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A journey around the world with the Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B.

The couple celebrating on the roof of the Mercedes LA 911 in front of the pyramids in Sudan

Through 54 countries in the classic Mercedes-Benz: for Sabine Hoppe and Thomas Rahn, travelling in their own vehicle is the perfect way to discover the world.

Around the world in their own Mercedes-Benz LA 911.

How long do you need to travel around the world in a classic van? When Sabine Hoppe and Thomas Rahn set out to answer the question in 2009 with their short-nose Mercedes-Benz named “Paula”, they expected to take three years. “Initially, we simply wanted to pass through the countries. But when we noticed just how much there was to see while on the road we realized that the journey around the world was going to take a lot longer,” reminisces Sabine.

Six years, 54 countries and 120,000 km later, the adventurers are certain: having your own vehicle is the best way to travel. “Thanks to Paula we could freely and independently discover the world,” says Thomas enthusiastically with a glance at the classic blue and white van. “At the same time we always had a home with us – that was a great feeling!”

A world map shows the route travelled by Sabine Hoppe and Thomas Rahn.

An impressive journey: Over the course of six years, Sabine Hoppe and Thomas Rahn travelled through 54 countries on five continents in “Paula”, their classic van.

A mobile home with added appeal.

When they discovered Paula it was love at first sight: “When we walked up the steps into the living area, we knew: this was our vehicle.” Any initial doubts about whether the short-nose van was the right choice for a journey around the world quickly disappeared. Every centimeter of the Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B is optimally used: The 11 m² contain everything one needs on the road – even a small wood-fired stove. Sabine and Thomas never had a problem with lack of space while travelling: “We got used to Paula so quickly that she actually seemed larger over the course of time.”

The classic van’s most important feature is its worldwide sympathy bonus: it makes people smile wherever it goes.

Photos versus wanderlust.

While Paula has become a rarity in her German homeland, the robust Mercedes-Benz short nose trucks are still on the road in many other countries around the world. So it is no surprise that the classic van reliably handled every challenge and every task. Whether as a changing room for Mexican Aztec dancers, as a taxi in Malawi or a sheep transporter in Mongolia: wherever Paula appeared she had curious experiences and encounters. Since their return to Germany, Sabine and Thomas have revisited the most beautiful moments and presented their journey around the world in the classic van in photo documentaries live narrations. And if wanderlust ever strikes them again then Paula will be ready for new adventures.

Five tips travelling around the world in your own vehicle

  1. Do not be scared and simply get started.
  2. Being informed is essential: we have compiled useful information for a variety of countries on our website,
  3. Calculate the costs in advance: how much funding is necessary? A long journey does not have to be expensive: travelling in a suitable vehicle saves money on hotels, restaurants and public transport.
  4. Join other travelers: driving together and sharing the day-to-day tasks is very helpful – and you also have pleasant company.
  5. Only take the most important things: we believe that you can do without anything. In emergencies only the locals and their ideas help – not the vehicle jack.

A woman with binoculars looks out of a blue and white Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B.

On the search for the next adventure: when wanderlust strikes Sabine and Thomas, their classic van Paula will be ready for the next journey.

A Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B on the edge of the Road of Death in Bolivia.

Those who travel in a Mercedes-Benz classic truck need not even fear the Road of Death in Bolivia.

A Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B driving through water in Namibia.

Onward! When the road came to an end, the classic LA 911 B made its own, like here in Namibia.

The blue and white Mercedes-Benz classic truck is blessed in Bolivia.

After the vehicle blessing nothing can go wrong! Paula at the ceremony on the Copacabana.

The classic Mercedes-Benz camper van conversion from inside.

No centimeter wasted: the Mercedes-Benz classic van provides space for everything you need when travelling around the world.

A blue and white Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B crosses the Laguna Verde in Altiplano.

Nothing can stop her: the classic lady Paula overcomes every challenge during her six-year journey around the world.

Will it hold or won't it? The 7.5 tonne Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B dares to cross the bridge.

Will it hold or won't it? The 7.5 tonne Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B dares to cross the bridge.

In Altiplano one sees a blue and white Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B from behind.

With its all-wheel drive, the Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B confidently handles the terrain of Altiplano.

A blue and white Mercedes-Benz classic van stands in the Sahara in Sudan.

The robust Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B is equipped for everything – such as the Sahara in Sudan.

Vehicle profile: Mercedes-Benz LA 911 B

Production year



5,7 litre 6-cylinder aspirated diesel, 130 hp


7.5 tonnes

Top speed

85 km/h

Vehicle details

All-wheel drive, rear differential lock, MPT tyres 335/80 R20 on SDC split ring rims

Interior equipment

Bed (1.20 m x 1.90 m), seating corner, shower, toilet, refrigerator, wood-fired oven, gas cooker, gas heating

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The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Sabine Hoppe and Thomas Rahn

More Links to explore: Abseitsreisen Freihung | Germany


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