[Almost] around the world in 23 years – and in the same vehicle

[words and photographs © David Lemke, The WideAngle]

When you think of the world’s greatest travellers, many names come to mind – but 75-year-old Gunther Holtorf is probably not one them. And yet it should be. This man (and his wife Christine, who passed away recently) have done, by our modern standards, the near impossible: they have travelled the world for 23 years, and have visited 199 countries, in one vehicle and have done so self-funded and completely under the radar. Their Mercedes G class, which has covered 780,000km (if you account for the off-roading, Mercedes technicians reckon that this number is more like two-million kilometres), holds many world firsts, including being first foreign car ever admitted to North Korea and Cuba. Having recently finished driving south to north Vietnam, Gunther has a mere handful of countries left to visit before he completes his journey in 2013, and retires his car into the Mercedes Automobile Museum in Germany. A well-deserved rest for the vehicle, but we wonder how long this man, who will have been on the road for almost a quarter of a century, will be able to sit still.

Canadian-born David Lemke, a member of The WideAngle photographer’s network, has travelled the world for the past 12 years, and is currently based in Hanoi, Vietnam. He specialises in shooting architecture and interior design.


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