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Daniel, Claudia, Anni und Piper (DON'T FOLLOW 4X4)

Today's Explorers

Daniel, Claudia, Anni und Piper (DON'T FOLLOW 4X4)

November 23, 2021
5
min read
by
Charles Forman
Germany

Where are you from?

We are from Thuringia, Germany.

When did you start your interest in exploration?

When we met 20 years ago we were already interested in traveling. It stayed that way. Only the way of traveling has changed.

What is a brief understanding of your background story up until you started seeking adventure?

We all grew up in Germany in a small town in the Thuringian forest. Daniel is a master hairdresser in his own salon, Claudia works in the tax office and Anni goes to high school. Piper is our almost 16 year old little Münsterländer.

What special skills do you have to help with your explorations?

It is an adventure to be on the road with our old Unimog. Since the car has been around, we have acquired a great deal of knowledge and skills in order to be able to help ourselves. We have friends who are fitters, who give us support. Daniel was a medic in the army, we have a large medicine bag with us. On the way we use information online, also for navigation. Claudia likes to use real maps for planning.

Where have you explored so far?

We have traveled to over 40 countries so far, from Europe, America, Africa, Asia to New Zealand. We took most of the trips together. But, there are still many white spots on the map.

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

When we first met we were backpacking travelers for many years. Since 2006 our Anni was born, we have rented motorhomes and toured Canada and Alaska. This is where the desire for our own vehicle arose, to be able to travel independently. We have had our Unimog since 2017 and are on the road with it in Europe, because Anni still goes to school.

What are the top three destinations you hope to explore next, and why?

  1. Iceland in 2021
  2. Scandinavia
  3. The Americas from North to South in 2025

These goals are ideal for our vehicle. Here we find remoteness,, nature, campfires.

Where would you recommend others visit?

It can be beautiful anywhere, you don’t necessarily have to go far. In summer we like to be in the North (Canada, Scandinavia), in winter in the south (Sardinia / Corsica).

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

We’re traveling with the legendary Mercedes Unimog 4x4, built in 1992.

  1. 450 liter diesel tank
  2. 250 liters of fresh water
  3. Solar
  4. The vehicle has a hydraulic lifting cabin, so we have low diesel consumption and can get under every bridge.
  5. The engine is more powerful for long journeys and the living room is self-sufficient.

What inspires you to explore more?

  • curiosity
  • find silence
  • escape daily routine
  • expand your own horizon

How do you engage with others?

You can’t hide with a unimog. He opens doors for us wherever we are. People meet us with curiosity and warmth, we quickly get into conversation. We like to buy local products at small markets. Since October 2020 we have been actively connected to many off-roaders who love to travel and share on Instagram.

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

There is a great German saying here by Alexander von Humboldt.

We try to translate it:

“ The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people who have never looked at the world “

What are your goals when you explore?

  • live in nature and with nature
  • other cultures
  • eat different
  • deceleration
  • minimalism

What are some challenges you have experienced?

Every journey has its own challenge. sometimes it’s the planning (in coronavirus times), sometimes the journey itself. Usually there are technical challenges along the way (broken brake line / defective clutch) in the most unfavorable places.

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

Each of us has our own moment

Claudia:

  • got the marriage proposal in 2005 on the Cape of Good Hope

Daniel:

  • found out in 2006 on the day of his wedding In the Seychelles that he is going to be a father

Anni:

  • had her moment in the pouring rain with a huge root at kathleen Lake, Yukon

Piper:

  • every morning while bathing in the sea in Sardinia

How has exploration changed you?

We realized that less is more. We can live long and well with just a few things in 6 square meters.

What is the number one lesson that you have learnt through your exploration?

  • keep calm
  • think positive
  • everything will be fine

How do you explore locally?

We drive the Unimog, hike, drive a boat or take the drone.

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

The mantra is to treat everything that you encounter with respect.

What advice would you give to others who are seeking life changing adventure?

For us it started with a 10 year plan …

We take 10 years to plan our exit from everyday life bit by bit.

In the meantime, we’ll make short trips to see how it works.

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