1990 marked the fall of communism and the Soviet Union. It was a year of change and huge upheaval around the world. However, among that chaos, an amazing journey was just beginning for one husband and wife.
Meet Gunther and his wife, Christine Holtorf.
Right before they met, Gunther was on a trip to Africa with his third wife, Beate. He and Beate divorced shortly thereafter.
That was when he placed a personal ad in the Die Zeit newspaper in April 1990.
Christine answered the ad and they quickly hit it off. That’s when Gunther asked her the magic question that would spark off their 20 year adventure: “Why don’t we do a little bit of travel?”
That sealed the deal. They soon set off for an amazing African adventure with Gunther’s trusty Mercedes G-Wagen, known as Otto.
What was supposed to be a short trip turned into a lifelong love affair with the open road.
They traveled the world for the next 20 years, visiting over 150 different countries, and racking up 500,000 miles on Otto.
Christine sitting on top of their trusty car, Otto.
Otto was as much a member of the journey as Gunther and Christine were.
They carried a small stockpile of 400 spare parts for the duration of the journey to keep Otto in tip top shape.
Navigating a muddy road.
Their adventure took them to far off places and countries with restricted access, like Cuba and North Korea.
Off-loading Otto after an overseas voyage.
Christine was diagnosed with a malignant facial tumor in 2003. She underwent treatment and continued on their adventure until May 2009. From then on, she remained in Germany undergoing chemotherapy. Her and Gunther eventually married two weeks before she passed away in June 2010.
Otto in Hollywood.
No worldwide road trip would be complete without a visit to India.
Christine insisted that Gunther must carry on the journey after she was gone. He did exactly that. In 2012, Gunther and Otto finally completed their journey visiting 177 countries in total (another 28 since Christine passed away). Here he is with Otto upon returning to Berlin.
Check out this photo montage of the most epic of adventures.
Here is Gunther recounting a close call he had with a hyena in Africa.
If this story doesn’t make you want to get out and see the world, then I’m not sure what will. You can keep up with Gunther and his new adventures here on Facebook.