Our travel experience six years ago consisted of a combination of plane rides, bus trips, organized tours and rental cars. It worked like a charm, but we didn’t look forward to the same ardous combination of transport options while traveling as a family. So one of the key questions from the beginning was: If we were to travel, how would we get to places?
One thing we had really enjoyed about our time in Africa was the modified 4×4 pickup truck with extra storage space and a tent on the roof. It gave us a ton of freedom to roam and lots of independence when it came to routes and sleep options. In our eyes, that car was a two-person option only though, there just isn’t enough space for what we are planning on taking. It also works much better in good weather, which we weren’t always expecting.
So we looked at alternatives. For the pinterest fans out there, here is my board to which I pinned everything that looked cool. Most of the board is ridiculously out of proportion for what we really need, but the exercise proved very helpful in focusing our rather broad ideas. Trailer or integrated? Fits a container or not? Custom or generic? After some debate, we declared serious offroad capabilities a must-have feature. We even had the opportunity to see a custom-build expedition truck in Switzerland which narrowed things further – a 9 ton vehicle wasn’t for us.
In May 2016 we went to Abenteuer Allrad, the biggest show in Europe for offroad capable trucks, camping cars and caravans. We came with questions. We roamed the show, noting down good things and bad things. We combined them into a wishlist. We debated over dinner. We felt that we were making progress – but that we were far away from a decision yet.
We went to the show on the second day. 200m away from the entrance we found a vehicle that hit 9 out of the 10 things on our list, there was just one of it left and it was on sale right there and then (and within our budget). Thing is, it was quite different from what we (ok, maybe more I) had envisioned. Serious soul searching ensued. This was to be the most expensive purchase we had ever made – by a mile.
The thing that swayed it in the end was a simple question: How sad would we be if we learned that someone else had bought it? The surprisingly clear answer was: “very sad!”. And so we went back, did a test drive to clear out any remaining doubts and signed the contract right there and then.
All of the above makes us now proud owners of a Hymer MLi 540 with a custom Iglhaut 4×4 system. We’ll go into details of the vehicle in a later post and – if very motivated – I may write more about the specific pros and cons that we considered for this purchase.