64 non-sovereign states and territories in the world, they pushed themselves into a new, even more difficult logistical adventure: "Cruising" the whole Caribbean with their LandCruiser. From May 2003 to December 2004, they hopped through these wonderful islands of Trinidad, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Kitts, Sint Maarten, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, fighting against strange laws for the temporary entry of their vehicle, learning to deal with dangers of hurricanes and simply enjoying the turquoise waters, powdery white palm fringed beaches and the multi cultural friendly and happy Caribbean people. In this exotic atmosphere, they were proud to celebrate two more milestones in their epic journey: On July 26th, 2004 they reached their 150th country – the island of Anguilla - which simultaneously became the last of their totally visited 17 Caribbean islands. And shortly after, on October 18th, 2004, the anniversary of being 20 years on the road took place in Saint Martin on the Netherlands-French Antilles. At the end of the year they left this unique beautiful region and returned to Guyana on the South American continent.
South America    2005

In the North of South America, a period of "rejuvenation" should have started for the Schmid's, because the past 20 years definitely demanded its tribute on their Toyota LandCruiser, which is understandable. But unfortunately, this vision has been smashed. Although most of the local Toyota distributors were more than generous when visiting their particular country, wishing their epic journey to continue, now for them it is logistically and also financially a nearly impossible task to upgrade their loyal companion to that level that it would be able to visit also the next '50 countries and 250'000 miles'. The global Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan until now inexplicably denied the support for their world record - although worldwide many Toyota distributors urged them to do so – despite that the vehicle got already fame in the Guinness Book of World Records, proving thus also its achievements regarding quality, reliability and durability which poses for TMC an enormous marketing potential - facts, competitors can only dream of! Why do they show deaf ears to these specialists working at the front?
But the Schmid's did not let them discourage from this knock down. Traveling and their longing for new adventures have become too much part of their life. With a big portion of optimism, they continued their journey from Georgetown/Guyana to French Guiana, where on 7.7.2005 their LandCruiser achieved its 600’000th km/(372'823 miles) in front of the post office in Cayenne. Shortly afterwards, on July 29th, 2005, the trio split up: The LandCruiser went on a two months long sea journey from French Guiana through France to Singapore and the Schmid's followed by air via the US-Hong Kong - Macao. New land was calling!
South East Asia, Far East    2005-2008
The exotic of South East Asia captured the Schmid's from the very first day again. On well known paths, they first crossed Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Then, on December 9th, 2005, they entered new land again: Cambodia, their 151st nation. They loved it at first sight: Angkor Wat, the rural life and especially the broad smiles of the people - everything was so strange, so new, so exciting. It was there where they experienced their first accident on their 21 years journey around the world: On their way to Vietnam,  Ms. Schmid was hit by a Cambodian car on Christmas Day 2005 at the Mekong ferry crossing. Result: Broken leg and a gypsum cast. Despite this handicap, they continued to Vietnam and Laos. And nearly, they made it also to Myanmar. But at the last moment, their visit was hampered by new rules applied from the Burmese authorities. But Myanmar is still on their wish list and not cancelled yet, just postponed. Back in Thailand, a new planning phase started. Because the condition of their LandCruiser deteriorated more and more, and because the possibility of overhauling it in East Malaysia's Sarawak popped up, they sent it without hesitation from Penang to Borneo. During the following three months, the car was taken apart completely, derusted and repaired. It was the first engine overhaul after 381'800 miles of driving. After a test drive through Brunei and Sabah in East Malaysia, the result showed to be enjoyable, allowing the Schmid's to continue confidently for an indefinite time to come. In the meantime, the car's permit to enter Indonesia arrived, thus they entered Kalimantan on November 18th. Indonesia is not only a huge and diverse country, the incredible number of islands require a lot of patience as well as the necessary existence of ferry connections. After they were able to visit nine islands during their first six months, they entered on May 15th, 2007, their 156th country Timor-Leste - a country still unspoiled and that was able to arouse their enthusiasm for one month. The tenth Indonesian island was visited for another two months after their re-entry.
A completely new world opened up at their next destination, Taiwan, although the entry for the car was finally only possible with a lot of luck. The following two months they experienced the hospitality of an exceptional friendly nation, and they enjoyed day by day the authentic Chinese culture and way of life. But soon after the downturn of their "luck for permits" arrived: Although the Schmid's tried for 16 months to get an authorization to visit the Philippines with their car, the failure happened due to a relatively small detail of the Filipino procedure of customs clearance. This was the reason for them to proceed to Hong Kong, their next destination - also considering a possibility of a visit to mainland China. Actually, this would have been possible at a certain price, if the approval process wouldn't have lasted for months. After two months of waiting in the megacity of Hong Kong, they grew tired of the bureaucracy, although the "accumulation of skyscrapers" was still thrilling and the Schmid's spent also Christmas 2007 and New Year's day there.
Oceania (Australia-Pacific)   2008-2010
The idea of the Schmid's to explore afterwards the Pacific islands with their own vehicle - similar to the Caribbean in the years of 2003 and 2004 - slowly began to take shape in Hong Kong. But again, the entrance into their first country in the Pacific - Papua New Guinea - was to be dropped after a long and persistent fight with the red tape. Certainly, also the criminal situation on scene played a major role that they abandoned rather sooner than later their idea. Hence, they shipped the car in February 2008 spontaneously from Hong Kong to New Zealand, their 159th country. During four months they criss-crossed 7'000 miles on the South and North Island and enjoyed the exciting beauties of nature, the emptiness and the relaxed and safe traveling. Then, the penetrating cold of the winter drove them to new horizons deeper into the Pacific, firstly to New Caledonia, afterwards to Vanuatu and Fiji and the Samoa's. Except of New Caledonia being French, the car permits for these independent South Pacific Islands were a huge and time consuming bureaucracy to overcome. But they enjoyed every moment in this relaxed paradises of the South Pacific, every island showing its special culture and way of life. The Samoa's especially captured their hearts. After a 9-days 'car-free' stay in the Cook Islands they reached their dream destination: French Polynesia. There, on Tahiti and Moorea, they spent nearly three months, where they could also celebrate their 25th Anniversary of 'exploring the world'. Their next destination was the Kingdom of Tonga, their 166th country. This tiny South Pacific state became the most critical health test for  Ms. Schmid during her epic journey. Due to a nasty dog bite and the negligent treatment in the hospital she almost lost her leg. Tonga was their last Pacific country for now. They left for South East Asia.
South East Asia, back to Oceania and back again to South East Asia    2010-2011
Back in Indonesia for the third time, they concentrated on the Island of Sumatra. Then, the Pacific was calling again. With much endurance they started their second attempt to visit Papua New Guinea with their own car and succeeded. Adventure and thrill was their constant companion during 1'102 miles/1'774 km. Papua New Guinea became one of their highlights in their 26 years journey around the world. They witnessed the Mount Hagen- and Goroka-Shows and a diversification of cultures and traditions unique in the world. With Papua New Guinea, they left once more the Pacific and returned to Asia. Also in a second attempt, the Philippines followed. During three months they explored six of the 7’107 islands and enjoyed the idyllic fishing villages with its peaceful life.
South Asia    2011
The world of the islands did not let them go yet. From the Philippines they shipped to Sri Lanka, their 169th country. While their car was still on high sea, they took the chance to visit the beautiful nature island of Socotra in Yemen for ten days, followed by a week full of contrasts in Dubai and Sharjah. The following three months were dedicated to the rich historic and Buddhist treasures in former Ceylon where they also experienced the colorful week long celebrations of “Vesak”, combining Buddha’s birth, enlightment and death. On May 26th, it was time to bid farewell to Sri Lanka and on June 22nd, 2011, also to “Australasia” (Australia / Pacific and Asia), where they spent the last six years and roamed 43'000 miles/70'000 km through 19 different new countries. The Indian Ocean and Africa called!
Indian Ocean: Mauritius, Madagascar, Réunion    2011-2012
On June 22nd, 2011, they put foot on African soil for the second time, which they left on November 2nd, 1992, at Cape Town: To the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean that geographically belongs to Africa. While their companion still was braving the high seas, they visited the small peaceful island of Rodrigues, which belongs to Mauritius. Reunited on the main island with their LandCruiser, they criss-crossed the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” during three months and were especially captivated by the many beautiful casuarinas-lined public beaches and the endless sugar cane fields. Madagascar – a long cherished dream – was only an hour's flight away. After a time consuming bureaucratic struggle they got at last the go-ahead for a temporary admission of their LandCruiser into the 4th biggest island of the world, separated 80 millions years ago from the African mainland. The 9 days lasting difficult clearing bureaucracy of their vehicle and Liliana's pneumonia on her 70th birthday were soon forgotten. The laid-back nature, the colorful African way of life, people's life-affirming attitude, the picture book villages in the highlands, the artful rice terraces, the Baobab giants and over all the cute Lemurs were constant highlights. They savored their three months' stay to the very last day, driving during 148 driving hours 2'700 miles on Madagascar's sometimes difficult roads. Then a new horizon called – the French volcanic island of Réunion – Europe! What a different and more modern world, fascinating in another way: The stunning mountain scenery, the deep canyons and the volcanic moon landscape provoked "wow"-experiences at every turn. Here, they celebrated also three distinctive milestones: Emil's 70th birthday on February 24th 2012, the 10'000th travel day of their epic journey on March 3rd, 2012, and the Landcruiser's 25th container shipment on May 31, 2012. And it was also here that they decided to "rejuvenate" their car for the second time in Sarawak on the island of Borneo.
South East Asia    2012
After the longest LandCruiser’s sea-journey of 53 days, they were reunited on the island of Borneo on July 26th, 2012, – five days after its 30th birthday on high sea, which it had to celebrate lonely in its cage. It is marking also its entry into the old-timer age. There, in Miri/Sarawak, a new challenge was waiting for them: The 2nd rejuvenation of their car. With 67 days, the work has taken longer than expected. Thus, for climatically reasons, they had to cancel their next leg to still unknown regions in neighboring Indonesia. However they were very happy to see their “freedom machine” rejuvenated and in full brightness again exactly at their 28th travel anniversary on October 16th, 2012. It was the day their LandCruiser started its epic journey 1984 in its 1st container from Switzerland to Montreal in Canada. Now they were ready for new adventures. After the many years in the tropics, the Schmid’s were longing for desert sceneries again. Therefore, on October 25th, 2012, they shipped their loyal companion in its 26th container to the port of Jebel Ali near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula – a region still belonging to one of their most treasured parts of the world.
Middle East    2012-2013
On November 20th, 2012, the Schmid’s and their car set foot in the Middle East for the fourth time. They experienced the same overwhelming hospitality as already in 1994, 1996 and 1999. Punctually, on November 22nd, also their rejuvenated LandCruiser accomplished its 278th sea journey in Dubai’s port of Jebel Ali. Together they discovered once more Dubai the city of superlatives, of the tallest tower and the biggest artificial islands. However, first and foremost the Schmid’s were longing for the desert. They found their special place around the Liwa Oases at the edge of the Rub-al-Khali desert. The magic of the dunes with freely roaming camels and its untouched nature were a deep experience for the nature and solitude loving Schmid’s. It was also between red sand dunes that they celebrated Christmas 2012 under the starry canopy of the Arabian Desert together with Indian friends.
Unexpected fame achieved the Schmid's and their LandCruiser on December 27th, 2012, at the 1st Traveler’s Festival in Dubai when the Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, presented them a personal award. At the farewell dinner at a desert camp  Ms. Schmid contracted pneumonia confining her to a hotel bed during New Year’s celebration 2012/2013.
With five sponsored new petrol pumps, a new spring leaf and two new shock absorbers for their LandCruiser, the Schmid’s continued on January 28th, 2013, from the United Arab Emirates to the Omani Exclave of Musandam. It was uncharted waters for them. During one week they enjoyed the fjords and the spectacular rugged mountain scenery. Then, on February 5th, 2013, a high speed ferry took them from Musandam’s capital Khasab to Shinas in Oman proper. For the Schmid’s, it was their 230th sea journey; for their LandCruiser its 279th. It was in Muscat – Oman’s capital – that there was a happy reunion after 15 years with their best Swiss friends.
Oman kept them on the go for two months. The peaceful Arab life, the deep tradition, the ruggedness of the landscape combined with safety spurred their camping life. For 3’700 miles they cruised around coasts, wadis and desert down to the Yemeni border. Already on their first visit in 1994 Oman was “love at first sight”. Almost 20 years later, their feelings for the Sultanate still remained unchanged.
On February 2013 it was climatically time for the Schmid's to leave their beloved Arabia. New itineraries had to be made. They chose the Caucasus, reachable through Iran and Turkey. After 3’100 miles in the UAE, they took on April 28th, 2013, the ferry from the Emirate of Sharjah to Bandar Abbas in It was their 3rd visit to Iran. They enjoyed once more on old and new tracks during 2’100 miles the Islamic architecture and the legendary hospitality. On May 28th, 2013, they reached the Turkish border at Esendere. Since a very long time they experienced not only the retreat of a winter season, but also the awakening of a spring. It was a special joy for them to see all the splendor of the blooming wild flowers. There, they dropped their plan to visit also Iraqi Kurdistan from the Turkish side for the moment, due to the highly strung Turkish military checkpoints along the border. Instead they drove straight northwards through mostly unknown Eastern Anatolia. After another 600 miles they reached Georgia.
Caucasus    2013
Georgia, their 173rd country, welcomed the Schmid's on June 4th, 2013. It was a new world with orthodox churches, monasteries and rock caves, with rather reserved people, a strange language and a strange script. They explored the hidden gems of monasteries, but were especially attracted by the stunning, wild and mysterious mountain region of "Swaneti". There, on August 1st, 2013, they celebrated their 28th National Day far from home among fireflies and glow worms. But there was also a less happy moment when after three years  Ms. Schmid`s Laptop unexpectedly crashed.
Azerbaijan followed. Along the Great Caucasus they found sleepy mountain villages and beautiful scenery. They explored also Baku, the capital, and the lovely restored town of Säki. The more than 1'000 miles of mostly bad roads took its toll on the 12th and last day of their visit: They left their 174th country with a broken main spring leaf.
The 175th country of the Schmid`s became Armenia, the poorest of the Caucasus states that before 1991 still was a Soviet Republic. They entered it on July 2nd, 2013. Once more the script and language changed and the communication was by sign language only. They could not stop marvel at the many ancient churches and monasteries with their stunning reliefs, many built on dramatic locations and belonging to the UNESCO world heritage sites. The friendliness of the people added to their enjoyment. There was a big downside though: The miserable road conditions with which they had to cope for 800 miles.
It would not be the Schmid`s if they were not including also the two renegade and from the International Community not recognized states lying at their doorsteps: Nagorno Karabakh (ex Azerbaijan) and Abkhazia (ex Georgia). The third self-declared country of South Ossetia was out of their reach from Georgia due to the very expensive and complicated double-entry visa from Russia. Nagorno Karabakh that neither introduced own car license plates nor own money (both annexed from Armenia) surprised them with its cleanliness and peaceful way of life, with treasures of monasteries and a 2000 year old plane tree. Depressing however were the traces of the war fought with neighboring Azerbaijan along the later agreed ceasefire line. For many miles they saw nothing else than bombarded and destroyed villages. Their LandCruiser suffered damage also in this country: The rear shaft had to be replaced.
On August 5th, 2013, the Schmid`s entered Abkhazia (ex Georgia). This self-proclaimed country was ill-fated for them. First, they got stuck in the capital Sukhumi due to the LandCruiser`s worn out ignition coil. Then for the first time in their almost 29 year's journey around the world, in an unattended moment the camera bag with their two Panasonic cameras and their passports were stolen from inside their car. Luckily, the passports showed up again, not so their cameras with the shots. What saddened them the most was the lost photo of the 700`000.0th km that they could celebrate on August 9th, in this country. Despite of this negative experience they speak positive of Abkhazia. They were taken by the great friendliness of the people and the different attentions extended to them. Hadn't they be lulled into a false security feeling, the theft wouldn't had happened, they argued.
Back in Georgia, on August 14th, 2013, they boarded in Poti the "Vilnius Seaways" ferry to the Ukraine, but not before buying a temporary Nikon replacement camera. During two days, they enjoyed the quiet water of the Black Sea, a comfortable cabin and good food on the "longest railway ferry" that - like the Schmid`s - made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
East Europe: Ukraine Moldova    2013
Entering the Ukraine, the Schmid`s set geographically for the first time foot again on European soil since January 28th, 1999. They were charmed with the historic forts, golden-domed Russian churches and their splendid interiors. In rural dominated Moldova, the second "European" country, there was a script they could finally read again. But it could not really convince them. Bordering Transnistria (ex Moldova), the next self-proclaimed country on their way, was more to their taste: Little traffic, wide tree-lined avenues, huge parks, monumental squares - the Soviet touch was evident everywhere. After three days, they complied with the registration rules and stayed ten. Soon local TV picked them up: Once more their LandCruiser drew attention. On September 4th, 2013, they returned to the Ukraine via Moldova. The border crossing Moldova-Ukraine became their 500th!
After 35 days and 618 miles, cold and rain in the Ukraine chased the Schmid`s already away from Europe. They gave a miss to the still unvisited countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Turkish North Cyprus. In the port of Odessa, on September 20th, 2013, they put their LandCruiser into its 27th container to Cape Verde - the starting point of their second Africa adventure. With a two weeks stopover in the United Arab Emirates where they bought new cameras replacing those stolen in Abkhazia, a new laptop for the one crashed in Georgia and Toyota spare parts for their LandCruiser they continued via Morocco to Praia, the capital of the Cape Verde archipelago on the island of Santiago.
West and Southern Africa   2013-2014
On October 26th, 2013, the freighter with their container on board arrived on time in Cape Verde. Their 180th country however tried the Schmid’s patience sorely. For 25 days they hovered between hope and fear. Often they were on the edge of despair because they never knew if they will succeed to have their LandCruiser released from the port. But November 21st, was the day: Finally their “freedom machine” could leave the port and they were free to explore the archipelago. They criss-crossed the main island of Santiago on its cobbled roads, visited the palm-lined beaches in the North, the mountain scenery in the interior and the colourful markets. Day by day they loved the easy going island life, the cheerfulness of the people and the African lifestyle more.
The neighbour island Fogo was the Schmid’s next destination. New scenery was waiting for them. For days they strolled around the perfectly formed volcano, along the high crater walls and between bizarre lava formations. After ten days they took on the stormy Atlantic and set foot on Brava, the third, smallest and westernmost of the southern islands (Leeward Islands – Ilhas de Sotavento). It was December 23rd, 2013. They encountered a still ideal world. There were neither parking meters nor traffic lights, however dreamy bays and picture book villages. Amidst this relaxing setting they celebrated Christmas 2013.
Back on the main island of Santiago the Schmid’s were looking desperately for a way to reach the Northern Islands (Windward Islands – Ilhas de Barlavento). Despite the warning to get eventually stuck for weeks on the island of São Nicolau due to the lack of transport, they seized on February 28th, 2014, their first possibility. They were greeted by the Mayor of the little port city of Tarrafal and were two nights guests of his Municipality. Their 4th island was “love at first sight”. The vastness and virgin landscape, the deserted wild shorelines, the quaint mountain villages – much remembered them of the Sultanate of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula. On this island they experienced also their third overwhelming carnival on their epic journey (apart from Guyana and Grenada in the Caribbean).
Two weeks after their arrival on São Nicolau good luck was with the Schmid’s when unexpectedly and unscheduled a freighter-ferry appeared that took them to their 5th island of São Vicente. They were charmed by the “Riviera of Cape Verde”, its colonial buildings and picturesque alleys. Although São Vicente is the eight smallest of all the 10 Cape Verdian Islands, it offered them once more authentic fishing villages, deserted bays and rugged mountains, but also a dramatic uninhabited eastern coastline with white sand dunes. It was also the place where their LandCruiser left Cape Verde in its 28th container after 159 days, 1’184 miles and 109.4 driving hours with destination Namibia.
The 6th, 2nd biggest and last Capeverdian island of the Schmid’s was Santo Antão. The most dramatic mountain scenery, the artful terraced steep slopes and the narrow valleys surprised them at every turn. They immersed for two weeks into this fabulous mountainous landscape. Santo Antão was the “highlight” of their 7-months’ car journey through the Cape Verde archipelago, which they left on May 15th, 2014, after exactly 220 days.
On July 16th, after 22 years, the Schmid’s set foot on the African continent with their car for the second time, which they crossed at that time from North (Tanger in Morocco) to South (Cape Town in South Africa) in four years (=1'388 days) and 63’000 miles, and which they left on November 2nd, 1992, on a freighter to Fremantle in Australia. After an odyssey of 80 days their LandCruiser arrived finally from the Cape Verde islands at the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. Together they were ready for new adventures. Angola, their 181st country, was their first new destination. They liked the little-touristy country right away. They enjoyed the nativeness and the still genuine friendliness of the people.
Angola was also the country where on October 16th, 2014, the Schmid’s were ready to celebrate another milestone of their epic journey: Their 30th anniversary on the road. However, there was nothing to celebrate on that special day. The loss of a wheel – due to a broken shaft – on the eve of their anniversary that made them almost somersault and the following repair along the road on the anniversary day itself left no room for enjoyment. But they were thankful that they survived and were able to continue their “epic” journey. After a small belated celebration with new friends the Schmid’s left Angola after 26 days and 2’317 miles and returned to Namibia.
Back in Namibia another incident occurred: Ms. Schmid sustained an injury on her back (sacroiliac joint dislocated) that first had to be cured before thinking of new adventures. Thus it happened that they celebrated Christmas 2014 on a campground in Namibia at 100°F [38°C] under a deep blue sky and also heralded there the start of the New Year 2015.
Southern and East Africa    2015-2016
Beginning of 2015 Ms. Schmid was fit again and the wheels of their LandCruiser restarted rolling. On January 22th, 2015, South Africa welcomed the Schmid’s at Vioolsdrif for the eighth time with a temperature of 104°F [40°C]. Their previous seven entries took place between November 3rd, 1991, and November 2nd, 1992. It was not a good eighth beginning. After only 2’312 miles [3’720km], respectively 93.2 driving hours since the loss of a wheel in Angola at the eve of their 30th anniversary on the road, it happened anew on January 24th, 2015, on the way to the Cederberg Mountains. They got stuck in the middle of the road; their last spare shaft was built in. From that moment an enormous psychological stress began for the Schmid’s, because they never knew when the third time strikes. At this very difficult time the “LandCruiser Club Southern Africa” came as a ‘knight in shining armor’ to their rescue. It donated them a complete used axle housing, repaired the heavily dented fender and took over all the workshop costs in Capetown. The Schmid’s contributed four new shock absorbers and the repair of a front leaf spring. On February 23rd, 2015, their LandCruiser was in good shape again.
With renewed confidence in their loyal buddy, the Schmid’s continued their “easy going” journey in South Africa. They reached the most southerly point, Cape Agulhas, on February 28th, 2015, – the first time was on March 5th, 1992. Coincidentally they camped on the same site in Struisbaai. The 8’394 nights in between have been spent on 2’305 other places. Afterwards they crisscrossed the country towards the north. What they most enjoyed were their safaris in the game parks, the endless steppes and the landscape around the Drakensberg. Equipped with four new tires, on April 7th, 2015, the Schmid’s arrived at the border of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which they visited for the first time on October 5th, 1992, by then their country No. 56 on their epic journey. Despite of new tarmac roads they still found the traditional life with donkeys and horses being the main means of transport and herdsmen moving with their sheep and cattle. Under a striking blue sky, their LandCruiser climbed mountain passes of nearly 10’000 feet altitude [~3’000 meters), nine alone within 200 miles [320km]. Splendid mountain scenery, gorges, waterfalls, dams and traditional villages were their constant companions. On April 15th, after 8 days, 488 miles [786km] and 550 photos they left the kingdom for the ninth visit of South Africa.
The approaching winter in the South forced the Schmid’s to accelerate their move to the north. Therefore already on April 23rd, they entered the Kingdom of Swaziland. It was their second visit, their first being on September 12th, 1992, by then country No. 55. Their most exciting moment was at the “Hlane National Park” in the northeast when at the Ndlovu pond they spotted eleven (!) rhinos at once. Swaziland ended for the Schmid’s on April 28th, 2015, at Jeppe’s Reef after 228 miles [367km] and 300 photos.
Once more and for the last time (10th), the Schmid’s drove into South Africa. There, at Haenertsburg near Polokwane, the regulator that they bought on May 1st, 1989, in Biskra/Algeria stopped its function after 9'508 days, 325’626 miles [524'044km] and 15'225.6 driving hours. After they finally found a new working one, they ventured to ford the Limpopo border river at Pontdrift over to Botswana. It was still carrying considerable water. 4x4 pistes lead through the unfenced northern game reserve of Tuli with many wild animal spottings. A surprise of a special kind waited for the Schmid’s in Francistown. After 13 years they met their world traveler friends Gisela and Eddi from Germany again. Then, the Schmid’s were craving for adventure again. They found their 4x4 challenge in the sandy and rocky bush track to Kubu Island with its spectacular Baobab trees, rising from a dried-out salt sea (the trees cannot be compared with the Madagaskar Baobabs!). It was the highlight of their 704 miles [1'133km] / 33½ driving hour journey in Botswana, which ended at Ramokgwebane on June 8th, 2015.
Due to the political situation, the Schmid’s entered Zimbabwe with mixed feelings. After the many desert landscapes, the lush green and the floral splendor were a wonderful change for them. They liked the city of Bulawayo so much that they stayed two weeks. They enjoyed the luxury supply of goods at supermarkets, found two spare rims for their LandCruiser and made the annual update for the Guinness Book 2016. This time, the Schmid’s concentrated on Zimbabwe’s east: Nyanga, Vumba and the Chimanimani mountains. However it did not grab them. Many tourist installations were not functioning anymore. The more they were fond of the peaceful people. Even the 31 police checks that stopped them were friendly and only out for a chat. Not one was looking to get some additional income. Zimbabwe ended for the Schmid’s with a relaxing five days at the farm of their traveler fellow Bettina in Marondera, who they met in 1991 in Harare during their first Africa crossing. On July 6th, 2015, they left Robert Mugabe’s territory after 28 days / 893 miles [1’437km] and 41½ driving hours.
On July 6th, 2015, the Schmid’s entered Mozambique at Espungabeira. It was new land – the first since Angola, 9 months ago – and became their 182th country on their epic world journey. From the beginning, their enthusiasm for this nation was somehow limited the more that they skipped the main attraction, the palm-lined beaches in the South. However they took pleasure in the traditional African villages that spread everywhere and the Cahora Bassa Dam – one of the big reservoirs in the world – where they camped among gigantic Baobab trees. A special experience for the Schmid’s was the encounter with a migrated Swiss family, Monika and Christoph, who in seven hard-working years succeeded step by step to transform pure bush into a prosperous fruit and cattle farm and build a neat mansion. A campsite is also attached (turnoff: S 18°05’07” E 33°11’06”). Mozambique remained however a country where the Schmid’s could not really warm up. Therefore on July 20th, 2015, after only 14 days / 836 miles [1’346km] and 36½ driving hours they already reached the border to Malawi in Dedza.
In Malawi, country No. 50 on the Schmid’s first visit in 1991, they were amazed by the many bicycle taxis – a novelty for them. They found romantic corners with white sandy beaches along Lake Malawi, watched the fishermen sailing with their colorful boats to their fishing grounds and enjoyed the wonderful sunsets. They felt at ease and were happy until that fateful July 31st, 2015, at the camping of the Safari Beach Lodge near Nkhotakota. For the first time in their over 30 years epic journey they looked into two gun barrels pointed at them when the bandits surprised them in their sleep at midnight. With a crowbar they destroyed their window grills and broke the windows. The shot that they fired into the car miraculously only grazed Mr. Schmid’s forearm. When leaving their car, they managed surprisingly to escape. The Schmid’s felt very lucky that things did not turn out worse: They were alive! This traumatic event and the psychological stress however did not deter them from continuing their travels. After some emergency repair on their LandCruiser they proceeded with their adventure along Lake Malawi. On September 6th, 2015, they left the country after 751 miles [1’209km] / 38.4 driving hours for Tanzania.
Tanzania was more or less a transit country for the Schmid’s. Having visited the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater National Parks already in 1991 - by then country No. 46 - another safari was out of question for them due to the astronomical entry fees for foreigners. What they enjoyed were the tropical scenery with lush tea and banana plantations right after their border crossing at Mmwandenga, the lovely Baobab forest near Mikumi, the cuisine of the Tan-Swiss Camp nearby and the region around the Usambara Mountains (Lushoto). What they didn’t like were the awful road conditions between Mbeya and Iringa with heavy truck traffic between Dar es Salaam and Zambia, the notorious speed controls before and after each village with zero tolerance limit, the reckless bus drivers, the countless annoying humps and the frequent all-day power cuts. Therefore they did not make use of their visa until the last day, but left the country already after 20 days, 1’085 miles [1’746km] and 51 driving hours at the Namanga border for Kenya.
Following the new regulations starting September 1st, 2015, the Schmid’s entered Kenya on September 7th, 2015, with an E-Visa (was only temporarily working). They were surprised by the almost inexistent police controls, but bugged by the myriads of humps and rumble strips. Once in Kenya’s capital Nairobi a bureaucratic steeplechase began. They had to apply for the Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan visa. Ethiopia was the most difficult as one has to apply in the country of residence. Exceptionally the Schmid’s however got it in Nairobi as they were regarded as “Nobles” due to their Guinness Book Record. Nairobi was also the place where Ms. Schmid’s bad hearing was treated, where the broken spring leafs from Tanzania were replaced and where their LandCruiser got a new battery. But Nairobi was also the place where Ms. Schmid got bitten the second time by a dog – the first time with quite some complications was on December 14th, 2009, in Tonga. An infection of the wounds delayed their onward journey to Ethiopia, their 183rd country.
On October 21st, 2015, Ms. Schmid was fit again for their onward journey to Ethiopia. In Nanyuki the Schmid’s crossed the equator for the 24th time by road. With it, they left the southern hemisphere where they roamed around since July 1st, 2014. On October 25th, they entered Ethiopia. It was the 516th border crossing in their 31 years of traveling and their 183rd country where they changed for the 25th time from the left hand side to the right hand side to drive on the road. Although the Schmid’s were aware of the hassles in Ethiopia, it hit them hard: Children throwing stones if they did not stop, constant begging and being constantly surrounded by a crowd dampened very soon their enthusiasm for this otherwise beautiful country. Despite of that, they were determined to visit the main attractions. They liked Harar in eastern Ethiopia with its historic fortified old city and its Arab atmosphere at first sight. Despite of being only about 60 miles [100km] short of the self-proclaimed new state of Somaliland, which expensive visa they obtained in Nairobi, they renounced to this new country due to the English travel advisories warning of attacks against Westerners and kidnappings by the terror group “al-Shabaab”. In the capital Addis Ababa the Schmid’s had to renew their already expired Djibouti visa. Here they also gave an interview for a 13-minute "You Tube"-video. Then it was time for their sidetrip to  Djibouti.
In Djibouti, their 184th country, the Schmid’s found all the amenities they missed in Ethiopia: Gasoline was available everywhere, water was flowing from the tap, electricity was rarely cut and the supply of European goods was working. They even found a “Leader Price” – a French supermarket! They were very fond of the turquoise “Le Goubet” Bay with its black volcanic islands and the salty Lake Assal, lying 509 ft. [155m] below sea level, marking the lowest point in Africa. Themselves a kind of “nomads”, the Schmid’s admired the Afar tribe, which put up their tents in the inhospitable region around Djibouti. After 9 days, they returned to Ethiopia. There they were fascinated by the 1’000 years old architectural wonder of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lalibela was their climax of Ethiopia, the country with its own calendar, its own time, an own script and 80 languages. They left the country on December 9th, 2015, at the border post of Metama where they crossed into Sudan.
Sudan was again a new territory for the Schmid’s. It was their 185th country, where they felt at ease immediately. The desert offered them solitude and the setting they like; the people were friendly, but reluctant. They visited the ruins of ancient Kingdoms and the Pyramids of the Royal Cemetery of Meroë and bush camped between red sand dunes. In Khartoum, at the confluence of the Blue and the White Nile, they celebrated Christmas 2015 and in the Nubian Desert, they celebrated New Year 2016. It was on January 8th, 2016, in the port city of Suakin at the Red Sea, where the Schmid’s said good-bye to Sudan after 30 days and 1’085 miles [1’746km], and likewise also to their second Africa journey, where their LandCruiser carried them 19’330 miles [31’109km] through 15 countries. Equipped with a 3-days transit visa from the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum, on January 8th, 2016, they boarded the ferry to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and transited the approx. 930 miles [1’500km] to the Saudi Arabian - United Arab Emirates border.
Middle East    2016
With the entry into the United Arab Emirates, the Schmid’s set foot for the 5th time in one of their favorite regions. After only a few days however, they caught a nasty flu, which paralyzed them for quite some time. They recovered in an affordable Apartment Hotel in the Emirate of Ajman, met old and new friends, organized the visas for Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and applied for their 11th passport at the Swiss Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Shortly before leaving the UAE, they received their new certificate from the ‘Guinness Book of Records’ office in Dubai, updated by March 14th, 2016, stating 449'780 miles [723’852km] through 185 countries.
On April 10th, 2016, the Schmid’s left the Arabian Peninsula and crossed the Persian Golf once more by ferry from the UAE to Iran. It was already their 4th visit to Iran, but this time only meant for crossing to Central Asia. They were surprised by the big numbers of European tour groups that arrived shortly after the end of the boycott and were glad to have explored all the glorious cities and attractions in quieter times. But there were still some sights around Kerman they wanted to see: The “Kaluts” sandcastles in the Dasht-e-Loot Desert, the Bagh-e-Shahzde Gardens in Mahan and the Arg-e-Rayen Adobe citadel in Rayen. Then a nerve-racking time started for the Schmid’s, waiting for their Turkmenistan transit visa to be granted. During an entire week, they phoned day by day with the Turkmenistan Consul in Abu Dhabi, where they applied for the visas on April 6th. When they almost gave up hope, on May 1st, the miracle occurred. Immediately they hit the road to the Iranian border town of Mashhad. The impressive ‘Imam Reza Shrine Complex’ in Mashhad with its golden towers, domes and minarets were the culmination of their 2016 journey to Iran.
Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine    2016
Punctually at the start of their 5-day-transit-visa, the Schmid’s entered Turkmenistan on May 5th, 2016. It was their second visit after 1995. The capital Ashgabat greeted them with an incredible splendor of marble and glass palaces, golden statues, more fountains than Las Vegas and manicured parks. They called it “The white city of marble and gold”. What they did not like were the prohibition of taking pictures and the large police presence. The limited transit visa forced them to carry on. Most of the following 400 miles [650km] through the Karakum Desert were a real grind for their LandCruiser. Deep holes, tar break offs and bumps prevented it to drive more than 12 to 20 miles/h [20-30km/h]. Unforgettable was their camping night at the “Darvaza Gas Crater” in the desert. Its unique play of bursting flames and the glowing crater rim in the pitch dark night were the perfect backdrop for the Schmid’s 47th wedding day.
Uzbekistan was next for the Schmid’s. The hassle with the Uzbek customs at the borders of Dashoguz and Oybeck was a nightmare. But once in the country itself, the Schmid’s relaxed. Life was easy-going, people were friendly and they found themselves in the heart of the legendary Silk Road. Despite of being their 2nd visit to Uzbekistan, they were again rapt with the beauty of the jewels of the medieval cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand with their beautifully tiled madrassas, mosques, and mausoleums.
On Mai 31st, 2016, the Schmid’s entered Tajikistan. It was new territory and their 186th country. Since Sudan, their last new country, the Schmid’s traveled 174 days, 218 driving hours and 5’763 miles [9’274km] through six different states and have changed from the African to the Asian continent. Tajikistan greeted them with a breathtaking mountain scenery, with peaks up to 24’590 ft. [7’495m] height and spring in full bloom. Tajikistan became a country of extremes for them. They made detours to the ‘7 Lakes’ and camped at beautiful Iskanderkul Lake in the Fann Mountains in the northern province of Sughd. The biggest challenge, however, was the nearly 600 miles [1’000km] long legendary Pamir Highway in the autonomous province of “Badakhshan”. There, the Schmid’s had to cope with extremely bad roads, an overheating problem of their 34 years old LandCruiser and constant worries of acute mountain sickness at altitudes over 15’000 ft. [4’600m]. But all survived it all and were rewarded along the Panj River with gorges, a harsh and wild landscape and views to hidden little oases on the Afghanistan side. Later, on the high mountain ranges, new snow-covered mountain peaks and glaciers surprised them around every corner. With a 13 days expired car permit, which generally is issued only for 14 days, they reached the Kyzyl-Art border crossing to Kyrgyzstan at 14’320 ft. [4’366m] altitude. No argument, no fine – thus the Schmid’s left the Pamir Highway and Tajikistan itself on June 27th, 2016, after totally 1’141 miles [1’837km] and 81 driving hours with a sense of sadness, knowing that this mountainous country became one of their favorite places during their nearly 32-years epic journey around the world.
Kyrgyzstan, after 1995 like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan before a second visit for the Schmid’s, brought them first from Sary-Tash in the south over the 11’860 ft. [3’615m] high Taldyk Pass and lush green valleys with white yurts, herds of sheep and horses of the nomadic people to the city of Osh, where, due to the ongoing overheating of their LandCruiser, they let clean its carburetor and radiator by a Swiss workshop. The continuation of their 375 miles [600km] long journey to the capital Bishkek was pure joy. They crossed bizarre canyons and reservoirs embedded into bleak mountains and camped among flower bushes under sparkling night skies. Lake Toktogul was a special place for the Schmid’s: There, they camped in 1995 at a lonely little bay. They found the path to the lake shore again, but it was impassable. Kyrgyzstan’s mountain scenery continued to delight them. They climbed up to the 10’446 ft. [3’184m] high Ala-Bel Pass and the 1.6 miles [2.6km] long Too Schuu Tunnel on an altitude of 10’500 ft. [3’200m], used also by a herd of horses to reach the other tunnel side.
Reaching the capital Bishkek, the Schmid’s were confronted with new challenges: Flying in spare parts from the USA and the Russian visa. The very first time in their traveling history they had to send their passports by courier to Switzerland. Thus, their Russian visa became the most time-consuming and most expensive entry permit ever: US$500 pp for 3 months/2 entries. They exited this mountainous Central Asian country to Kazakhstan on August 9th, 2016, with their brand new 11th passport, which they could collect at their Consulate in Bishkek.
The merely 15 days visa-free stay in Kazakhstan did not allow big movements for the Schmid’s. But things went smoothly (with the exception of the occasional occurring engine problem). In Almaty, the former Kazakh capital, they got the Mongolian visa within ten minutes. That left them enough time for a detour to the Charyn Canyon. The play of colors and shadows at sunset and sunrise, the cute ground squirrels and the encounter with same-minded travelers were the highlights for the Schmid’s before they tackled the 870 miles [1’400km] long marathon of nasty roads towards the Russian Shemonaika/Mikhaylovka border. As a welcomed change from the monotonous steppe they cherished the monumental cemeteries and the city of Oskemen (formerly Ust-Kamenogorsk) with its striking two mosques, its lovely Christ-Orthodox church and relaxing river promenade. Their short visit to Kazakhstan ended on August 21st, 2016 with a flat tire on the customs premises, their 185th on their epic journey.
Entering Russia the Schmid’s realized that the country had not changed much since their first visit from September 1st to 27th, 1995, at least in Siberia. Again they drove past huge wheat and sunflower fields, almost endless open uninhabited spaces, dense forests, pristine lakes, authentic rural villages with its lovely wooden houses and striking churches. There was just one thing they did not like: The side roads they took were partly in a pretty bad shape. Yet they still made a side tour from Gorno-Altaysk to the much praised Lake Teletskoe. On their way back the front pillars of their LandCruiser broke and had to be welded provisionally in Gorno-Altaysk. But this was not all: Later, on the “Chuysky Tract”, the 325 miles [525km] long highway to Mongolia, a wobbling of 4 to 6 inches [10-15cm] of the right front wheel forced them to return once more to Gorno-Altaysk, the capital of the Altai Republic.
From this moment things became difficult for the Schmid’s. Their biggest problem was the insurmountable language barrier. All attempts to find a willing workshop to do the repair failed. Self do, self have! Mr. Schmid dismantled the front axle himself and ordered new knuckle bearings at Toyota Russia in Moscow. Two weeks later, they were on the road again and tackled the 345 miles [550km] along the beautiful Altai-Region towards Mongolia, their 187th country. There, the rumors regarding a recently newly introduced deposit for cars older than 10 years got confirmed. This new law, together with already freezing winter temperatures and their currently too weakened LandCruiser for the bone-jarring corrugated Mongolian tracks, made them heavy-heartedly turn back. They needed to make a new assessment. After careful consideration, they decided to grant their LandCruiser a 3rd rejuvenation at the same place as the previous two in 2006 and 2012 in Miri in Sarawak/East-Malaysia. They chose Odessa in the Ukraine as a shipping port, because freight costs were cheaper from there than from Vladivostok, while the road distances to the ports were more or less alike.
Until there still an arduous journey was laying ahead of the world travelers: 3'100 miles [5'000km] through the approaching Siberian winter. Snow storms, freezing temperatures, leaking doors with icy winds constantly blowing inside and a little effective heater were life of hardship, the Schmid’s had to cope with every day. After 1'334 miles [2'147km] and 7 days tough time, on October 27th, 2016, they reached the Urenga Pass and crossed the Ural for the second time on their journey around the world. The first time was on July 2nd, 1995. Only 178 miles [286km] on European soil, in the city of Ufa, the differential crashed. Luck had it that since December 11th, 2006, they carried along a used one from Jakarta in Indonesia during 80'683 miles [129'846km], which fitted and which the Toyota workshop in Ufa replaced in record time. Always under the pressure of their expiring visa, they had to cope with 1'100 miles [<1'800km] more wintry roads to reach in 8 days the Ukrainean border. They made it! On their last day, on November 11th, at 11am, they crossed into the Ukraine at the Krupets/Kyaterinivka border post after having driven 3'391 miles [6'423km] on Russian roads.
In the Ukraine special surprises were waiting for the Schmid”s. Members of the "Offroadmaster 4x4 Club” spoilt them with gifts and invitations and the BSA agency, the representative of the Evergreen Shipping Line, smoothend the way for a "relaxed" shipment. It was their second shipment from this port. On September 22nd, 2013, their destination was then the Cape Verde Islands. On December 1st, 2016, they said good-bye to their LandCruiser that startet its sea journey in its 29th container to Bintulu in Malaysian Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Thereafter the Schmid’s wanted just one thing: To escape the cold! On December 10th, within 24 hours they landed from -7° in the Ukraine at 31° in Bangkok in Thailand. They flew firstly with FlyDubai to Dubai, where they could continue on an Airbus A380 of Emirates. Three days later they received the bad news, that their container would be delayed for one month due to a harbor strike in Piraeus/Greece. They decided to use this time to explore Myanmar as backpackers.
South East Asia   2017-2018
In Myanmar, the land of the thousand pagodas, the wealth of stunning sites kept fascinating the Schmid’s at every turn. They celebrated the New Year 2017 within the golden towers of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (Rangoon) and crisscrossed former Burma by overland- and mini-busses, shared taxis, by truck, trains, boat and plane. Together with thousands of pilgrims, they visited the “Golden Rock” – an important Buddhist temple. They explored the rich cultural sites of Bago and experienced the fishermen's life at serene Inle Lake, crossed by train the spectacular Gotaik viaduct (335 ft. high) [102m], explored Mandalay with its longest pedestrian teak bridge (3'967 ft.) [1'209m] and Bagan, the town of over 2’200 pagodas. But what the Schmid’s enjoyed most was their 14 hours nostalgic boat trip down the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan on the not touristy government vessel. It recalled their 21 days' adventure in March 1991 on the River Congo in Africa (then Zaire - today DR Congo) and their river trip from Manaus to Porto Velho in the Amazon basin in Brazil in March 1988. On January 22nd, after 28 days, the Schmid’s left Myanmar with 2'000 photos and a beautiful experience richer.
It was January 26th, 2017, at the port of Bintulu in Sarawak/East Malaysia, when the Schmid’s met their LandCruiser again after its 56 days’ sea journey from Odessa in the Ukraine. Its 3rd overhaul in 125 miles [200km] distant Miri started on February 6th, 2017, like the ones in 2006 and 2012. The purpose among other stuff was to fix the only temporarily repaired windows, doors and grilles damaged by the armed robbery in Malawi in 2015, to weld and reinforce the front pillars which broke in 2016 in Tajikistan and Russia, and to eliminate rust that arose since the last overhaul. But the Schmid’s also decided to replace preventively some parts in the gearbox, transmission and differentials and to check their “problem child”, the drive shafts, by which they hope to be able to continue their epic world journey more trouble-free.
At the almost unbearable tropical heat it became a work-intensive time for the Schmid’s: Unpacking, sorting out, cleaning and repacking the whole content of their LandCruiser, doing more than 70 errands to Toyota car spare part dealers and as many runs to the workshop to watch the progress there. There was additionally the purchase of a new Engel fridge in Singapore and their 6th Lenovo/Thinkpad laptop in Kuala Lumpur, followed by its set-up. The Schmid’s also used the time to update in the Mciti-Suites’ in Miri their website with the recent pictures of Myanmar and earlier travel stories of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and Transnistria. Nostalgic rides to the vicinity and encounters with old and new friends lightened up their time in Miri.
With their LandCruiser shining in new splendor and ready for new challenges, on August 17, 2017, the Schmid’s embarked to their new Indonesian leg. After 2006, 2007 und 2010 it was their 4th journey through this archipelago with their main goal Moluccas and West Papua, both new land. On September 6, 2017, they reached for the third time the Malaysian-Indonesian border post at Entikong. It was their 531st border crossing. Still on the Island of Borneo, they drove through well known territory from East to West Kalimantan, where they crossed at Tayan the equator for the 39th time. A 15-hour ferry ride brought them from Balikpapan to the Island of Sulawesi. Central Sulawesi captivated the Schmid’s with its abundance of palm trees, little sandy bays and quaint fishing villages, evoking a kind of South Pacific nostalgia. It was in Palu, the main town of Central Sulawesi, where Ms. Schmid celebrated her 76th birthday and their LandCruiser gifted her with its 188th flat tire. After their 40th equator crossing on October 1st, 2017, and after 2330 miles [3'750km] and 38 driving days since leaving Miri/Sarawak in East Malaysia, the Schmid’s reached the Minahasa Highland in the eastern part of North Sulawesi. In the ‘Mountain View Resort’ in Tomohon near Manado at 2'525 ft. [770m] altitude, they treated themselves to a well earned break. They enjoyed their bungalow surrounded by tropical greenery and made excursions to the surroundings.
On November 3rd, 2017, the expiry date of their two-months Indonesian visa forced the Schmid’s to fly to Kuala Lumpur for a visa run. It became their 19th visit to Malaysia’s capital. With a new two-months visa in their passport, a “free pass” of their family doctor for the continuation of their nomadic life, a new Acer laptop for Ms. Schmid and the first smartphone, a Samsung for Mr. Schmid in the luggage, on November 10th, 2017, they returned to Sulawesi, where their LandCruiser was waiting for them in Tomohon near Manado. Still on their wish list was the visit of the primary forest of the Tangkoko Nature Reserve between Manado and Bitung. Their encounter with the tarsiers – the smallest primates, which they already knew from the Island of Bohol in the Philippines – hornbills, kingfishers, owls, cuscus and monkeys belong to the most cherishing experiences of the Schmid’s on the Island of Sulawesi, which they left after 56 days to the destination of the Moluccas.
With a thrill of anticipation to explore the spice islands, on November 16th, 2017, the Schmid’s boarded the ferry to the North Moluccas. Their first visit was the 43 sq.mi. [111km²] small volcanic Island of Ternate. They circumnavigated the island on its barely 30 miles [50km] long circular road twice and enjoyed the more than 300 years old lava flow, the deep green crater lake and the views to the volcanic cones of neighboring islands. Six days later, with the 303rd ship of their epic journey, they reached their second Moluccan island of Tidore with a size of 45 sq.mi. [117k]. Its sleepy island character, the colorfully painted houses and the omnipresent splendor of exotic flowers fascinated the Schmid’s around every corner. Halmahera, the third and biggest island of the North Moluccas (6'860 sq.mi. [17'780km²]) surprised them with exuberant tropical green, a 112 miles [180km] fine new coastal road to the northerly city of Tobelo, romantic sandy bays and picturesque fishing villages at the foot of volcanic cones. They enjoyed it all except the misinformation and unreliability of the ferries: On November 22nd, 2017, they waited at the ferry terminal of Soasio on Tidore to board the ship to Sofifi on Halmahera, which sailed already a few hours earlier. On December 1st, 2017, they were standing at the ferry terminal of Weda in East Halmahera and waited for the only once weekly running ferry to Sorong in West Papua. Confirmed in the morning, presumably erroneously, it didn't arrive at all in the afternoon. Due to their limited visa restriction they got into a dilemma. Should they wait a week or not? They waited!
Together with a dozen calves, 40 goats and a huge colorful crowd, the LandCruiser of the Schmid’s was also on board of the ferry to West Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, on December 8th, 2017. As the only Westerners on the 30-hour lasting sea journey, with stopovers at Patani, the islands of Gebe and Gag was a great experience for the world travelers. Between Patani and Gebe they crossed the equator for the 41st time, and between Gebe and Gag the provincial border of North Moluccas to West Papua. It was interesting for the Schmid’s to see, how from then on the appearance of the people abruptly changed – from light skinned to almost black color with the typical facial features that they knew from Papua New Guinea. What impressed them really during the sea journey was the calmness and unconditional acceptance of the locals in handling a sleeping place on the floor of the overcrowded ferry. On 9am on December 10th,  the Schmid’s set foot for the first time at the West Papuan province at the ferry terminal of Sorong. Sorong kept them for a long while. The expiry date of their second two-month visa approached. They had two options: Fly out for a visa-run or find a sponsor for a one-month extension. Just as a Christmas gift, their sponsoring worked out, but due to the festivities the extension process got delayed until January 4th, 2018. Thereupon the electrics of the LandCruiser began to make problems and at the end the new tires that had to be flown in by airfreight delayed their departure.
With four new tires, their 58 gallon [220 lt] fuel tank and three 5.3 gallon [20 lt] spare jerrycans filled up to the brim, on February 8th, 2018, the Schmid’s started to their first leg of their planned "Trans Papua Highway". 373 miles [600] challenging kilometers from Sorong to Manokwari were lying ahead of them. The windy road with its often breathtaking steep climbs through partly still intact primary jungle was no problem yet for the Schmid’s LandCruiser. Half way, reaching the 3'281 ft. [1’000m] high Petik Bintang Pass, they knew that from then on they would have to cope with serious mud fights on the still unfinished road. Suddenly they ran out of steam to re-experience their adventures of former Zaire (today's D.R.Congo) and Guyana. They turned around and backtracked to Sorong where they boarded on February 14th, 2018, the ferry “KMP Kalabia” for the 43-hours trip to Wahai on the island of Seram in the Central Moluccas. It was with heavy hearts that they had to abandon their long beforehand planned "Trans Papua Highway" project. It failed due to misinformation and construction delays.

On Seram, the first island in the Central Moluccas, there was exactly what the Schmid’s dreamed of: A turquoise shining bay lined with palm trees and an overwater bungalow with view to the close steep slopes of the deeply forested 'Manusela National Park'. Since Tahiti in 2009, the Sawai Bay in the North was their first South Pacific alike paradise. They enjoyed the constantly changing variety of moods, the flocks of bats flying every evening from their cave into the night sky, the colorful fishes that swam in groups around their bungalow, the sparking white sandy beach und the modest way of life of the villagers. The irregularly and unreliably running ferries however forced the Schmid’s soon to leave again. Their next destination was the island of Ambon, which they reached from the port of Masohi/Amahai in 4½ hours on the quiet Seram Sea. There, the Schmid’s had specially to deal with two things: Who will act as a sponsor for the 2nd renewal of their Indonesian visa, and where to are ro-ro ferries running from this island.

The visa sponsoring problem of the Schmid’s was easily resolved via a travel agency against a fee. However, their departure from Ambon was more complicated. The only ro-ro ferry sailing towards the West (Central Sulawesi) went into drydock and should resume its schedule only in a months’ time. The Schmid’s had no choice than to hold out on the little attractive island of Ambon. March 23rd, 2018, was finally the day: Changing route they boarded the crowded “KM Dobonsolo” of the Pelni Line eastwards, which shipped them in two uncomfortable nights to the Island of Yapen. Eastwards wasn't actually their priority, but at least they could move on. It was their first destination in the Indonesian province of Papua. But at the ferry docking in the port of Serui, there was a rude awakening for the Schmid’s: The ferry ramp couldn't be lowered due to high tide, hence their LandCruiser couldn't be unloaded. Once more the Schmid’s had to exercise patience and accept their fate. They continued with the same ferry to its final destination in Jayapura at the Papua New Guinea border and hoped at the same time for better conditions on their return. This time luck was on their side. A police vehicle with red light cleared them the way through the jammed crowd as a special welcome and escorted them to their accommodation.
Mountainous Yapen attracted the Schmid’s at first sight: The well-kept houses with little gardens, the rollercoaster rides along the 30 miles [50km] long coastal road with beautiful views to deep blue bays, the modest fisher settlements on stilts and people who met them with friendliness contributed to their enthusiasm for this island that isn't yet discovered by tourism. Pressured by the only once a week running ferry to their next island of Biak and Indonesia's visa restrictions, they were already three days later on board of the “KMP Masirei”. The low pervasive sound of the ship's horn before departure still spreads a thrill of excitement for far away horizons for Mrs. Schmid despite of being already 34 years on the road. Their LandCruiser was the only vehicle in the hull of the ferry, surrounded by people, bags and baggage, fruit cases, banana bundles and coconut palm plants.

With a stopover in Waropen on the "mainland" of Papua and after a 15 hours and 139 miles [224km] long pitch and toss night time ride on the floor of the ferry “KMP Masirei”, the Schmid’s reached the island of Biak, their second destination in the Papua Province. It was Easter Sunday and the unloading of their LandCruiser had to wait due to the high water level. This resulted in a breakfast with the captain. Thereby they heard in passing that it was the last ride for many weeks because this vessel had to go also to the drydock. Biak surprised them with sleepy villages and white sandy beaches on the mainly Christian coastal region and still intact jungle in the North, which they explored during 155 miles [250km]. Scenes of World War II were sights of a different kind for the world travelers. They were especially impressed by the trickling, idyllic looking cave where the Japanese hid and lost 3’000 men during the American bombardment. Then their next nightly ferry ride was already up, from the island of Biak to Manokwari, from Papua to West Papua. On April 11th, 2018, they boarded the “KMP Kasuari Pasifik” which brought them in 16 hours and 150 miles [240km] to Manokwari. It was their 313th shipping since the start of their epic journey on 10/18/1984.

In Manokwari, the place where the first missionaries landed on February 5th, 1855, the Schmid’s were in the town which they tried to reach already begin of 2018 from Sorong via the 373 miles [600km] long still unfinished "Trans Papua Highway", but failed due to insurmountable road conditions. Thus they seized the opportunity to tackle it from the opposite (eastern) side. The highlights along the road were broad riverbeds with meandering water courses, jungle with bizarre overgrowth formations and stony steep ascents opening views into the depth of the primary jungle. However, after 69 miles [111km] they returned to Manokwari. Due to their expiring and non-renewable visa in a few days, they caught on May 1st, 2018, the ferry “KM Ciremai” of the Pelni Line to Makassar in South Sulawesi. On their departure day, Indonesia had another challenge in stock for the Schmid’s: Due to the 6 hours delay of the ferry, the water line at low tide was so low that the ramp could not be lowered again. At 2am they were forced in a rush to put their LandCruiser into a container to be hauled to the deck by the crane of the ship. Being their 30th containerization, the Schmid’s had practice. After 1’220 miles [1’963km] and 65 hours on a very calm sea, they were back on the beaten track again.

After their one day visa run on May 6th, from Makassar to Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia, another 24 hour ferry ride from South Sulawesi to Kalimantan and 933 miles [1'500km] across Kalimantan to the Malaysian border of Entikong on the Island of Borneo, the Schmid’s closed their Northeast-Indonesian chapter on May 27th, 2018. The adventure took them during 279 days from 8/23/2017 to 5/27/2018 in their LandCruiser 6540 miles [10525km] in 366 driving hours on all kinds of roads through 11 islands: Borneo (2x), Sulawesi (2x), Ternate (2x), Tidore, Halmahera (2x), New Guinea (2x), Seram, Ambon, Yapen, Biak and Supiori. It contained 31 ferry rides on 21 different ferry ships, which lasted altogether 303 hours on high sea. They had to endure the hardship of the locals and sleep 9 times on the floor on the ASDP lines and 7 times in a bunk bed on Pelni Line.

The entry at the border station of Entikong in West Kalimantan/Indonesia into Sarawak/Malaysia was the third return for the Schmid’s to well-known fields on Borneo. The main reason was once more a rejuvenation of their LandCruiser, their 3rd after 2006 and 2012 in the same workshop in Miri. An invitation from the Adventure-4x4 Club Sarawak in Kuching was one of the few highlights of the otherwise uneventful, rather long-drawn-out phase for the world travelers. Their main problem was the difficult procurement of spare parts – first for a cylinder head repair, which was then extended to a complete engine overhaul. Orders in Japan, Singapore and on the mainland of Malaysia delayed the course of repair work until October. After all, on October 18th, 2018, their team was complete again to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the departure to their epic journey.

During all these weeks the Schmid's researched into the continuation of their world tour. Unfortunately, their dream destination – a 2nd Pacific Islands tour – failed short before its success due to the temporary importation permit for their LandCruiser into the Solomon Islands. They needed to make new plans. After long discussions, they decided, somewhat half-heartedly, to tackle South America for a third time, the continent they already explored from 10/24/1986 to 10/16/1988 and from 7/5/2002 to 5/19/2003 during 48’694 miles [78’366km]. On November 3rd, 2018, they stuffed their faithful companion in Bintulu/Sarawak/East Malaysia in a container of the Evergreen Shipping Line with destination San Antonio/Chile, virtually an antipode. For a long time, the Schmid's were racking their brains how and where they wanted to spend the 7 weeks without their car. The idea of a nostalgic tour via four culturally diverse countries came up and fascinated them more and more: They choose Nepal, Oman, Egypt and Morocco – all countries that they already explored with their LandCruiser. In Nepal, they once again enjoyed the richly decorated monasteries, stupas and Buddhist shrines of Kathmandu. In southern Oman (Salalah), they were particularly enthusiastic about the desert feeling with the large camel herds that roamed freely, the wide palm-lined white beaches and the oriental flair. In historic Egypt, they marveled at the wonderful structures of ancient Egypt at the pyramids in Giza and paid a visit to Cairo's citadel. Morocco was a nostalgic trip of a special kind for the Schmid’s: It was there, where Emil Schmid checked his future wife for her willingness to travel before the wedding in 1969. On Christmas Day, December 25th, 2018, after 11 flights and as many hotels, their nostalgia tour came to an end and they reached their final destination Santiago/Chile.

On the same day, also the LandCruiser of the Schmid’s in its 31st container reached on schedule the port of San Antonio in Chile after a 56 days and 13'086 miles [21’060km] long sea journey via the Pacific. Right at the beginning a new challenge awaited them. They had to take the release of their LandCruiser into their own hands, because no agent was available during the holiday season. With the helpfulness of all places involved, they managed to handle the extensive paperwork in just two days. On December 28th, 2018, they were reunited with their faithful travel companion just in time for the beginning of the New Year 2019.
South America    2019-2020
The New Year 2019 started for the Schmid’s with another beautiful reunion. After many years, they met in Santiago de Chile the two friends again, who in August 1983 in Malawi/Africa inspired them to embark on their current adventurous journey around the world: Brigitte and Gerhard from Germany. On January 11th, 2019, the Schmid's started their adventurous tour in Santiago to the South of Chile. What did the Schmid’s feel now after they already covered 48’694 miles [78’366km] in 1986/87 and 2002/03 on this continent? Nature has hardly changed. As 30 years ago they especially enjoyed the perfectly formed volcanoes, which greeted already from far in their sparkling white under a steel blue sky, the clear lakes, the rushing mountain rivers and the snow-covered peaks and glaciers that accompanied them. The araucaria trees also shone in their evergreen as they did then. However the Schmid’s were surprised at the flow and crowd of tourists. E.g.: While 30 years ago they encountered daily a single vehicle on the by then still gravel road of the Chilean “Carretera Austral” and later on the Argentinean “Ruta 40”, there were hundreds now on today’s paved roads. But this was not the reason why the Schmid’s abandoned their set goal to follow this nostalgic roads to the end; it was a massive cold front that recalled them how hard it was to drive through the notorious bad weather zones to Tierra del Fuego in 1987, where they celebrated in those days also Christmas and New Year. Therefore they preferred to head to the warmth and turned in Perito Moreno in neighboring Argentina after only 385 miles [620km] on the “Carretera Austral” towards the North.

The inhospitable and windswept Pampa caught the Schmid’s in full force, the storm howling continuously complicating their simple camping life. Despite of it, they loved it. They enjoyed to roll for hours through the deserted flat dry steppe, interrupted only occasionally by remote estancias tucked between high cypresses. For days shy guanacos and fast rheas were the only creatures that crossed their way. They followed the legendary “Ruta 40”, nowadays mostly paved. In touristy Bariloche, the Schmid’s decided to meander once more through the densely forested lake region of “Siete Lagos”. The lakes embedded in pristine nature enchanted them once more. It was in Mendoza where the heat hit them more that they cared for. Also their LandCruiser suffered from 95°F [35°C] and came up with its old problem of “overheating” again, which drove the world travelers especially in Tajikistan to exasperation. The camping “El Rincón del Leo” near Luján/Mendoza was then the right place to relax and celebrate also Emil Schmid’s 77th anniversary.

On their continuation from Mendoza to the North, vastness and the often little frequented roads were raising the travelers spirit. Their route lead them through the provinces of San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca and Salta. They were especially fond of the “Ciénaga Nature Park” near San José de Jáchal (Catamarca) with its reddish mountain ranges recalling them the West of USA, and Catamarca’s mountain road over the “Cuesta de Miranda” with its red rocks and stately candelabra cacti. But the climax was once more the already 30 years ago explored stretch Cafayate-Salta-Cachi-Salta: Wonderful stone formations of different shapes and colors and a hairpin pass drive over 11'319 ft. [3450m] a.s.l. belonged to the sceneries, which captivated the Schmid’s also on their second tour. In Salta they needed to plan their next route. To the North of the Andes region or to the East to the warmth? North won. On their way to the Bolivian border they especially liked the quaint adobe villages with Bolivian flair embedded in outstanding colorful mountain scenery. In Humahuaca on an altitude of 9'843 ft. [3000m], they wanted to acclimatize to higher altitudes, but it turned out differently. Continuous rain and icy temperatures forced them for hours to the front seats of their LandCruiser. Having no desire for freezing temperatures on an altitude of 13'123 ft. [4000m], they skipped the North and headed East instead. South of Cafayate they turned off and drove over the 10'006 ft. [3050m] high “El Infiernillo” Pass to Tafí del Valle/Tucumán.

The descent from the 6'562 ft. [2000m] high summer retreat town Tafí del Valle to the plains lead the Schmid’s in many curves through a beautiful dense forest followed by a one-week crossing of the Argentinean Chaco to Asunción/Paraguay, where they experienced the full magnitude of the recent flooding. On both sides of the good tarmac road large lakes had generated, which were populated by large flocks of white herons and cormorants. On May 4th, 2019, four days before the expiration of their Argentinean visa, they crossed the border at Clorinda/Argentina to Paraguay. And exactly four days later, on May 8th, 2019, the Schmid’s could celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary at the camping of “Quinta Tiffany” in Luque near Asunción. It was unique in that way that from their 50 years of marriage, they spent 35 years on a journey around the world with their LandCruiser.

“Whereto next?” was now the top issue of the Schmid’s. Three possibilities were on the table: 1) In wintertime to Tierra del Fuego. 2) Along the Brazilian Atlantic coast from Chuy in Uruguay until Saint-Georges in French Guiana. 3) From Manaus with boats via Leticia, Iquitos to Pucallpa in Peru. In order to experience still something new, special and exciting in South America, they chose option 1) “Tierra del Fuego in wintertime” after they explored the region 32½ years earlier in the summertime. This time their exciting goal was to reach Puerto Toro, the "southernmost permanently inhabited place" of the world within the frame of their Guinness Book World Record: "Longest driven journey". It was June 24th, 2019, when the Schmid’s started to their winter journey, left Paraguay and drove back to Argentina. A 2’500 miles [4'000km] long drive was lying ahead of them to reach the first ferry in Punta Arenas to the island of Navarino along the Beagle Channel. But in Santa Fe, after 537 mi. [865km], they had to deal with increasing health issues, what first lead to the postponement of their so joyously tackled southern destination and finally to its cancellation. First of all the Schmid’s had to move to a warmer climate to recuperate. Thereby option 2) “Along the Brazilian coast from Chuy in Uruguay until Saint-Georges in French Guiana” got a chance.

On July 21st, 2019, in
Colón in the Argentine province of Entre Ríos, the Schmid’s crossed the Uruguay River bridge into Paysandú, the border town in Uruguay. Merely 114 mi. [184km] into Uruguay's good roads, they got stuck in the small city of Trinidad due to a broken water hose of their in 2012 additionally built-in heating system in Miri/Sarawak/East Malaysia. The water of the radiator, colored with red antifreeze, inundated their LandCruiser’s front causing a terrible mess! After Mr. Schmid fixed it temporarily they continued their journey, first to Montevideo, where they were surprised by a Miami-like coastal skyline, then along the coastal road to Punta del Este, where the white sand dunes were a fascinating foretaste to what to expect on their planned 5'800 mi. [9'300km] drive along the Atlantic from Chuy in Uruguay to French Guiana. The famous seaside resort of Punta del Este greeted them deserted, rainy, windy and inhospitably cold. Thus, they only concentrated on two main attractions: “The Hand”, a giant sculpture of 5 fingers rising out of the sand at a beach, and “Casapueblo”, a whitewashed Moorish style building erected by the Uruguayan artist "Carlos Páez Vilaró" at the Atlantic seashore. Through a rural scenery with small farm houses and happy cows, the Schmid's reached finally the Brazilian border of Chuí.

After 10 days, on August 2nd, 2019, the Schmid’s changed from the Uruguayan city of Chuy to the Brazilian one of Chuí – from a pretty expensive, very clean, Spanish speaking, but rather "sterile" country into a more vibrant, more affordable and Portuguese speaking country. They followed the flat coastal road to the North, which led them mostly through extensive farmland with grazing cattle, horses and huge grain elevators, but not as actually expected directly along the sea. At the Rio Grande beach, they marveled at the endlessness of the Brazilian beaches, and in Tavares, 89 mi. [143km] more northerly, they visited the '
Lagoa do Peixe National Park', where in October flamingos on their migration route to the South make a stopover. There were no flamingos but a big colony of cormorants and enough thrill. The soft sandy track was often under water for long stretches, and at each small wooden bridge the Schmid’s asked themselves: "Will it withstand the LanCruiser's weight of nearly 4 tons?"

The further the Schmid’s followed the northern coastal road, the more their expectations to drive directly along the sea collapsed like a domino. From Porto Alegre the 4-lane coastal highway ran mostly through mega cities with its skyscrapers. With it, they buried also their ambitious project No. 2) to drive “along the Brazilian coast from Chuy in Uruguay until Saint-Georges in French Guiana”. Spontaneously, they decided to make some detours into the interior. Having explored most of the Brazilian main attractions already 1988, they decided to visit the "Cambará do Sul" plateau, lying at an altitude of 3'300 ft. [1'000m] - a region with deep canyons and high towering Araucaria trees, followed by the "
Serra do Rio do Rastro" mountains near Criciúma in the state of Santa Catarina, where a 15 mi. [24km] long, narrow spectacular mountain road along a steep cliff climbed from the small town of Lauro Muller in 284 curves and switchbacks to an altitude of 4'662 ft. [1'421m].

The bad weather forecasts for the mountain region made the Schmid’s returning to the coast. There - on the island of Santa Catarina near Florianópolis - they spent some relaxing days at the "
Playa dos Ingleses" in a room with balcony and small kitchen directly on the seashore. They enjoyed the soft sound of breaking waves, the sun rising at the calm bay, the powdery soft white sand of the beach and the tasty food. There was almost a Caribbean feeling to it and therefore just the right place to celebrate also Ms. Schmid’s 78th birthday on September 25th, 2019. One day later, the Schmid’s set off. Their next destination was the subtropical city of Blumenau, 31 mi. [50km] off the Atlantic coast. When leaving the coastal road into the interior, they were surprised by gleaming wide rice fields recalling a bit of Vietnam. Exactly in this lovely region, they experienced a frightening moment when their LandCruiser suddenly started to vibrate intensively. Was it the gearbox? No, fortunately it originated from two missing (broken) screws between the propeller shaft and the differential, which Mr. Schmid readjusted.

Blumenau, founded 1850 by German settlers, was a city which the Schmid’s enjoyed immediately. The German style half-timbered buildings, the German language and the German gastronomy – everything felt right. It was also in Blumenau where on September 27th, 2019, the odometer of their LandCruiser jumped to
777'777.7km [= 483'289 mi.] what the local Toyota dealer there honored with a lubrication service. The Schmid’s took the occasion to delve into the past and flash back to other interesting figures and milestones during their epic journey: The 700'000th kilometer [434'960 mi.] celebrated in Abkhazia, the 600'000th [372'823 mi. in French Guiana; the 500'000th [310'686 mi.] in the United Arab Emirates; the 400'000th [248'548 mi.] in Estonia; the 300'000th [186'411 mi.] in Australia; the 200'000th [124'274 mi.] in Libya; and the first 100'000th [62'137 mi.] in the USA. The heyday of their worldrecordtour was 1999 in the UAE where they drove up at a Middle East Conference of IBM with exactly 500'000.0km (310'686 mi.] on the odometer on which occasion they were presented with an IBM Thinkpad - their first laptop - followed by a Mavica Floppy Disk Camera from Sony. Due to the huge media coverage, Wallenius-Wilhelmsen Shipping Line offered them a free ride from Dubai to Kobe in Japan for the LandCruiser and themselves, arranged by the Toyota representative Al-Futtaim Motors in Dubai.

Only three weeks later, on October 18th, 2019, the Schmid’s were again in festive mood. They celebrated 35 years on the road. Especially three previous milestones, each of them being unique in their own way, became lasting memories: Their 30th travel anniversary in Angola in Africa, their 25th travel anniversary in Tahiti/French Polynesia in the Pacific, and their 20th travel anniversary on the island Saint Martin/Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. (15th in Canada, 10th in Pakistan, 5th in Egypt). Their continuation North provided the Schmid’s with a mixture of rain forest, gentle hills and shiny rice fields until they again reached the heavily frequented coastal road BR 101 at Joinville. There, on a climb up to 2'950 ft. [900m] altitude, it happened: Their LandCruiser began stuttering, stalling and misfiring. They weren't getting anywhere. They had to deal with this problem until
Cantagalo/Paraná, approximately 190 mi. [300km] east of the Paraguayan border. There - during 3½ days in a workshop - the carburetor was cleaned, several electrical devices and three gasoline pumps were replaced and the gasoline tank freed from the sand. Due to the imminent expiring date of their 90 days’ Brazilian visa the Schmid’s were under time pressure. Exactly on the expiring date, on October 30th, 2019 however, the test drive was satisfying. Rolling to the Paraguayan border, the temperature raised to 104°F [40°C], causing the long-known carburetor overheating problem of their LandCruiser again. But despite of this intermezzo, they managed to leave Brazil on time. Hence they are allowed to return to the huge country only on January 29th, 2020.

The border crossing to Paraguay was easy and fast for the Schmid's. In the Paraguayan border town of Ciudad del Este, their LandCruiser barely made it to the Nova-Hotel, the first after the border. There, they pulled out all the stops to solve their car problem. With daily 40°C in the shade, they held out for three days under the corrugated iron roof of a car electrician's workshop, while a fourth electric fuel pump with direct tank connection was installed and the entire fuel hose was re-laid. Nevertheless, shortly after leaving the workshop, they got stuck again during the evening rush hour traffic. Air bubbles between the carburetor and the fuel pumps still interrupted the flow of fuel. To make matters worse, the Schmid's afterwards were confined to bed for days with a nasty stomach flu. Mrs. Schmid was forced to go to the Santa Lucia Hospital, where she was diagnosed with food poisoning and hung on a drip for the first time in her life.

Now it was time for the Schmid's to deal with the continuation of their epic journey. The past year of their second visit to South America (Chile/Argentina) was rather disappointing – mass tourism having taken over everywhere. They were now looking for more individual adventure. Papua New Guinea was their desired destination. Thanks to their persistence and a lucky coincidence, after several attempts they finally got a new permit to enter the country temporarily together with their LandCruiser. This put them in euphoric mood and they started to work towards their 32nd container shipment in early 2020. Christmas and New Year 2019/2020 they celebrated still in Paraguay, still at 40°C in the shade. Then, on 27 January 2020 they set off. They took the ferry from Presidente Franco, 7½ms [12km] south of Ciudad del Este, to Puerto Iguazú in Argentina. It was their 320th ship and their 540th border crossing since the beginning of their world tour in 1984. Argentina was meant only as a transit route for the Schmid's on their way to Montevideo in Uruguay, where they wanted to put their LandCruiser into the container to Papua New Guinea. But it turned out differently: After only 193ms [311km] on Argentinean roads they got stuck again in Posadas in the province of Misiones. The reason was again the more frequent and more violent stuttering, plucking and banging of their LandCruiser engine. Thanks to a local newspaper article, Toyota Misiones in Posadas invited the Schmid's to a thorough check of their LandCruiser and wanted also to take care of its constant overheating. But unfortunately the three days in their workshop, where they replaced the fuel pumps, among other things, were not successful. And then came the infamous March 20th, 2020, where everything changed, where the Covid-19 lockdown shattered all dreams – even those of the Schmid's and destroyed their hard-won second trip to Papua New Guinea.

During the following restrictive Corona period the Schmid's were lucky with their accommodation in Posadas in the province of Misiones where they already booked a room during the repair of their Toyota. When the hotel "La Misión" also had to close, they were allowed to stay as the only guests and even use the hotel kitchen. They enjoyed the subtropical vegetation of the hotel garden, the fruits of the avocado and mango trees, the "Queen of the Night" cactus blossoms, the croaking parrots and other exotic birdsong. Mrs. Schmid found a nice new task in the care of a semi-wild black cat living in the hotel area and her three kittens born on 4/26/2020 and five more born on 9/20/2020, which would have hardly survived without the Schmid's. Mr. Schmid's main occupation was mainly to follow the world situation, to exploit opportunities to escape to another, less restrictive country and finally to organize the changed shipment of their LandCruiser to its new destination Namibia/Africa in January 2021. He had to invest also a lot of time in their website: From February 1st, to March 27th, 2021, it did not work anymore properly due to an ISP change in Switzerland. Only after weeks of active support from their website domain and "ISP sponsor" Peter Frickart (Screen IT & Multimedia AG) in Stäfa/Zurich, their "life's work" could be revived.

During their 8-month's lockdown in the world’s longest and strictest quarantine, the Schmid's also had reason to celebrate: On February 24th, Mr. Schmid's 78th birthday, on September 25th, Mrs. Schmid's birthday, and on October 18th, 2020, they were able to look back on 36 unforgettable years of travel. There was also reason to celebrate when thanks to Heinz, a Swiss who has been living in Argentina for 30 years, they met the mechanic Alberto, who still knows about old car engines, He took care of the overheating problem of their LandCruiser and managed to get it running normal again after having repaired the carburetor. Christmas and New Year 2021 the Schmid’s still celebrated under the blue sky of Argentina, not anymore under a lockdown = isolation, but with distancing. This change however didn't allow them crossing freely a province border without permits and problems.

On January 7th, 2021 the time had finally come for the Schmid’s. After 343 days of forced settling down due to corona, they said goodbye to Posadas/Argentina and their beloved cat family with a crying and a laughing eye. Three days and 1'000km [621ms] "on the road again", where their LandCruiser ran again perfectly despite of the returned heat of >104°F [>40°C], they reached Buenos Aires. There, however, the Schmid’s luck ran out during the shipping process of their LandCruiser to Namibia/Africa. Customs objected to some items on their packing list that would have taken much time and a lot of money to settle. In order not to miss their flights to São Tomé on the west coast of Africa, without hesitation they parked their LandCruiser "temporarily" at the 'Andean Roads Camping', 25ms [40km] north-east of Buenos Aires. On January 14th, 2021, the Schmid's left Argentina as planned and flew into "another world".

Without car due to Covid-19    2021 (almost 330 days):     Central Africa (São Tomé & Príncipe) 
Europe (Portugal) North Africa (Morocco) West Asia (Turkey) North Africa (Egypt) South Africa
Africa: o Tomé & Príncipe 2021
It was on the evening of January 15th, 2021, when the Schmid's landed on African soil for the fourth time after 20 hours of flying and 20 hours of waiting after their departure from Argentina: 1.x 01/89-11/92; 2.x 07/11-06/12; and 3.x 10/13-12/15! The West African twin island state of São Tomé & Principe welcomed them with a relaxed authentic African life despite Corona. Masks were only required in public buildings and shops. With a rented "Suzuki Jimny" they explored during three months the 386½ sq.ms. [1'001km²] small island at the equator and were above all fascinated by the density of the tropical vegetation of the primary rain forest, which still covers large parts of the island São Tomé. The typical African hustle and bustle with the colorful washing days at the rivers and the dugout canoes floating on the Atlantic with white handmade simple sails completed the picture of exotic that the Schmid's especially love. The 74km long hilly and winding southern coastal route EN2 to Porto Alegre, the end of the road, offered them not only enchanting views of lovely palm bays and white deserted sandy beaches, but also the landmark of São Tomé – the impressive 2'175ft. [663m] high volcanic chimney Cão Grande rising vertically from the plain. Their enthusiasm however was considerably dampened when a huge palm oil plantation followed, as they knew them from Malaysia and Indonesia.
It was the laid back character of the island that the Schmid's liked most of all. It reminded them of their crossing of Africa between 1989 and 1992. There was not a single traffic light and only one short tunnel along the wild 29ms [47km] long west coast of the road EN1. The outstanding attractions along the western route were the shimmering turquoise lagoon "Lagoa Azul" and the simple wooden villages on stilts. On bumpy jungle roads they also explored the peculiarities of this former Portuguese colony before independence in 1975: The Roças – the former Portuguese coffee and cocoa plantations – which at that time were usually independent villages with hospital, school, mansions and tiny accommodations for the workers. Apart from exploring, the Schmid's also invested a lot of time in planning their onward journey, which kept throwing new obstacles in their way because of Corona. As a result, the Portuguese TAP cancelled their booked stopover flight in Accra/Ghana, which meant that their connecting trip with Egypt Air to Sharjah in the UAE also was not feasable, leaving them with two tickets they already paid for (partly paid back in June). Their newly chosen route via Gabon-Cameroon to Sharjah could not be realized either, after new flight schedules came into effect. The only possibility was to fly with TAP back to Lisbon on April 18th, 2021. When they boarded the brand new A321neoLR, which took them in six hours over the Sahara to Portugal and thus from the tropics into the European spring, they looked back with sadness and melancholy at the colorful crowd of people behind the fence waving to their loved ones. In the three months they had come to like and admire them for their often difficult lives under the scorching tropical African sun.
Europe: Portugal 2021
After the peaceful African island life on São Tomé, the Schmid's experienced in the city of Lisbon for the first time in a long time a pulsating European metropolis, which just was blooming in full Jacaranda flower splendor. They appreciated the discipline of the people complying fully with the obligation of wearing masks and enjoyed to rummage in the shops and to let themselves be spoiled in the newly reopened restaurants. Under no visa restrictions, the Schmid's rented a spacious apartment in the city center and organized a long overdue visit to the doctor recommended by the Swiss Embassy in Portugal. Exactly on their 52nd wedding anniversary, they received the results of the examinations from the CUF Clinic in Lisbon, which were a relief to them. There were no unpleasant surprises for the Schmid's – only the confirmation of what they already knew or suspected: Osteoporosis in both of them. In Mrs. Schmid's case, the hip bone joint and in Mr. Schmid's case, the spinal vertebra. As a result of their limited mobility, the Schmid's explored Lisbon by Uber and public transportation. They were particularly taken with the restored old nostalgic streetcars from the 1930's, which circulate through the narrow steep streets of the old town and always opened up beautiful views over the red roofs of the city. After two months of settling in Lisbon, the Schmid's were again longing for new adventures. When they heard that Morocco would reopen its borders to tourism on June 15th, 2021, and that a new Covid lockdown was imminent in Lisbon, they acted immediately: PCR test, air ticket, hotel and rental car were quickly organized. Morocco was calling!
Africa: Morocco 2021
On June 18th – exactly three hours before the start of the new weekend lockdown in Lisbon – the Schmid's were in the air with an Air Maroc propeller plane to Casablanca. There they were back in their favorite exotic world! It was their sixth trip to this African country, to which the Schmid's have a special relationship. Mr. Schmid tested his future wife's travel willingness there in 1968 before getting married! With their Kia Picanto car that they rented for one month, they explored the country in four weekly stages. The first week they crossed on a winding mountain road the 8'678ft. [2'645m] high Tizi Tigherrhouzine Pass in the High Atlas Mountains from Kasba Tadla to Tinerhir. Beautiful bizarre rock formations, fertile palm groves, wild mountains in all shapes and colors, spectacular views, small villages in traditional adobe style, green river oases and the imposing Todra Gorge at the end were sights that thrilled them at every turn.
The second week took the Schmid's on masterpieces of mountain roads twice through the High Atlas. Once over the pass from Tinerhir to Marrakesh they already knew, and once through new territory from Marrakesh to Taroudant over the virtually throughout paved 6'867ft. [2'093m] high Tizi-n-Test pass. A highlight was an authentic Berber experience in the remote mountain village of Ijoukak in the simple "Auberge Tigmmi N'Tamazirte" built in Berber style at 4'003ft. [1'220m] altitude. It was not only the location embedded into the beautiful pristine mountain world, but also the warm care of the host family that made the stopover so nice.
From Taroudant, the route of the Schmid's third week was dictated by an extreme heat wave. After a detour into the prevailing "hell climate" in Tafraoute in the Anti Atlas Mountains, they headed straight for the cooler Atlantic coast. Their destinations were Mirleft and Sidi Ifni more to the South, which 50 years ago (1969) still was part of the Spanish Sahara (Río de Oro). Both places greeted them with persistant fog they are famous for. It only lifted when they headed for Agadir. The wonderful garden oasis of the "Maison Marocaine" was the perfect place for the Schmid's to chill-out. They stayed seven nights and enjoyed the company of the cute little dog "Lulu".
The last leg of the trip was again new territory for the Schmid's. On their journey from Agadir along the Atlantic coast towards the north, they were amazed by the diversity of the landscape, by the many bays with long sandy beaches, lined with gnarled trees bent by the wind, by the white sand dunes stretching towards the sea, and by the beautifully saddled camels waiting for customers in the tourist surfing paradise of Essaouira. In Qualidia, further north, the Schmid's ended their trip along the coast and turned off onto the highway to Casablanca, where they delivered their Kia Picanto rental car at the airport on July 18th, 2021, after 1'775 eventful miles [2'856km]. To be able to be "on the road" again for four weeks was the most beautiful experience for the Schmid's. The new lockdown in Morocco, set for 7/23/2021, once again drove them to act quickly. They took a fast antigen test and booked a cheap flight with Air Arabia Maroc on 7/21 from Casablanca to Istanbul in Turkey that had lifted shortly before its covid restrictions.
Asia: Turkey 2021
Turkey was the Schmid's sixth visit, but the first without their LandCruiser, which is still parked in Argentina. At their first stop in Istanbul on the Asian side they mostly enjoyed the varied Turkish food at extremely low prices in the cozy restaurants around their rented apartment. But soon the wanderlust took hold of them again. When the much-praised rail journey of the traditional "Doğu Express" from Ankara to Erzurum just resumed its service, the Schmid's were also on board on August 8th, 2021. Through 44 railroad stations and 139 tunnels they experienced beautiful landscapes, wild river valleys with rushing streams, rugged mountains, bizarre rock formations, narrow gorges, bare desert hills dotted with green bushes, lovely reservoirs with gentle reflections and lonely farms and small villages during 714ms. [1'149km] and about 23 hours of travel. They left Erzurum, the city in eastern Turkey with a beautiful castle, mosques and madrassas with a 40-passenger Mercedes-Travego bus already a week later with destination Van. On their way they crossed the beautiful mountain ranges Aras Dağlan and Ala Dağlan on the 267ms. [430km] long journey.
Van with its 1'450sq.mi. [3'755km²] large Lake Van located at 5'663ft. [1'726m] altitude, whose surroundings the Schmid's already knew from their Turkey trip with their Landcruiser in 2013, was again a lovely experience. From the 7th floor breakfast terrace of their Hotel Dosco, they enjoyed the beautiful view of the imposing "Hazrat Omar" mosque up to the high mountains and Lake Van. The most heartwarming experience for Mrs. Schmid, however, was the visit of the special white Van cats with their two different colored eyes (blue and amber), which are only found at Lake Van. It brought back nostalgic memories of the cat families she had taken care of during their 11-month Corona lockdown in Posadas/Argentina. Van was also the starting point for their 20-day, 1'498ms. [2,410km] round trip in a rented Renault Clio car through eastern and southern Anatolia along the Syrian and Iraqi borders, where a Kurdish majority live – a region Travel Advisories discourage to visit. However, the many military checkpoints and increased guard towers along the Iraqi border did not make the Schmid's feel unsafe at any time. They were always treated in a friendly and courteous manner. Thus they could fully enjoy their trip under bright blue skies. They liked many things on their route Van - Bingöl - Elâzığ - Ganziatep - Şanlıurfa - Mardin - Şırnak - Hakkari - Van, but especially the wildness and beauty of the mountain scenery between Sirnak and Hakkari. After 65 days in Turkey, Mrs. Schmid decided to celebrate her forthcoming 80th birthday in Egypt.
Africa: Egypt 2021
On September 24th, 2021, one day before Mrs. Schmid's 80th birthday, the Schmid's landed with Turkish Airlines late in the evening in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. It was their third trip to Egypt: Already during their Africa crossing in autumn 1989 they explored the country with their LandCruiser during 6 weeks and 4'232ms [6'810km], and in December 2018 they lodged on their nostalgia trip during 7 days at the pyramids in Giza, while their LandCruiser was on its way in a container via the Pacific from Sarawak/Malaysia/Southeastasia to Chile/South America, This time it was a rough start for the Schmid's. Their goal was to rent a car and travel to known and unknown regions of the country. Nothing came of it. According to the tourist police and other channels, it was not possible to leave the city of Cairo & surroundings with a rental car without an Egyptian driver. The only options were now bus, train and plane. Frustration spread. But Mr. Schmid's tireless research finally bore fruit. On October 15th, 2021, they flew with Air Arabia Egypt at a bargain price to Aswan, and on October 20th, they took a 14-hour day trip back to Cairo on the air-conditioned express train of the Nile Valley Railway – an adventure that was at the top of their wish list. Thus, they were at peace with Egypt again. After all, they experienced what they wished for: A train ride through the wide Nile Valley and thus an insight into rural life along the Nile. Unforgettable for the Schmid's were also the five days in the Nubian Maghrabi's Guesthouse in Aswan, located directly by the Nile, where they watched for hours the hustle and bustle along the river: The nostalgic feluccas, the camels passing by, and the farmers working their fields. At this idyllic place, on October 18, 2021, they were also able to celebrate their 37th travel anniversary, the beginning of which they had missed by a hair 13'516 days ago.
Africa: South Africa 2021
South Africa was a "last minute" decision when the Schmid's left Egypt on October 23rd, 2021, with their sixth and most expensive PCR test (US$127p.p.) and flew with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa towards the South African spring. South Africa has greeted them already several times. The first time was in 1992, when they arrived after their adventurous four-year, 61'516ms. [99'000km], North-South crossing of the African continent with their LandCruiser, and after that another nine times driving totally 12'194ms. [19'624km] in the country. This time they were again spoiled both by people and scenery. They met the right people who helped them to get a Johnson & Johnson vaccination on November 2nd, 2021, allowing them to return to their LandCruiser in Argentina. Until their departure on November 19th, from Cape Town to Buenos Aires, they were first on a nostalgic tour through the Western Cape Winelands in a Hyundai rental car, where they enjoyed for a second time the beauty of the "Cederberg Wilderness Area" near Clanwilliam with its rugged sandstone rock formations – the place where their LandCruiser lost its 5th wheel in the middle of the road in January 2015. But also new territory was pleasing them with miles of golden shining wheat fields, blossoming meadows, evergreen "fynbos" vegetation zones, stately houses in famous cape architecture. But most of all they were thrilled by the thousands of Cape Gannets on their nesting and breeding ground in Lambert's Bay. After 14 days waiting time after being vaccinated with the single vaccine, the Schmid's were on November 19th, 2021, already on their way via Ethiopia and Brazil to Argentina.
South America    2021-
After 313 days of separation from their LandCruiser, during which they explored the countries São Tomé, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and South Africa without their own car, the Schmid's returned to Buenos Aires/Argentina on November 21st, 2021. after almost 22 pure hours of flying from Cape Town/South Africa via Addis Ababa/Ethiopia and São Paulo/Brazil. It then took until December 9th, 2021, until they received a new Argentine TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for their LandCruiser from the customs office in Buenos Aires with validity until April 11th, 2022. Full of emotions the Schmid's stood a short time later in front of their "freedom machine" in the 25ms [40km] distant parking lot at "Andean Motorhome Rentals". They were really anxious to resume their independent life on the road and to spend more time in nature. After the travel bags had been stowed in the aluminum boxes on the roof, the ant colony that nestled inside had been kicked out and a new battery has been bought, the time had finally come on December 20th, 2021, to take off. Due to the re-increasing number of Corona cases in Argentina and the fear of new travel restrictions by the government, the Schmid's wanted to play it safe, i.e. travel north-easterly where they would have had an escape route to either Uruguay, Brazil or Paraguay at any time. The all-clear arrived from the government in Garupá in the Province Misiones in the northeast of Argentina. That was their turning point to the South, after they celebrated Christmas and the New Year 2022 with birdsong and crickets chirping in the Allaité Lodge. It was also there where they gave the newspaper "Primera Edición Posadas", their second interview – the first took place on February 18th, 2020, shortly before the start of the pandemic.

Being able to travel again without the constant overheating problem of their LandCruiser, which could be fixed during the pandemic, was an enormous relief for the Schmid's on their way to the southwest. The changing landscape took them first along the good RN5 through immense sunflower fields, further towards Neuquén through endless Patagonian steppe and after Neuquén - towards the western Zapala - they already experienced the notorious climate of Patagonia. Strong desert winds and a mighty sandstorm made their LandCruiser shook heavily. In Zapala, the Schmid's reached the legendary RN40, which they already knew. There they decided to change course to the North instead of South as they were confronted with a freezing wind. On the stretch to Las Lajas, they enjoyed the large expanses of golden-yellow grass, which gave them a bit of an Altiplano feeling. After Las Lajas it became new territory for the Schmid's when they turned off to Route RP 21 and 26 leading through the charming land of the Mapuche Indians to the village of Caviahue at 5'413ft. [1'650m] and further to Salto de Agrio. Lake Caviahue then became for them the highlight of their journey to the Southwest so far. Mighty Chilean araucarias line the turquoise shimmering Caviahue Lake. The stony shore with its deep orange shining stones, colored by chemical acidification by the nearby volcano Copahue (9'833ft. [2'997m]), added to the fascinating sight. Caviahue was then also the southernmost turning point of the Schmid's. Their three-month visa in Argentina was coming to an end. Therefore, and to spare their faithful LandCruiser, which will celebrate its 40th birthday this year, from heavily corrugated dirt roads, the Schmid's chose largely the same fast and good roads they came from. On April 15th, 2022, they reached the border town of Gualeguaychú and after making the mandatory PCR test, they entered Uruguay the next day without any problems.

The Schmid's chose Uruguay for a very special reason: Montevideo is known as an easy shipping port, and they were looking for a possibility to ship their LandCruiser to their favored destination Indonesia. Faster than expected it seemed to work out. The offer to Dili/East Timor of US$6'074, including port fees in Montevideo, was not a bargain, but they wanted to afford it, the more so as it was also to be a part of Mr. Schmid's upcoming 80th birthday. It was always his dream to travel the 1'710ms [2'750km] long "Trans Papua Highway" from Sorong to Jayapura. In 2018, when they were there, the road was partly still under construction. Just the ferries involved through the Sunda and Moluccas Archipelago to the start of the "Trans Papua Highway" were a promised adventure. From East Timor, where the Schmid's already landed in 2007 with their LandCruiser, they wanted to enter Indonesia by land with a new "Carnet de Passages". Unfortunately, their joy soon suffered a blow: The stuffing of their LandCruiser into a 20' container in Montevideo was to take place on February 25th, 2022. Shortly before that, the cancellation came with the reason that all ships are full until March 17th. Although the Schmid's continued to pull out all the stops, they were not able to ship from Uruguay.

In Uruguay, the Schmid's experienced three months of pure camping life. At the Hotel Suizo in Nueva Helvecia, where the television already appeared the morning after their arrival for an interview, Mr. Schmid had the pleasure to celebrate his 80th birthday on February 24th, 2022, in the circle of overlanders. whereby half of his life he spent traveling the world in a LandCruiser. The peace and quietness, the sweeping views of the countryside, the shady trees, the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and the birdsong that greeted them every morning all contributed to their long stay. They also had a great time with nice and interesting same-minded overlanders. But they also noticed how unbelievably travel ("vanlife") has changed since they set off on their world trip on 10/18/1984. While back then it was pure adventurousness, today it is more about comfortable luxury mega vans with washing machines and dishwashers, generators, satellite TV, WLAN amplifier and may be even a quad or normal bike for shopping on board! No, the Schmid's are not jealous and do not want to swap. With their LandCruiser they can park anywhere, drive on the narrowest jungle roads and most important: they fit into an ordinary 20-foot container.

After two months of intense camping life at the Hotel Suizo in Nueva Helvecia, the Schmid's needed a change of scenery. The Chacra Holandesa with horses, cows, dogs, cats, chickens and the sow called "Schnitzel" in the nice little town of Atlántida on the Atlantic coast was just the right place for the animal lovers. There they also celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary on May 8th, 2022. One week later, on May 15th, 2022, they left Uruguay and entered Argentina from the Uruguayan border town of Fray Bentos to Gualeguaychú. Their main goal was to travel from there to the warmth of northern and northeastern Brazil, in case all shipping efforts should fail. But when they were standing at the Brazilian border in Puerto Iguazú/Argentina on June 17th, 2022, they suddenly had no more desire for Brazil. Argentina did not let them go yet! As a new destination they chose the waterfalls "Saltos del Moconá" in the provincial park of Moconá at the river Uruguay in the province Misiones, 37ms [60km] north of El Soberbio, said to be unique in the world for rushing in a 2ms [3km] (!) long "Canyon" 10ft. to 23ft. [3-7m] over rocks. In Brazil it is called "Salto do Yucumã". Unfortunately the spectacular view was denied to the Schmid's, because a ford to be crossed was under water due to heavy rains since the end of May. But the impressive jungle on the route compensated them a little. Then the Schmid's landed back in the area where they spent 323 days during the lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic: In Posadas! In Candelaria – outside of Posadas – they rented a small apartment where they continued to type shipping quote requests to agencies all over the world – to no avail yet. Single containers containing "no essential stuff" are obviously left alone.