Outside my comfort zone: that’s where I feel most comfortable. And to get there, I need companions I can rely on. To put it simply: the G-Class doesn’t limit me. It is reliable, safe, comfortable, yet still an adventurer like me. And the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a real tough nut – perfect for the harsh conditions of off-roading.
I was recently in New Zealand for a while and drove to one of these places few cars are able to reach, where you don’t lay eyes on another soul for hours on end. It’s in places like this that I feel at peace. The landscapes around Queenstown are truly magical, with their softly undulating hills, glaciers and fjords. I can sense the weather conditions there. I see the light, smell the clear air, I absorb everything I see, hear, feel. The sounds, the colours. My daughters say that I become one with the surroundings, almost like a wild animal.
I’m currently circumnavigating the world on my Pole2Pole tour, travelling from the North Pole to the South Pole and back. It’s a pretty challenging expedition. When you fly over a country, it doesn’t stop being unfamiliar. But if you travel through it by car or on foot, you have the opportunity to discover things about it: the beauty of its nature, for instance, and the ways and needs of its people. My daughters Jessica and Annika are on hand to support me on my expedition. We are a team. And the girls love the two G-Classes. It sounds funny, but through our travels we have established that the two cars really do have different temperaments. They protect each other. Does that sound weird? When you spend such a long time travelling in the G-Class, your view of them changes. They become trusty companions.
We’re doing most of the expedition in two G-Classes, and will cover the remainder in my yacht “Pangaea” and on skis – 24,000 miles in total. Without our cars, we couldn’t manage many of the more extreme situations we encounter. And in very hot or very cold conditions, all of us – even me – really appreciate the car’s seat heating and cooling features. So far, we have always succeeded in adapting even to the most severe conditions. I remember a situation in Pakistan, where the roads had been washed away. We were stuck in a small waterway which, before long, grew into a raging torrent. I was terrified of losing our faithful companion. We had to work fast to get the G-Class out of there, and we managed it in the end. This kind of experience brings us even closer together.
There are absurd, funny moments too. Most recently on the border of Uzbekistan; when we arrived, people immediately began to gather around the cars. Our vehicles really attracted the people. The Uzbeks surrounded us, marvelling at the cars, seeing them as a small miracle: a masterpiece of German engineering. Normally it takes days to cross the Uzbek border, with each and every car being painstakingly checked for drugs and weapons, and personal documents being examined for days. As the border soldiers made their way up to us, I shouted “You can drive the G-Class over the border if you want!” And that was that, we were allowed to cross without delay. The language of the G-Class is understood the world over.