More Storage Space

Time to make a big hole into my Landy! I know, I know, Land Rovers are leaky enough, why would you add another hole? It’s easy, I want more storage space! But I am really not a fan of make holes into cars… There’s a reason I like to work with computers, when you break something, you just reset and everything is back to normal. That doesn’t work with metal and a disc grinder. So after measuring at least three times, I marked the outline and measured again. And again. And then I got down to action.

Luckily for once I did everything right and after some small adjustments the storage box fit! Just one little problem: The previous owner must have bumped into something quite solid once, because the vehicle body isn’t straight anymore, this didn’t help to get all the rivets in place, bolts and nuts to the rescue! Did I already mention that I don’t like rivets?

Also, some minor work on the water outlet, my “shower” is now almost ready. As soon as the temperatures are a bit higher the pump will be added 🙂


Coleman Stove

I am using a Coleman stove since years and was always quite happy with it, thus I’ll also take it with me for the Panamericana. It is powered by unleaded fuel and has two flames, therefore stove is quite big and needs a good place while not in use. The panel on the rear door which, when opened will be used for cooking, has the space required to also house the stove.

So today I made a frame for this, it’s not pretty but it works 😀


Shipping: Check; Flight: Check

Finally I know when I’ll leave Switzerland and the journey begins!

The container ship will arrive in Halifax at the 16. May. I will fly to Halifax on the 13. from Zurich via Frankfurt. I booked a room via Airbnb until the 19. I hope to get the car on the 18.

It still feels surreal but with every step it get more and more real!


Weekly Update

Another week has passed, less than 80 days until last day at work!

Not much happened this week because I was on-call and I had to bake cake with my godchild on Saturday which was a lot of fun. Gotta spend some time with her before leaving, I already know that I’ll miss her! Nevertheless, I was able to get some things done. The solar control unit behaved a bit funky after my last weeks work on the electrics. Turns out reading the manual is not such a bad idea. You have to plug the cables into the device in a certain order to make it work. Well…. Who could have known? 😀
I rebuilt the mounting bracket for the fridge, it worked but just didn’t feel right, now I have a much nicer solution that won’t chafe the tension ratchet used to pull the fridge down.

Additionally I’ve updated Finance & Health-page with the latest information (health and car insurance).


Another Landy Update

Another busy day in the barn 🙂 The power distribution is installed and ready to get some load! The water hose is also installed including the outlet in the back for cooking and cold showers, plus the whole interior is back in the car.

Because the original mounting kit for the Engel fridge is ridiculous expensive in Switzerland, I create customer one. I basically replaced the handles with an aluminum bar that can be used to tighten the fridge down. Saved about a $100, I guess this solution is good enough.

Next week will be busy with work, so not much time to work on the car but there’s still a bunch of stuff to do. For example I need to built a mounting bracket for the Coleman cookstove, I want to replace the windshield-washer nozzles, install a cruise control and so on.

Oh, and there are only 84 days left until my last day at work!


Still a Long Way to Go

Showing off the new rims

Yesterday the first steps have been completed. I finished insulating the interior, prepared the place where the water tank will sit and the in- and outtake valves. I was amazed by how quite the new BFGoodrich AT tires are compared to the MTs I had before. You can actually here different type of tarmac now, it’s almost like a normal car now! 😀

Last but not least I stripped out quite a bit of the electric wiring and prepared a power distribution unit that is properly secured via a main circuit breaker in addition to the fuses to for each individual consumer (additional light, USB chargers, fridge, water pump, and so on).

Temporary Installation
Temporary installation to see how much space it actually needs.

The next few weekends will be spent to finish everything up and hopefully have another few weekend trips to test things out 🙂


Everything Falls Into Place

More and more all  the pieces fall into place: I’ve finally found an agency that will insurance my car for USA and Canada (more on this later), I have health insurance for five years and the car shipping is also organized. I will have a 40′ HC container, in case you want to ship your car to Halifax in April, let me know and we can share the container!

In addition to that, yesterday I got a huge delivery of parts that now all need to be installed in the Landy. Think of safe electric distribution, water pump, and other amenities. There’s still some additional administrative work to do but an end is in sight (I am looking at you taxes!).

Bye 2016, Hello 2017

After a turbulent 2016 I am looking forward to the year where my travels start.

In roughly four months I will leave an environment that is familiar, friends, a secure job and a beautiful country. Sometimes this is really intimidating, sometimes it feels like heaven 🙂

What did I learn in 2016?

  • Trust your instincts
  • Change is hard
  • Nothing goes according to plans

My new year resolution?

  • Trust in people
  • Don’t worry too much
  • Be grateful for being able to travel

I hope your year will bring joy, some excitement and time to appreciate life.

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USA B2 Visa Process

Today I went to Berne for the Visa interview at the US Embassy. For other fellow travellers who plan to visit the US for more than three months, I wrote down this summary of the process.

First of all, the people working at the embassy were all super friendly and were genuine excited about my plans, I did not expect that.


The first step is to fill out the DS-160 form, and believe me, that’s the hardest part of the whole process! It took me about an hour to complete the form. Luckily you can save the progress and continue later, for example when you have to hunt down some documents (it’s been many years since I was in the military…) or get a photo. When you completed the form, you have to pay a visa fee of $160, this cannot be done with a credit card but there are multiple online banking options. After paying the fee, you’ll get a code that you need to schedule an appointment at the embassy.

The interview takes place in Berne in the embassy. There they will check your plans and make sure you do not intend to stay in the US longer than the visa allows. To make this easy, you should bring some supporting documents. I brought the following items:

    • An overall map of both Americas with the points of interests I want to visit
    • A more detailed plan with a route of my plans for the United States
    • Bank account statements to show that I have the financial means to support myself during the stay
  • My current work contract

Keep in mind that you are not allowed to bring any electronic equipment into the embassy, print out everything 🙂

The Interview

I registered an appointment at 9am and when I arrived at 8:40 there was already quite a long queue outside of the embassy. It took me about 50 minutes to get to the first station where the passport and all supporting documents are put into a clear folder and a few questions about your plans are asked.

Next up is the security check, same procedure as on any airport with the difference that you have to power off your smartphone before entering and you will leave it at the security checkpoint. After that a second clerk is waiting to ask more or less the same questions and take your fingerprints. Here I had to wait another 15 minutes.

The last booth is the actual interview, which to my surprise was super quick. He asked me again about my travel plans, then he browsed through the rest of the papers, I gave some fingerprints again and got the final “Your visa is approved and will be sent to you in the next few days”. Waiting time was another 45 minutes, so all in all I spent roughly two hours in the embassy and maybe five minutes of them I was actually talking with somebody 😀

I think having a map of my plans printed out helped quite a bit. Working for a big American cooperation might have helped too but I got only asked twice about it, and one of the questions was if I plan to continue working there afterwards (I don’t).

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Black Ice on Seealpsee

After watching Rogue One* on Saturday evening with my brother I decided to flee the birthday party going on in the shared apt, got my camera equipment and drove to Wasserauen. Arriving at 2am I noticed that I wasn’t the only one with the same idea, there were at least two other campers at the parking. I set my alarm to 6am and went for a cold nap. Note to myself: Should it get colder than 0• I need some additional layers 😀

Unfortunately four hours of sleep weren’t quite enough and I only got out of bed by 6:45. A coffee later I was on my way to the Seealpsee which currently is completely frozen. Since it wasn’t snowing at all during the last few weeks, the lake was covered in black ice.

By 7:45 I arrived at the lake, to my surprise there were already quite a few photographers on it, I even spotted a couple camping at the lake. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t quite on my side and the sky was completely covered in clouds. I decided to just enjoy the scenery and don’t bother too much with taking pictures. By 10am the place was crawling with people and time for me to leave 🙂

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* If you like Star Wars V you will also love Rogue One and you should go watch it!