Six months and eleven countries later, I feel like our little army of 6 has seen a lot of places, experienced many cultures, and done so many things. And we have. We’ve managed to travel to most of the places we’ve wanted to visit, and aside from the typical stresses of near constant travel, we’ve enjoyed every moment of the adventure. The eternal battle has been (and always will be) do we have the time, do we have the budget, how do we get there, and where will we stay. And now that we’ve run across some intrepid travellers from Germany who own this hard to miss vehicle, I now have an idea about how to answer at least two of these questions if we ever have the chance to do a trip like this again.
Their answer is this 30-year old military chassis, which has been super modified with a custom-made living cabin that basically can provide self-sufficient travel and accommodations in some of the roughest and most remote places. I won’t go into the details, but this vehicle is basically 18 tons of adventure on wheels with your usual things like kitchen, bathroom, sleeping quarters. But it’s also fitted out with electrical generation capacity, solar panels, water purification systems, and a fully-wired communication and surveillance system. It even has a garage which stores a motorbike, for times when the parking lot at the grocery store is full I imagine.
We met Petra and Stephan at a clearing during a walk in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. They started driving from Germany over 838 days ago. They’ve driven this beast through Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, India, Nepal, China, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos just to name a few.
Aside from how impressive the vehicle is and the story of their two-years-and-counting adventure, I think I was most inspired by discovering that there really are people who travel the world with no plans of ever really stopping. Of course, the Lie Family version would probably need to have a trailer for the kids and spot for a sailboat to launch from, but I now know some people who can help me make the necessary modifications. If you can read German, you can follow their adventure at: http://www.tvware.eu.
Memories of Melaka
We’re now in Georgetown on the island of Penang, Malaysia. Our time in Kuala Lumpur was spent mostly homeschooling and planning out the last few months of our trip, so I’m finally now getting around to blogging again. Before KL, we spent 2 days in Melaka, which feels very much like a much smaller version of Georgetown.
Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Melaka has a wonderfully authentic feel and you can imagine fairly clearly how life would have been in this formerly important trading port a century ago. Walking Melaka’s China Town and seeing the Paranakan-style houses of its narrow streets is like stepping back in time. Melaka is a small city that you can easily cover in a day or two, and it was refreshing to see that it hasn’t lost too much of its authenticity.
Aside from some redeveloped hotels and the shops along the main drags, Melaka can appear a little rough and tired, but to me this is so much more fun to experience than the charmless overdevelopment that plagues tourist spots like Ubud on Bali. If you’ve been to Georgetown, Melaka will seem small and empty, but for us Melaka was an amuse bouche for it’s big brother Georgetown which we’re now exploring. And speaking of food, hawker stalls have become our go-to meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner where a plate of spicy deliciousness will set you back about $1.50 on average.
Both are cities whose authentic charm would be a shame to ruin through mindless overdevelopment and I hope UNESCO will work hard to preserve these two Malaysian gems. Photos of Melaka…