Toppola Trip of a Lifetime

This is one of those things that I don’t think I could ever do. Some people are travellers and mix with anyone from anywhere as if they’d grown up as a true citizen of the world. And some people love their leather lounge, the assurance of home and the comfort of familiar food.

Guess which one I am?

Bert and Catharina definitely fall into the former category.


They’re toward the end of a huge driving tour, their dream trip – and they’re doing it in their Toppola-fitted Saab 900. They started out in Sweden in May 2007 and have been through Europe to the Middle East, Asia, South-East Asia and then back home to Sweden.

They had a schedule that would see them back in May 2005, and maybe they’ll make it by then though it seems they’ve still got a little way to go. They’re currently in Mongolia and a quick read of the latest diary entries indicates that they’ve visited places that were a little more to their liking:

We have had a real down day today. Mongolia feels like a disappointment to us. Ok, the days in the Gobi desert was great, Ulaan-Baator is just a modern, boring town. And where is the famous hospitality we heard so much about? We have seen nothing of that this far.

But for the record, this is the first time during our two year trip that we are feeling a bit tired of traveling; on top of that both of us have had a cold this past week.

Our plan was to go to Karakorum today, to stay in a ger camp and go horseback riding. But 800 kilometers of shitty paved road, was not that exciting and we decided to turn back.

Instead we stocked up with Pringles, M&M and beer and shut us up in our SAAB spending the rest of the day watching DVD movies – feeling a sorry four ourselves.

If you’re like me and wonder how comfortable it could be kicking back in the Toppola watching a few Mongolian DVDs, then consider everything else they’ve got in there too:

Our car a SAAB 900, 1992 with a Toppola camper is bigger than you think. A spacious double bed covers the roof of the car. And we have made a completely new interior for this trip. We have built stashing for clothes, food, kitchen were etcetera. The kitchenette is equipped with zinc, tap water, a combined stove/heater and a 40 litre refrigerator that runs on solar energy.

There is also a small closet, safe, stereo, 12-220 volt converter, battery chargers, TV-antenna for a computer with a TV-card, portable shower, camper chairs and camper table.

Of course we also have tools, spare tire, extra gasoline, jumper cables, shuffle, tow line, snow chins, repair manuals, fire out.

Despite the size of the camper we have managed to fit in a foldable table and two seats in the in the rear where there also is room enough stand up straight.

It takes a whole lot of smart solutions to make room for two persons and all this equipment. This is really compact living in extreme!

The weight of the camper is only 140 kg (+ our equipment). To drive it fells like a normal car. But everywhere we go people seems to think that this is a really strange vehicle and laughs and points at us. But that’s OK with us, it is always nice to spread a little happiness…

I feel a little sad that I’ve only recently caught on to this trip that they’re taking. It makes for some fascinating reading and I’ve been backtracking their trip as much as my limited time will allow.

The site is written in Swedish and in English.

Their latest entry mentions that they’ve just purchased the domain name they’re using (not sure what they were using before) and that they have about 500 individual people per week checking in on them.

Why don’t you check out their travel log yourself and give their numbers a nice little bump. It might make for a nice little surprise during their next few days in Mongolia.

Click here to visit Bert and Catharina’s DreamTrip site.

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  1. Had a C 900 just like that one… A 2,1 16V -92, red… Oh how I miss it! 🙁
    No 2 wd car of mine has ever “eaten” it self through snow like that car. 1,5 feet? No problemo señor! And yes Swade… Bring the hatch back! Imagine a 2009 9-5 Toppola… Roooomy. hehe 😉

    Take care everybody from north to south!


  2. Wow, makes my one lap of North America trip look rather lame. Though I did have more trouble crossing into Canada than they did into Myanmar.

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