Well, technically the Guinness World Record is for the “Longest Driven Journey,” but now we’re getting into semantics. Put simply, the Schmids may be the most hardcore road trippers on the planet. Here’s their latest Guinness World Record entry:
As of 16 July 2014, the longest driven journey is 692,227 km (430,130 miles) and was achieved by Emil and Liliana Schmid (Switzerland) who travelled across 180 countries in the same Toyota Land Cruiser in a journey that started on 18 October 1984 and is still ongoing.
Of course, since then they’ve logged thousands more miles, so the total is well over 450,000 these days.
The couple started way back in 1984 when they shipped their Toyota Land Cruiser from Iceland to New York. They spent two years touring North America before heading to South America and then on to Africa, Australia, Asia, and back to Europe- and that was all in the first decade of the trip. 30 years later the couple is still racking up the miles.
Their journey started simply enough when Emil convinced Liliana to leave Switzerland and explore the world for what she thought would be a maximum of 2 years. Clearly, the travel bug took hold of them in full force, and they’ve never looked back.
The Schmid’s “home” for the past 3 decades has been a 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ 60, outfitted with a 5 lb. propane tank, a jerry can for water, and a makeshift bed. They also carry a good amount of gear ranging from a table and chairs to a pressure cooker, water purifier, and mosquito net. Of course, they also carry a digital camera and laptop to capture and share their epic journey.
When you’ve been to over 180 countries, it might be hard to pick some favorites, but Liliana told Trekity some of her favorites from the past 30 years of exploring:
Papua New Guinea: I liked for its different tribes with their unique costumes and paintings, highlighted at the Goroka and Mt. Hagen Shows.
Chile: I appreciate because it offers everything: From desert, glaciers, volcanoes and coastal areas. I loved the solitude and untouched nature – a camper’s paradise.
Oman – where we were just recently – offers deep Arabian tradition, great hospitality, a unique scenery and security. I have no worries at all to camp out in the wild.
But if I would have to choose right now where to spend the rest of my days, it would be Moorea (the sister island of Tahiti) in the South Pacific. Life is peaceful; the sea is azure blue; the scenery outstanding and the women still wear a shiny flower behind their ear: For me it is just paradise!
Of course, that doesn’t mean they haven’t had a great time on their journeys to North America too. In fact, the couple’s very first 4x4 adventure was in the Canyonlands National Park.
From their dairy after the 4x4 experience:
And in the evening, we have two reasons to celebrate: First, our successful 4x4 adventure, and second, it is exactly one year since we left Switzerland to explore the world. With tomato spaghetti and plenty of red Californian wine, each passage of the adventurous trip is embroidered again in details. At the end, even a long stored 'Mövenpick' cake from Switzerland finds its way to our camping table. And, as the climax of the day, millions of stars are glittering on a velvet black sky.
The couple also picked Las Vegas as the city to celebrate the new millennium, spending New Years touring the Vegas strip, snapping pictures of the Excalibur Hotel and Casino, Riviera Hotel & Casino, the Bellagio, and obviously, the Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Sign...
Today the couple continues on, having just arrived in South Africa about a month ago. Their South African adventure got off to a rocky start, however, when the Land Cruiser was sidelined with a broken axle. Thanks to the Land Cruiser Club of South Africa, a new (well, technically used) axle surfaced and the wandering duo is now back on the road somewhere in South Africa. (For more updates, check their website)
Oh, and one more thing… the Schmids are also breaking news on a road trip scandal for all you gossip hounds…
Some may remember this bittersweet story of a couple traveling the world in their Mercedes SUV…
Well, the Schmids think Holtorf’s story is a crock of crap… particularly the milage, duration of time actually on the road, and the number of countries visited. To quote the Schmids, “Gunther Holtorf comes handy as a bragger.” If you really feel the need to form an opinion about this, you can read their very long list of evidence here.
On a more positive note, Trekity asked Liliana how travel has changed her, and we think her answers are pretty good motivation to hit the road:
- I need less to be happy.
- I do not take everything for granted; I am more appreciative of things.
- I take more risks.
- I became more tolerant about other cultures and religions. Not, my culture is the only “right” one. I am not a judge, I am a guest.
- I became more independent and self-confident.
- I am more optimistic that things will finally work out.
- I have learned to improvise and to adapt to always new situations.
- I feel closer to nature, enjoying immensely what “Mother Nature” produces.
All photos via World Record Tour
Want to be more appreciative? Want to be more of an optimist? Plan your own road trip, maybe not a 30 year one, but start with a weekend. Here are a couple ideas to get you thinking…