Back in 1989, as the Berlin Wall fell, Gunther Holtorf set out on what was meant to be an 18-month tour of Africa in his Mercedes Benz G Wagen with his third wife, Beate. The valua ...read more
Back in 1989, as the Berlin Wall fell, Gunther Holtorf set out on what was meant to be an 18-month tour of Africa in his Mercedes Benz G Wagen with his third wife, Beate. The valuable shake-down trip had two immediate consequences. First, Gunther and Beate separated. Then he placed an ad in Die Zeit's personal column and received a reply from Christine, a single mother from Dresden. Gunther had a question for her: "Why don't we do a little bit of travel." Gunther was 53 at the time, Christine 34.
26 years later, logging nearly a million kilometers through more than 200 countries, 8 cases of malaria — it is unlikely that any human has ever seen more of our planet from the ground than Gunther. Christine's last trip was in May, 2009 (country 149): she was suffering from cancer, undergoing courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In June, 2010, she passed, but it was her sincere wish that Gunther complete the journey. He did.
The German former airline executive has travelled the equivalent of 20 times around the planet in the vehicle — a modern-day Ib'n Battuta with a Mercedes Benz Gelandwagen, which he affectionately calls Otto. He says he has never had a serious breakdown. Otto is now in the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart. Gunther's epic journey is a story of stories, a profound adventure with first-hand insights concerning stewardship of our planet.