It was inevitable that "something with adventurous travelling" would stem from the combination of Fleur & Michael. Independently of each other, Fleur and her parents went wild camping in Norway and Sweden. She went on long mountain trips in the Pyrenees with her short legs and learned how to purify water when she was only 5 or 6 years old. Michael's parents were equally adventurous and little Michael was dragged all over the place, and usually not to 'civilisation'. Neither of them were aware of it, but they had also been backpacking in Australia at the same time and only found out later. It is no surprise that, when these two young people met, their first trip was mainly to an almost uninhabited island (at the time) with just a single telephone booth.
They then start mentioning the vehicle names, which are always spoken with affection. 'Snow White I', Michael's parents' Land Cruiser with a roof tent. They were able to go off-roading in Europe in that. Their love for each other grew, along with their love for unusual and adventurous travel. They gave the name Manfred to their first Toyota HZJ78, let's call it Manfred 1. It is the name of the mammoth in the film Ice Age.
Then children started arriving (Julie Rose and Given) and a Land Cruiser became too small. They find Manfred 1 via Mobile.de: an MB 1722 from 1993 with 60,000 km on the clock. Fleur is very clear: "I want a hard box on it," and so they go through a number of builders in Europe before ending up at Twiga for their 'hard box'. An article in the Volkskrant newspaper of 27 March 2017 was the catalyst for their first visit to Ooy.
Comparing quotes confirmed their decision, which fell to Twiga. "I thought they were so sweet, that father and son..." Fleur quietly whispers. Of course, it's not what those two rugged guys want to hear, but still. "They met the agreed delivery time and stuck to the agreed price. We must have changed the interior 10 times and that was quite difficult for Willem. But it's ended up exactly the way we want it by really working together." "What I found the most difficult choice," says Michael, "was whether or not to have that sub-frame. Twiga was very resolute and didn't want to build it without one. I am now convinced but I had to allow myself to be guided by the professionals with their experience of more than 100 vehicles and the necessary rally kilometres.”
"Not only do we have a potent vehicle (220 hp without turbo, 17-ton version and relatively short for 4 people) but the interior is ideal for the four of us. The kids have two nice bunk beds in which they can sleep for years to come and we have an electric lift bed above the seating area, so we don't lose any space at all."
Manfred is expected to embark for Halifax-Canada in mid-March 2020. It will then tour for a year and a half (or more) from Alaska to South America. "But we try to set ourselves as few targets as possible. We're just going to enjoy travelling, rather than pursuing travel goals..."
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