Well, technically the Guinness World Record is for the “Longest Driven Journey,” but now we’re getting into semantics.
Put simply, the Schmids may be the most hardcore road trippers on the planet. Here’s their latest Guinness World Record entry:
As of 16 July 2014, the longest driven journey is 692,227 km (430,130 miles) and was achieved by Emil and Liliana Schmid (Switzerland) who travelled across 180 countries in the same Toyota Land Cruiser in a journey that started on 18 October 1984 and is still ongoing.
Of course, since then they’ve logged thousands more miles, so the total is well over 450,000 miles these days.
The couple started back in 1984 when they shipped their Toyota Land Cruiser from Iceland to New York. They spent two years touring North America before heading to South America and then on to Africa, Australia, Asia and back to Europe — and that was all in the first decade of the trip.
Thirty years later, the couple is still racking up the miles.
Their journey started simply enough when Emil convinced Liliana to leave Switzerland and explore the world for what she thought would be a maximum of two years. Clearly, the travel bug took hold of them in full force, and they’ve never looked back.
The Schmid’s “home” for the past three decades has been a 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ 60, outfitted with a 5-pound propane tank, a jerry can for water and a makeshift bed. They also carry a good amount of gear ranging from a table and chairs to a pressure cooker, water purifier and mosquito net.
Of course, they also carry a digital camera and laptop to capture and share their epic journey.
When you’ve been to more than 180 countries, it might be hard to pick some favorites, but Liliana told Trekity some of her favorites from the past 30 years of exploring:
Papua New Guinea: I liked for its different tribes with their unique costumes and paintings, highlighted at the Goroka and Mt. Hagen Shows.
Chile: I appreciate because it offers everything: From desert, glaciers, volcanoes and coastal areas. I loved the solitude and untouched nature – a camper’s paradise.
Oman – where we were just recently – offers deep Arabian tradition, great hospitality, a unique scenery and security. I have no worries at all to camp out in the wild.
But if I would have to choose right now where to spend the rest of my days, it would be Moorea (the sister island of Tahiti) in the South Pacific. Life is peaceful; the sea is azure blue; the scenery outstanding and the women still wear a shiny flower behind their ear: For me it is just paradise!
Of course, that doesn’t mean they haven’t had a great time on their journeys to North America too. In fact, the couple’s very first 4x4 adventure was in the Canyonlands National Park.