Viki and Björn

Today's Explorers

Viki and Björn

November 28, 2022
min read
Charles Forman

Where are you from?

Viki is Croatia, but since recently also has a German citizenship. Björn is German.

When did you start your interest in exploration?

Björn has been camping around Europe with his family since he was a child. Travel and exploration were always a big part of his life and he was bold and adventurous from a very young age.

When he was 18 he joined the German navy and did his first 2 year long world tour which left him wanting for more.

Viki discovered her love for travelling during her student days. After moving to Germany she started seeking more adventurous travel and connection to nature.

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

Viki grew up in Croatia and moved to Germany for work in 2015 after her studies, seeking challenge and novelty.

Björn comes from a family which loves the outdoors, related sports activities and camping. After the marines he finished his studies for bachelor professional electrician.

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

Viki is a doctor so everything regarding injuries and health problems is her management. Also she is the translator as she picks up languages fast, that’s how we’re able to communicate with the locals easily.

Björn is a hobby mechanic and has rebuilt 3 jeep Cherokees before our Land Rover, so he’s managing all the car issues. He also has enough off-road experience which allows us to explore off the beaten path and go off-roading just for fun.

Where have you explored so far?

Some alone, some together, we have been to so many European countries(not all), Morocco, Mexico, Southeast Asia, parts of Brazil…

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

Before we got the car we were mostly backpacking the countries. Just before the pandemic we got into kitesurfing so most of our trips were scouting for the optimal wind conditions and locations and camping in the Netherlands and northern Germany.

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

From South American countries we’re heading next to

Peru, Colombia, Bolivia for the nature, beautiful hikes and culture.

Where would you recommend others visit?

Your own country and neighbouring countries haha :) it’s insane what amazing places can be found at our own door.

Otherwise Brazil where we’re currently at and can't get enough of. We are super excited for the northern part and the State of Amazon. Brazil is so diverse, from the canyons and mountains in the south and more European feel, to the beautiful beaches in the northeast and the massive Amazon forests in the northwest.

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

We’re travelling full time in our Land Rover Defender 110 TDI 1998. A few weeks before the pandemic hit, we got our car and started the full restoration and added a popup tent. We were lucky really, it gave us something to do.

We made many modifications but the Top 3 were

  1. Popup Tent
  2. Custom made Snorkel in Brazil
  3. 75L Water Tank with a 3 Step Filter System

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

Nowadays in a Defender

GPS, shovel, cafetière, action camera, swimming apparel.

What inspires you to explore more?

The sense of urgency I think. We’re seeing the negative impacts of our species in nature on every step of the way. Sounds dark but that’s the truth. There are barely pristine beaches. Also we don’t want to take our time here on earth for granted. Through my work in the hospital I’ve seen young healthy adults get suddenly severely ill. Nobody knows how much time they have left, we want it for what is the best for us.

How do you engage with others?

It’s so easy to talk to people here, we’re often in contact with people at camp spots sharing our interests and love for travels. Besides, locals are very intrigued by this way of travel and often come up for chats which we love, as we haven’t experienced it like this in northern Europe. There’s a lot of exchange with travellers and followers through social media these days.

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

It’s important to embrace global cultures to lose fear or prejudice towards others as everyone holds those, no matter what they say. The more you get to know different cultures the more open, welcoming and understanding you become towards others.

What are your goals when you explore?

Our goal is to spend as much time in nature as possible, we’re always searching for a chance to disconnect.

Also to get to drive as much off-road as possible!

What are some challenges you have experienced?

In the beginning the language barrier, as we were still working on some things in the car. Managing our budget as inflation and gas prices are soaring the last few months. We haven’t broken down yet but we were looking for some tools, to optimise some things in the car and were surprised how difficult it was to find them. Things you’d get in Europe so easily and take for granted were here, a days on end quest.

And getting our visa extension in Brazil denied was a big one as we had to completely re-organise and speed up to exit the country sooner.

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

It’s always been moments with wonderful people we met, with a few bonding fast and sharing personal moments. One family in particular we met at the beginning of our trip, I had to hold tears back as we left.

How has exploration changed you?

I don’t know if it has changed us yet but we definitely got to know ourselves and each other better. You’re dealing with completely different situations and day to day challenges on the road and are constantly testing yourself. You also have so much time on your hands to contemplate those thereafter. We’re learning to be patient as life tends to flow slower here and are overcoming shyness.

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

Every challenge you overcome makes you stronger. Living on the road is wonderful and complicated at the same time and every experience makes one smarter and stronger, so it’s important to try to embrace even the negative experience.

How do you explore locally?

We live close to the North Sea and we take weekend trips up there. Also hiking one of the most famous trails in Germany, "The Hermannsweg".

European Countries are small, and you are across the border in no time, so there are so many possibilities for weekend travels.

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

It's a community of people seeking connection through their common interest. We all need adventure and connection in our lives.

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

Start small with the things you have on your hands, you don’t even need an off-road vehicle to start exploring. Even short adventures can be life changing depending on your situation and what you’re seeking for. I think getting out there in the unknown , leaving the comfort zone and learning about oneself, seeing yourself become stronger is what it’s all about.

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