A journey without end
Say hello to Leander, Maria and their son, Lennox. These three intrepid travellers are currently en route from the Alps in Austria – where they come from – to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The journey is some 30,000 kilometres in length and takes them across three continents, four climate zones and eleven time zones. Once they reach their goal, they will have spent some two and a half years on the road. To accompany them – while providing shelter, protection and transportation – is their lead wolf, Akela. Inspired by the Jungle Book, Akela is the name the family chose for their trusty old truck.
But travelling from Austria to New Zealand, while navigating some of the most difficult terrain in the world, wasn’t always a reality for Maria and Leander. “Not at all,” Maria recalls, “Leander and I have always enjoyed travelling and exploring the world. Every time we returned from a few weeks’ backpacking, we would always ask ourselves the same question – what if this doesn’t have to end? We wanted more.”
The birth of their first child, Lennox, fours ago would have ended the dream for most new parents. But not for Maria and Leander. Instead, when their son was just a year old, they packed up everything and went to Thailand. “We realized travelling with a child was possible, so it just became a question finding the best way to do it,” says Leander.
But what was the best way to travel with a child, backpacks full of gear and photography equipment – on a limited budget? The answer was an old truck that could ferry them on their journey without end. Akela. “We got the truck ready to take us halfway around the world. The extensive preparations included installing some windows from Dometic,” says Leander.
Anyone who visits their website will be struck by two things: the incredible adventures the family has had – some enjoyable, others less so, but all of them memorable – and the photography. The pictures are simply stunning – which is perhaps not surprising since Leander is a photographer. “Some of the places we have visited are unbelievably beautiful and so far off the regular tourist trails.”
We wish you luck, Akela World. It is an incredible journey you are on. If you want to keep up with the family, follow them on:
There’s a map on the site so you can see where they are right now. While you’re there, don’t forget to read the extensive travel blogs – which provide a detailed commentary on the family’s triumphs, trials, and tribulations. And, of course, enjoy the amazing photographs.