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This Adventurous Couple Took a 23 Year Road Trip in the SAME Car Camper.

Do you remember when the Berlin Wall fell?

Well, that’s about when Gunther and his late wife Christine set off on their epic road trip.

They lived for more than two decades in the back of a 1988 Mercedes G Wagon named ‘Otto’.

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At first they planned to travel across Africa for only a year or two. With only a couple of interruptions, they ended up staying for 5 years.

Otto the Mercerdes car camper
Gunther, Christine, and ‘Otto’

When their time in Africa came to a close, the couple shipped the car to South America, and for the next almost two decades kept finding more and more of the World to explore.

Gunther said,

The more you travel, the more you realize how little you’ve seen. And the more you’ve seen and experienced, the more you want to continue seeing and continue experiencing.

After 500,000 miles, 172 countries, and 23 years, Gunther (he lost his wife to cancer in 2010) has finally settled down. He returned to Germany this year and now spends his days at his rented home there.

A Love of Adventure

At 51, Gunther retired from an executive position at a German airline company. After retirement, he worked for a time as head of another small airline in Germany.

But he soon grew tired of the lifestyle, and moved to Jakarta, Indonesia to start a map-making business.

He ran the map business for 15 years while he traveled 2/3 of each year in ‘Otto’. When needed at the map business, he’d put ‘Otto’ in storage and fly home to take care of business.

Then it was back to adventure.

A Simple Life on the Road – and One Amazing Car Camper

You’ve probably never heard of Gunther and Christine because they don’t have a blog, don’t use cell phones, and rarely ever use a computer.

When interviewed a few years ago, he said about cooking on the road,

Nothing fancy. We have a very straightforward gas cooker, with two gas bottles that last about three to four months. We prepare a real dinner every night. No canned food or fast food. We shop in local markets.

He would never sleep in hotels or eat at restaurants. Living on the cheap like this kept his monthly living expenses down to under $1,000 a month, even until very recently.

When asked if he wants to be remembered for his lifetime spent traveling, Gunther says,

It’s not about me being remembered. I want Otto to be remembered, and so would my late wife. The car belongs in a museum. The car will continue to live—that’s what I want to see. It’s not me that is special; it’s the car. This car has been in so many countries all around the planet.

True to Christine and Gunther’s wishes, Mercedes will buy ‘Otto’ and place it in the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

Take a look at ‘Otto’, Gunther, and Christine in some remarkable locations.

Gunther and Christine Holtorf traveled the world for 23 yearsOtto the Mercedes RV has driven over 600,000 milesGunther Holtorf's Mercedes RVGunther Holtorf and Otto, his RVGunther Holtorf has traveled the world in his stealthy car camperShipping Otto the car camper overseasDriving along the back countryGunther Holtorf has led a remarkable lifeGunther Holtorf is a modern day Indiana JonesLooks like they're having a grand timeYes, back in Berlin finally!

Back in Berlin, finally!

Watch this video about their amazing travels.



And listen to Gunther talk about his meeting a hyena in Africa.

More Resources:

Read an interview with Gunther Holtorf at Outside Magazine
Follow Gunther and Christine on Facebook
Another interview with the BBC
More about ‘Otto’
Pictures via: MyModernMetropolis

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2 thoughts on “This Adventurous Couple Took a 23 Year Road Trip in the SAME Car Camper.”

  1. I was very impressed with the story of how this couple spent the last 23 years. Rather than letting themselves get caught up in being nothing but clogs on a wheel, they chose to live life the way it should be lived, independent and free.

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