leisure

Globetrotting couple visits 50 countries in a single car

Czech couple clocks 128,000km in a two-year journey across five continents

15:34 December 22, 2017
Katerina Bezdekova and Ladislav Bezdek

Dubai: For most people driving around their own country in a car could take a lifetime, but this Czech couple drove around 50 countries across five continents in just two years. That too, in a single car.

Katerina Bezdekova and Ladislav Bezdek have been together for almost 10 years and have travelled to many countries. But, driving around the world together was always their ultimate dream, which came true as they completed a 128,000km journey last year.

“Our motto is to enjoy life. We both love each other, we both love travelling, so there was no reason why we wouldn’t do this trip. We both have a life to share together, so instead of doing it at home paying the rent, we decided to share our life while exploring the world,” said Bezdek, 43, speaking exclusively to Gulf News during their recent visit to Dubai.

The Czech couple were in the city to share stories of their explorations at the Dubai Travellers’ Festival.

Nudging their small Skoda station wagon along some of the most dangerous as well as scenic roads around the world, the couple’s biggest challenge was to complete the entire trip in the vehicle they set out in.

“For us the biggest challenge was to do the entire trip in a single car, taking it around some of the world’s toughest roads. That was our goal. We had our challenges and tough times, but we are happy we could overcome those hurdles and complete the journey the way we wanted,” said Bezdek, who did most of the driving.

Bezdekova, 30, who gleefully calls herself the navigator of the team, did most of the non-driving tasks during the trip.

“We spent most of our time in the car. We slept and ate in it. I took care of all the navigation, planning and other logistic issues. Ladislav did most of the driving, but I also drove sometimes, probably around 10 per cent of the trip,” said Bezdekova, revealing how the two complement each other and share their duties.

Of the 10 years that they have been together, the couple claims to have spent around 40 per cent of their time on the road.

“Even before this expedition, we spent several months travelling mostly in a car. We love doing this. Travel helps explore each other better and keep finding new reasons to love each other. So everytime we are back home, we find ourselves planning and preparing for a new trip,” said Bezdekova, explaining how their passion for road keeps their romance ignited.

Driving across five continents, the couple claim to have travelled to most inhabited places on earth except the Arctic and Antarctica.

Starting in September 2014 from their hometown in the northern Czech Republic, the couple covered Europe, Africa, South America, North America, Australia and Asia, before ending their journey back home in October 2016.

“We drove to all parts of the world, except to some Middle Eastern countries due to security and logistical issues. Only, when we had to ship the car between the continents we took other modes of transport, otherwise we drove all the way,” added Bezdek.

And like most travellers, both Bezdekova and Bezdek enjoy the variety of food they get to taste while on road, making new friends and widening the horizons of understanding.

So, was their 25-month-long journey all fun? Certainly not.

“No trip is all smooth. We had a few scary moments during the journey. Once in Congo, we were sleeping in the car and somebody smashed the car’s front window, but when they saw us inside, they ran away. We also had to fight with customs in some countries to get our car,” said Bezdek.

But one particularly thrilling incident was when the couple were attacked by a puma in Argentina.

“I think in hindsight, I see it as a nice experience because we got to see the wild cat from so close and yet we survived the attack. We were driving through the winding roads of Patagonia in Argentina, and behind one of the bends I spotted a puma and stopped to take pictures. But suddenly the animal ran towards us and jumped on the car, I managed to roll up the window just in time,” said Bezdek, memories of the incident bringing a smile on the couple’s faces.

The four-day annual Dubai Travellers’ Festival that concluded on December 16 at Mushrif Park had 33 of the world’s biggest adventurers and explorers.