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Saturday March 10, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday May 25, 2013 MYT 10:25:02 AM
by hong boon how
PETALING JAYA: While recreational vehicles are good enough for many going on long distance road trips, a German couple opted for something more extreme for their around-the-world journey.
Their choice vehicle is an 18-tonne army six-wheeler truck converted into cosy mobile home. The mighty mobile is affectionately called HerrMAN.
Stefan Sigl and Petra Mester have been on the road for two years, travelling 40,000km and have visited 18 countries since leaving Germany in November 2009.
They drove into Malaysia from Thailand early last month and had visited Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, China and Laos to name a few.
“Although I have used a recreational vehicle before, I felt that I needed something more robust as the countries we will be visiting might have very bad roads,” he told reporters during a stopover at Continental Sime Tyre's Petaling Jaya head office here yesterday.
HerrMAN was fitted with Con-tinental's heavy machinery all-terrain tyres when it left Germany.
During their stay in Malaysia, the truck will get a new set of tyres to continue its journey.
Sigl, 50, used to work in the media industry before venturing on the road trip. Mester, 51, meanwhile, was a teacher and social worker.
The couple has two children a son, 30, and daughter, 27.
The idea to go on the “big journey” came up around Christmas in 2003. Sigl bought a MAN KAT1 6X6 truck in 2005 and spent the next few years converting it into an apartment on wheels complete with beds, toilet, air conditioning, deep freezer, microwave oven and washing machine.
The vehicle even has a mini-garage where Sigl keeps a scooter and a bicycle.
He said HerrMAN was a combination of the German word “herr” which meant mister and MAN which was the truck brand.
“In English, our vehicle is Mr MAN,” Sigl said, adding that it was also a tribute to his father whose name was Herman.
Sigl said they enjoyed their stay in Malaysia as the locals were friendly and that everyone could speak English.
The couple intend to stay for a month or longer and plan to visit the key attractions on the west and east coasts.
After that, they plan to ship HerrMAN from Malacca to Indonesia. They also aim to visit Timor Leste, Australia and New Zealand before continuing to South America.
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