WEBASTO - Feel the Drive
  • Exclusive Interview with Expedition Earth 

    Expedition Earth travels around the world in its Jeep Gunther for a total of three years. What they experience and why a Webasto parking heater is indispensable for them you can now find out exclusively in the interview in the Easy Way magazine.

  • Just introduce yourself. Who is behind Expedition Earth? 

    Expedition Earth is made up of Topher, myself and our much loved third companion, Gunther, a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Expedition Earth is a 3-year circumnavigation of the globe, covering 80 countries and all 7 continents. At the moment we are half way through, which has accounted to 140,000km and 52 countries. Over the past year and a half, we have navigated our way down the Americas (from Alaska to Argentina), to Antarctica, up eastern Africa and across Europe. We are currently in the Faroe Islands heading north.

    The entire route from Alaska to Australia. 
  • Bridget, Topher and Gunther in Torres Del Paine, Chile.  

    How did you come to make this incredible journey? 

    Topher and I were only on our second date when we came up with the idea to drive the planet. Our date involved going on a drive together to New Zealand’s highest mountain. The conversation quickly moved into how we both loved to explore! That night, a little under the influence of lust, we shook hands that we would one day drive the planet together.

    Little did we expect that three months later would we be sitting in Deadhorse Alaska, ready to drive 3 years non-stop just one foot apart from each other.

  • Among other things, on your journey you will draw attention to environmental problems, but also to the people and organizations that are trying to solve them. How did you come to this and what was the most formative event for you with regard to the environment?

    Through Expedition Earth we work with a number of conservations and originations to explore the environmental impacts our planet is facing. A lot of these are organized through our relationship with National Geographic, documenting the work of their NatGeo Explorers.

    We find the common theme with almost every issue, from deforestation to pollution, is as a result of a growing and expanding human population. It has been surprisingly difficult to find untouched nature or unexplored landscapes along our route. The human population really has expanded into every corner of this planet; not leaving much space for the survival of other species.

    Rhino guards in Zimbabwe. 
  • Road into Sudan. 

    You have been travelling for 1 1/2 years. What where your highlights here? 

    For us the highlights have always come from the most difficult regions we have had to navigate our way through. The challenge and hardship really does end up as the most thrilling memories!

    One of these regions was north eastern Africa, where we had to cross Ethiopia and Sudan. Ethiopia has a lot of issues with tribal conflict and Sudan was in the mists of a civil war. Both countries had cash related restrictions and had each runout of petrol. The landscape was vast, hot and extremely uncomfortable to camp in.

    From guns being held at us, to multiple black market fuel purchases and missing the massacre in Sudan by a number of days, we made it into Egypt safely. Because Topher and I began Expedition Earth wanting to challenge ourselves, looking back, this section of the route remains a highlight to us. As unusual at is may sound!

  • And vice versa - what were your most unpleasant situations?

    One of the most unpleasant situations we have found ourselves in was during Leg1, on our way down the Americas. We were in Honduras when Nicaragua all of a sudden broke out into what was quickly becoming a civil war. Students were protesting and paramilitary groups were shooting the students. Roads were pulled up to form roadblocks, as a protection against gunshots.

    Topher and I had heard that Nicaragua was about to close its borders. There is no drivable alternative route from Honduras south, meaning our only option would be to ship around Nicaragua if the borders closed. This would be both costly and timely!

    We therefore decided to drive through Nicaragua, at a time when the borders were packed with groups of refugees trying to escape the country as fast as they could. The opposite border from Nicaragua to Costa Rica was closing at 7pm, meaning we had to cross the entire country in one day. With such onerous processing at the border into the country, and with the roadblocks and unsafe situation throughout the country, this was a frightening challenge.

    Topher and I found a local escort to take us through the country; someone who knew the backroads and had connections inside. He sat in the front of Gunther, Topher drove, whist I hid in the backseat. We worked our way around masked gunmen, burnt out tires and barricades built from pulled up road-bricks. Fortunately, we made it out the other end by 7pm. It was a long, tiring and very stressful day!

    The trip through different countries is sometimes very nerve-wracking.
  • Everyone needs their own role - then traveling in confined spaces works.

    You're not just travel partners, you're a couple. How is it to share so much time in the car together? Can you give some tips on how to get along as a couple in a very small space?

    Topher and I hardly knew one another when we began Expedition Earth. There was therefore a large risk that the expedition could have only taken us so far i.e to the closest airport! Luckily, we get along extremely well and never find ourselves in much of a disagreement. A lot of this is a result of organization; in both admin and physically.

    Our gear inside Gunther is always kept tidy and we prioritize putting every item away in it's designated location no matter the rush we are in. It is also a priority that all possible admin is organized in advance; this includes visas, route planning, Gunther having enough petrol, camera batteries being charged and so forth. To help stay organized Topher and I learnt very quickly that we each needed to have specific and separate roles. We naturally fell into taking on specific tasks and it has worked out very well. For example, Topher is in charge of car maintenance, drone flying and night time driving. My tasks are organization of the route and ensuring we are stocked up with food and fuel.

     

  • In the next six months, you have a very special part of the journey ahead of you. It takes you through the coldest countries in the world from Iceland to Norway, Sweden and Arctic Russia. Will you tell us about your plans?

    Currently we are in the Faroe Islands. We soon venture further north into some of the coldest climates on this planet. We will be reaching -50C in a few specific regions of Arctic Russia; in particular, the Yamal peninsular.

    Here we will be working our way up a frozen river for four days to find the nomadic Nenet people which live in this area. Before we reach Yamal we will be first be in Iceland for three weeks, and then work our way up Norway to the Lapland region. It’s going to be freezing cold but also some of the most magnificent landscapes we would have yet seen along our expedition route!

    Bridget and Topher already had experience in the cold without parking heater.
  • In Alaska the two had to freeze in spite of warm suits.

    Why is a parking heater indispensable for you on this trip? How did you hear about Webasto? Moreover, why is this cooperation important to you?

    The Webasto parking heater is not an optional luxury for us; it is a must-have for survival in these regions. Especially since we will be sleeping inside of Gunther for the majority of the time in these cold regions. We began Expedition Earth from the arctic region of Alaska. Here we slept inside Gunther as well and got to experience how a metal box aka Gunther has zero heat retention. During these nights we were wearing North Face Himalayan suites (with a -20C rating) and sleeping inside North Face Submit Series sleeping bags (with a -18C rating). With both of these together, we were still chilled to our bones. This was in only -30C temperatures as well.

    When we first began exploring how to survive in these temperatures every mechanic we spoke with told us we must have a Webasto parking heater installed. After a little research, we very much agreed. Topher and I (and Gunther!) are very excited to be working with Webasto. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to reach these temperatures in Gunther, and would probably have had to make alterations to our route; avoiding these extreme but magnificent regions!

  • And finally... Many people dream of a trip like the one you make. Can you give tips on how to make it a reality?

    It is all about taking the risk and giving it a go! It doesn’t necessarily need to be 80 countries for 3 years by car. Many people we have met along the way have told us that their dream is to sail the Pacific Ocean, hike the 7 peak challenge or even cycle Africa.


    We find the reason that people don’t set off is based on unnecessary procrastination. Saving for a new car or waiting for their friend’s wedding. Expedition Earth really has put our lives into perspective. We can remember every single day for the past 1.5 years. Waking up in a new place and exploring new territory is, to us, what living is about.

     

    All you have to do is dare and go out into the world.
  • Interview by Expedition Earth. 
    Expedition Earth has received two parking heaters from Webasto for their Jeep Gunther. 
    One Thermo Top Evo for the engine and one Air Top 2000 STC for the sleeping area. 

  • Our Products
  • Thermo Top Evo 

    Tailor-made comfort for every car. The Thermo Top Evo heats particularly powerfully and efficiently - with particularly low fuel and power consumption.

    » Find out more

    Air Top 2000 STC 

    The Webasto air heater offer constant heating performance. Enjoy precise and constant interior temperatures at any altitude and in any weather.

    » Find out more

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