Adventure Of A Lifetime: Overlanding The World In A VW Bus

What would it be like to break away from the mundane nine-to-five and travel the world? To be able to see everything you have ever wanted to and best of all with no time limit?

That is exactly what Andreas Hutter and Pamela Hutter-Bianchini decided to do. The couple, who have been married for five and a half years, is originally from Switzerland, but decided to make memories and go on a lifetime of adventures.

Having a person to go on an adventure like this is better than the vehicle you are doing it in.

An adventure like this is something that you have to be dedicated to and passionate about. For the couple, it was something that they both wanted to do and most importantly, do it together.

“We both had this dream to travel the World in an old Volkswagen Bus without any time limit and at some point, we decided to do everything we could to make that dream reality,” Hutter said. “With that in mind, what we did next was to plan all of this very seriously. We made a budget plan, we both worked full-time, we saved up over years, quit our jobs, and at some point, we sold everything and took off.”

Everything the couple owns is in the van. They were able to leave a bed and some personal belongings at a friends house, but otherwise, it is with them.

The Vehicle

Traveling anywhere the most important resource is the vehicle or mode of transportation. The Hutter’s decided to go with their dream car, a VW Bus, and make it into something spectacular. The family nicknamed Pandilea, short for Pam, Andi, and dog Kalea, set out to follow their dreams.

The interior of the van was all done by the couple as well as some of their friends. It has everything they need.

“At the same time we started to get serious about the trip we found the perfect vehicle for us,” Hutter said. “A completely customized Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Camper with four-wheel-drive. It was and still is our dream vehicle.”

“We built the bus up from the bottom with many innovative helpers along the preparation time,” Hutter said. “All the technical parts were rebuilt, a special Syncro suspension was added, two additional fuel tanks were added to give us 50 gallons in total, a custom interior, a restored pop top, 270 watts of solar power, a Roadshower shower system, 50-liter water tank, and much more.”

We are talking here about a completely equipped 4WD overland vehicle with differential lockers which allows them to go pretty much everywhere they want. This may not be the overlanding rig we are used to seeing, but it is something different that still gets the couple out and exploring.

Need to clean off? The couple had a shower installed on the bus.

The Adventure

Going on a wild ride like the Hutter’s have done is both exciting and unique. But they listened to each other to make sure neither was left out when coming up with a gameplan.

“Pam always wanna to see Latin America and as I was more into North America, but the plan was to do the Panamerican Highway,” Hutter said. “Also known as the longest road in the world it stretches from Argentina to Alaska. The route decision didn‘t take much time before we decided to go for it.”

The couple was able to see many things along the trip.

 

As explorers, the couple simply loves to visit new places and learn more about their cultures, languages, try different kinda foods, and of course, see everything the world has to offer. They have taken their dream and turned it into a journey of a lifetime.

We made our dream come true and it is definetly a journey of a lifetime. – Andreas Hutter

Traveling and exploring was not something new for the couple, but the duration and in their own vehicle was. That did not stop them from wanting to dive further into the passion.

“We are both passioned travelers,” Hutter said. “We already did some limited adventures over a few month to the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and some parts in Europe, but always with a rental car or camper.”

Everything may seem like it was easy and thought out, but there were some challenges along the way. Some things that they had prepared for and some that hit them by surprise.

 

“We don‘t like the word difficult, but there were, of course, some challenges along the journey,” Hutter said. “Like the beginning in Argentina without any word of Spanish, all the border crossings. Let‘s say because of the different ways paperwork is handled in Latin America.”

The couple did bring plenty of spare parts with them, but finding them on the road proved to be a little more difficult. As soon as they entered into North America everything became much easier for them.

One thing to remember when going on any trip is to make sure that you are prepared for anything.

“Traveling with a dog also brings some challenges especially at border crossings,” Hutter continued. “Keeping the van running and fixed was also a challenge. Many never saw this kind of vehicle before as it was never produced in Latin America.”

Places Along The Way

Traveling almost 69,000 miles will bring you to many places, but there is some that stick out more than others. Whether it is you or I, or for the Hutter’s making memories on road trips is what it is all about.

Going to different places in the world will let you see all types of wildlife.

“It always happening a lot here, that‘s for sure,” Hutter said. “It is also kinda hard to pick something specific after such a long period of time and over 110,000 km of traveling, but the biggest highlight for us is simply having so much time with each other and the free way of life, we are so lucky, there is not more we can ask for.”

Check these views out!

“We could make a never-ending list because we saw so much more than just the Panamerican Highway, we saw most of the American Continent,” Hutter continued. “There was that special place we had in our heads for over three years – Alaska. We felt absolutely amazing when we arrived there.”

Since narrowing down just one spot was difficult they were able to come up with their three highlights in each part. In South American, it was Rio de Janeiro and the waterfalls of Iguazu in Brasil, Macchu Picchu in Peru, and the Galapagos Islands in Equador.

For Central America and Mexico, the list was made up of San Blas Islands in Panama, Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, and the Tulum Ruins in Mexico. North America included Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, San Francisco, California, and Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

Which place would you go?

The adventure is not over yet. “We are spending about the next six months in the United States and Mexico before it is time, after over 3 years here on the Americas, to continue the trip,” Hutter said. “We have a lot of research to do on where to next, but the options are Australia, Africa, and Europe.”

Along the way, the couple has had great support from The Rusty VWVW Buswerkstatt, Travel 2 Explore, and GoWesty. For a journey like this who would want to stop? The couple has no plan on stopping and enjoys everything they do. To follow their journey be sure to check out their Instagram and Facebook.

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About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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