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Martina and Toby (Olga on Tour)

Today's Explorers

Martina and Toby (Olga on Tour)

June 26, 2022
7
min read
by
Charles Forman
Switzerland
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Where are you from?

Switzerland

When did you start your interest in exploration?

For Toby it all started with an adventure trip to Canada, where he built a raft with 5 friends and rafted 640km on the Yukon River to Dawson City. That's when his love of travel and adventure really got to him. However, he had been backpacking for months before that - which he then repeated over and over again.

Martina accompanied Toby on one such backpacking trip, whereupon we fell in love and have been traveling and going through life together ever since.

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

Martina studied Psychology and worked in the Human Resource Business, with a focus on developing people. Toby was a metal-worker and worked as a Project Manager in big security-projects.

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

Toby's education has given him a good mechanical knowledge. This helps a lot with our multiple car repairs.

Where have you explored so far?

Toby: South America, North America, Southeast-Asia, India, Japan, Middle East, Somalia, Europa - total 42 countries

Martina: USA, Southeast-Asia, India, Japan, Middle East, Benin, Europa – total 32 countries

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

We travel with an old (1997) Land Rover Defender and without a time limit through the world. The plan was to get around the globe. However, we slow down with our travel speed and we just see where, when and how long it takes us. Traveling without a big plan gives us a lot of freedom and joy..

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

More of the middle east- The culture, which is so different from ours, fascinates us. We would like to experience more of it. Besides, the nature there fascinates us very much!

A big wish - especially from Martina - is to travel to South America. Toby has been there before, but wants to dive deeper as well. We are excited and curious about the culture and people there. Now we just have to learn Spanish.

Africa is another continent that attracts us. We would love to observe the big wild animals in the wild and immerse ourselves in the everyday life of the locals

Where would you recommend others visit?

Montenegro surprised us very positively - people and nature were just wonderful.

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

Our Defender is from 1997 and we have completely rebuilt the car, restored many things and treated it against rust. As a great add-on we have a pop-up roof, which gives us a standing height in the car.

Then in Turkey we had a bad accident and in 3 months we completely rebuilt the car again. All the body parts were replaced and reassembled. That was a very formative experience.

What are five pieces of equipment that you always travel with?

When we travel with the Defender: Swiss Army knife, Garmin Inreach mini, Jetboil, good outdoor gear and a shovel.

What inspires you to explore more?

Our own curiosity and wanderlust.

How do you engage with others?

Instagram is an amazing instrument to connect with other travelers or locals and at the same time show people at home what you experience. We love the community of other travelers and also the big defender-community.

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

We often have a limited idea and little knowledge about the world, other cultures and the people behind them. Often negative or fearful prejudices are part of our world view, even if we do not want this. Through traveling, we have learned that while cultures and countries are different, the humans remain humans. Everywhere we meet great people, with the same heart.

What are your goals when you explore?

We long for beautiful, wild and lonely nature. For freedom, adventures and always more things to discover. We are curious! Curious to get to know the people and their cultures who call this beautiful nature their home.

What are some challenges you have experienced?

In Turkey, we had a serious accident with our Defender. We rolled over once and had to rebuild the whole car. All body parts were broken and had to be reordered and reassembled. We were in the workshop in Turkey for 3 months and the mechanics only knew Turkish. We cried, were desperate, lost patience, were frustrated and we laughed, celebrated, danced, ate well and above all made new friends. It was an unforgettable and very formative time.

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

On the one hand, the rollover accident was very significant for us, as it awakened fears in us that we knew nothing about. Learning to deal with them is a challenge, but one that we are managing better and better. On the other hand, the time in the workshop was groundbreaking and meaningful for our journey and our lives. We learned a lot - about the car, but especially a lot about ourselves!

How has exploration changed you?

We have learned that plans can change and how important it is to have a positive and affirmative attitude in this regard. We continue to have dreams, however, we want to let go of more and more fixed plans and ideas and instead leave room for life and its spontaneity. "Go with the Flow" - This has already led to great adventures and encounters, but also changed ourselves as we go through life more patiently, carefree and flexible.

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

It is not worth worrying about! After all, there is certainly a very good solution.

How do you explore locally?

We always use Google Satellite to find cool spots or areas we like to explore. And we talk with locals and listen to their recommendations.

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

For us it means: Stay positive, everything happens for a reason and there will always be a good solution.

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

Just do it! You will always find arguments not to do it. But just do it! Go out there and make your own experiences. Don't listen too hard to the stories of others, but instead try it yourself and go your own way. It is worth it!

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