And you thought moving to a new apartment across town was tough.
A British accountant returning to the U.K. after living in New Zealand for several years decided there was one thing he couldn’t go home without: his SUV.
Well, that and his girlfriend. So Joss Quilty and Romy Romagnoli spent the next 10 months traveling 40,000 km (about 25,000 miles) across Oceana, Asia and Europe, having their fair share of adventures along the way.
"I had bought this old Toyota and kind of wanted to keep it. It's a really good car and I'm just amazed that it was possible,” Quilty told SWNS.
"All of our friends are adventurers. We would go to the pub and they would make you think: 'I should be doing something with my life.' After that, we just decided to do it."
The 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser already had plenty of miles behind it, but was perfect for the trip. The vehicle is legendarily reliable and easy to maintain, and Quilty’s was outfitted for adventure, with all-terrain tires, off-road auxiliary lighting, an air intake snorkel and winch.
After a relatively short drive to port, the car was shipped to Malaysia where the road trip really began. They took a route that passed through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Iran before crossing into Europe. They then passed through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Italy, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, France and across the water once more for the final leg to Thornbury, U.K., near Bristol.
"Our budget was very tight for the whole trip. We tried to sleep in the vehicle the whole way, with mattresses in the back,” Quilty said.
The trip presented many dangers, and not just because of the poor condition of the road.
"We had to have armed guards for some parts - when you follow the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. We had a close shave with the Taliban there, after leaving a military base. We had a guy with an AK-47 with us in the car,” Quilty recounted.
"We were driving along when he leaned forward and told us to drive fast because there was a female suicide bomber nearby. I was s**t -- the car could only do a maximum of 50 mph! I don't know what happened next. We never heard."
Getting a visa to enter Iran proved to be difficult for Quilty on his U.K. passport that ended up costing around $1,000, but Romagnoli had little trouble here with Italian identification.
Despite the challenges, Quilty said most of the people they met along the way were wonderful and more than happy to assist.
"They all wanted to help -- even though they had nothing. It's the people you meet that make the places. One woman brought out her baby to look at me because it had not seen a white person before."
At the end of it all, the couple decided to start a new kind of journey together and got engaged, but hope to be on the road again soon.
Before relocating to Scotland, they’re thinking of driving the Toyota from Alaska to Argentina, having been changed by their epic journey.
"Walking around Bristol doesn't exactly have the same appeal,” Quinty said.
“The people we saw, the way they live -- we came back and people were arguing about vegan sausage rolls," he said. "It was just depressing."
This story has been updated to clarify the distance traveled