AFTRADING7

AFTRADING7

In 1984 the Swiss couple, Emil and Liliana Schmid, decided to go on a year-long journey to explore the world.
One thing led to another and before they could count to 713 000, they travelled 713 000km in 30 years through 181 countries.
In the same car!
The 73-year-olds have been the record holders for the “Longest driven journey” in the Guiness Book of World Records since 1998
Love grows strongerIt is therefore no surprise they found their way to Melkbosstrand and Table View in their Toyota LandCruiser FJ60 recently – for the second time.
“We love Cape Town, but the traffic is too much,” says Emil in his Swiss accent.
It was his 73rd birthday on Tuesday when TygerBurger contacted him.
He laughs before he says: “You are the second person to wish me a happy birthday today. My wife was the first!”
Their love evidently grew stronger with ever passing kilometres on their Toyota’s odometer.
“The car is as ancient as me,” jokes Emil, before adding that the engine is still running smoothly, but the body has taken a beating.
Answers to TygerBurger’s questions come quickly, because the Schmids have done just over 250 interviews since they started their journey.
The attempt to ask a unique question was shot down when Emil answered the next without a moment of hesitation: “There are not enough roads in Antarctica! It is also very expensive and virtually impossible to get permits. We live out of a retirement pension from Switzerland and it’s not bad, but not nearly enough to go to Antarctica.”
Most people can only dream of having the funds available to see but one country, and Emil is aware how lucky they have been.
“In Switzerland most couples would buy a house, but my wife and I decided to rather see the world. Then later her mother died and left us some money in her will and then later my mother also died. Since then we have lived off a pension,” he continues.
The challenge of getting enough money to continue their adventure isn’t as big as overcoming insufficient infrastructure, terrorism or bureaucracy.
“In some countries, especially in Africa, the roads are non-existent! And then in Nigeria there is the Boko Haram, to name but one of the many terrorist groups out there. But the biggest challenge must be getting the right visas to travel through the world. Before Switzerland went to the Schengen Visa system it was much easier, but now that we fall under the whole of Europe it can take a very long time to get it,” says Emil.
Into AfricaNow they are heading into Africa once again to see places they have never seen before. One Emil is particularly looking forward to is Ethiopia, since mountainous terrain is where his soul finds peace. For this reason Mongolia has a special place in his heart. Pacific islands are also calling once again, but this time the Schmids want to skip Samoa and Papa New Guinea.
“We have been there before, and mostly when you visit a country for the second time it holds some disappointment.”
The thought of them going to one place every December holiday like “normal people” must be a depressing proposition.
“This time we want to go to Micronesia. It is very small with a few islands, so we hope to hop from one island to the next.”
TygerBurger stops Emil right there and says we cannot steal any more minutes from his birthday. If he had to recount all their immensely interesting stories collected on their journey then they might hold a new record in the Guiness Book of World Records – “the longest telephonic interview”.
For more info go to http://www.weltrekordreise.ch.

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

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