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!”
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.
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.
5,7 litre 6-cylinder aspirated diesel, 130 hp
All-wheel drive, rear differential lock, MPT tyres 335/80 R20 on SDC split ring rims
Bed (1.20 m x 1.90 m), seating corner, shower, toilet, refrigerator, wood-fired oven, gas cooker, gas heating
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.