The phrase “the ultimate road-trip” gets thrown around a lot these days.
And thanks to one Kiwi couple, it’s been completed.
In fact, it’s still being completed.
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ROUTE MAP UPDATE: We now begin leg two, an 11 month journey north from South Africa, through the Middle East, to the Russian Arctic Circle. We will be navigating our way up the east of Africa, aiming to reach northern Africa by July 2019. From Jordan we will journey east into the 45C heat of Saudi Arabia, before entering Europe via Iran (visas permitting). After a quick pitstop in London (mid September) Gunther will be shipped from Scandinavia to the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Upon our return to the mainland we will be closing leg two in the arctic regions of Norway and Finland. Here, we will be entering -50C and days of almost complete darkness. Due to the extreme contrast in temperatures and terrain, Gunther will be undergoing a refit this week to prepare him for the challenging year ahead.
Intrepid New Zealanders Topher Richwhite and Bridget Thackwray are about to notch up 500 days circumnavigating the globe in the same vehicle.
Their erstwhile Jeep Wranger – the dependable Gunther – has been with them since day dot and has carried them across all seven continents over the course of 499 days, clocking up around 350,000kms in the process.
They’re showing no sign of stopping any time soon, and you can follow their live location as they eat up the miles here.
If their tally of a quarter of a million Instagram devotees is anything to go by, they know how to make themselves the envy of many a budding globetrotter.
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Not only does Ethiopia have some of the most Martian landscapes we’ve seen yet, but it’s also allowed us to travel back in time. 7 years to be precise! Ethiopia uses their own Ethiopian calendar, which consists of 13 months. Technically this would make Bridget only 18, and myself 26.
From Antarctica to desert oases in Ethiopia, their social media chronicle is packed with jaw-dropping images of the pair posing in some of the most breathtaking, wildest and remotest landscapes you can ever imagine.
With Richwhite’s drone skills and Thackwray’s photography background, they do a pretty decent job of doing justice to the settings they visit.
But there’s more to their global roadie than their picture-perfect, wanderlust-style Instagram posts would suggest.
As the name of their adventure states, they’re on an expedition.
With the backing of National Geographic, the Royal Geographical Society and several other partners, Expedition Earth hopes to “promote environmental issues as well as the teams and organizations that work to resolve them,” according to their website.
So as the world grapples with climate change and ponders “what next”, this pair’s own expedition into the unknown has a poignant relevance.
And good for them if they can have a blast along the way.