Le Road Trip story (in english)

We are Seb and Soizic and this is our story.

In 2004, a 1966 VW bus was for sale. We didn’t buy it because there was too much work on it (engine to rebuild, not original sunroof and it was a panel van converted into a home made 11 windows). Finally, after one year of research, the bus was already for sale at a correct price and only at 2km of our home place so we bought it! Every year during summer holidays we used to travel around Europe but one day Seb asked Soizic this crazy thing: “Would you like to travel the world with our own VW Combi?” Off course she said yes and in less than 6 months we prepared the road trip. Soizic managed the administrative part (vaccines, visas, insurances, shipping…) and Seb managed the mechanic part (rebuilding a new 1835cc engine with Speed Shop Toulouse + IRS conversion, front CSP discs and dropped spindles).

In July 2012, it was time to start the Road Trip. We sold all we had (cars, electronics and furnitures), Soizic as a school teacher took one year off and Seb sold his RV’s company. We said good bye to our friends and family and drove the bus to Rotterdam. Most of the world travellers starts their road trip slowly in Europe but we wanted something more crazy and one year of summer so we shipped it to New York City.

The plan was to leave France one week earlier the arrival of the bus in order to spend one week in NYC w/o the bus then to receive it and to leave the Big Apple. Unfortunately, the Road Trip didn’t start as well as we expected: the shipper told us a 15 days delay. Because we couldn’t afford two more weeks in Manhattan, in one day we had to find a new destination: Florida or Canada? Last minute Florida was too expensive so we took a public bus and travelled to Montreal for the biggest classic car meeting: Granby! We rented a mid class car, bought two swimming pool mattress, two blankets, slept on it and travelled to Gaspésie. “We drove 2500km and we fell asleep hearing the blue whales’ song…” We finally received the bus! We crossed Manhattan and was surprised how many people was taking pictures of the bus (there is not so many Split buses on the east coast). Go west! Hundred kilometres further, a problem with the brakes gave us the chance to taste the American way of life. “We was invited for a birthday BBQ, all the village was invited!” On the road again and after Niagara Falls an another surprise was waiting for us on the way to Chicago just after a puncture. “We was sleeping on a public car park when around 2am a huge flash light woke us up. Cops asked Seb to leave the bus and was nearly handcuff. Six cars and a dog appeared suddenly ! They were digging all the bus and suddenly the dog stopped at the rear of the bus. You have drugs inside your van asked the cop ! We thought it was the end of the trip…” Seb had the explanation a bit further : “A day before, I was changing the wheel after a puncture when a cool guy stopped with his motorbike, talked to us leaning on the bus and before to leave asked us if we didn’t want some LSD…” The dog smelled the drug ! Hopefully after two hours  the cops let us leave. Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming was crossed. Long journey on long straight roads. While crossing Utah it was impossible to don’t make a stop to Bonneville salt flats. Good idea, it was during the Speed week ! Seb was invited for a VW race by the organizers but Soizic said no way. “We have a long way, we cannot brake the engine now !” In Reno, Nevada, the oil seal was seriously leaking. We cannot continue like this, we needed to swap the engine and change the seal. We found a VW specialist and Scott, the mechanic invited us in his house for the night .The day after the bus was on its wheels again. In LA, Fabien from Vintage Autohaus helped Seb to prepare the bus for Asia. They swapped together the dropped spindles to stock ones and offered us brand new off road American tires and a front roof rack. Wow ! We bought a lot of parts at Wolfsburg West and So Cal Import, visited Moon Eyes, took a lot of pictures at Cars and Coffee and the Ruby’s Dinner Meeting and when Lenny Cop was re-upholstering the front seats we made a loop to Las Vegas and Monument Valley via the mythic Route 66. Back in LA, the bus was shipped again but this time to… Singapore !

Because shipping took more or less one month we spent one week in Hawaii’, two weeks in Japan (we visited Flat 4 and Nao offered us a brand new steering wheel: double Wow !) and one week in Bali.

In Singapore, it was really hard to drive the bus. The Automobile Club Association wanted that we we tow the bus to the Malaysian border. We was able to drive it but we had to pay $160 for only one day of Insurance… Thanks to Thomas, the owner of the local VW shop OVP, we were escorted to the border by a beetle and a bay window. The VW family is huge in South East Asia and this was only the beginning of a lot of good times with VW enthusiasts. Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Bangkok: local VW clubs always took care of us. New year eve in Bangkok and already 6 months on the road. In Cambodia the road to Angkor Wat was getting more and more bad but we were amazed by the beautiful temples in the middle of the jungle. We lost a roof rack partially un welded but in less than 5 minutes it was repaired on the side of the road for $3 by two teenagers that was welding doorways with Ray Ban replicas. Also, during a lube, Seb had to help a young mechanic that was not finding the engine (on the front of the van… ) In Vietnam, we tried to cross the border with the bus five times but no way! We finally left left the bus for one week at the border and rent a motorbike for a 500 km ride. The traffic was crazy but Seb managed to get a speed excess ticket! Back in Lao we started a long trip along the Mekong river until the Golden Triangle. We promised to our Singaporean, Malay and Thai friends to be back in Bangkok for the Siam VW Festival in february. That’s what we did and the organizers prepared a special display just for us ! Because we couldn’t cross Burma, we had to drive back to KL so as to put the bus inside a container in destination of Chenai (Madras), India.

Welcome, to incredible India! We heard a lot of things about India but you have to live it. This country is totally crazy: people everywhere, unbelievable traffic jam and a bureaucratic system that you cannot imagine in you worst nightmare. Clearing through customs was a shame. From one office to another one (without talking about the baksheesh), what took two hours in Singapore, took two days there! Back on the road the first big stop was in Goa. “What a beautiful moment we spent there along the beach with our hippy van.” On the highway to Rajasthan, we had to be really watchful. Trucks often use the slowest lane to drive in the opposite direction and people like cows don’t hesitate to cross the four lanes. When in New Delhi we made a stop in a garage for a drive shaft boot replacement, we nearly thought it was the end of the whole journey. “We discovered that the steering box was totally cracked”. A local contact in India had a lot of NOS parts including a complete steering box and column but unfortunately in was a RHD part so no way to replace it. We had a second steering box in France and I was ready to ship it back to Delhi it but Kaleem, the mechanic discouraged us. The last solution was to fly back home to get it. Hopefully, Kaleem found an another solution. After trying to weld unsuccessfully the magnesium part, they made in less than 3 hours a mould and made an exact copy of the part in aluminium! “You can trust us or not but the part is still on the bus !” Time was limited and because of this unexpected breakdown we couldn’t travel to Nepal. We chose to travel to the Himachal Pradesh Indian province to see the Himalaya. Back in Delhi we spent a lot of time to get the Iranian visa. There was no way to get a visa to Pakistan so our only chance to drive back to Europe was Iran. After a week spending 7 hours a day in the Iranian embassy in Delhi we finally got our visa but for only 10 days. It was short but seemed achievable. No waste of time, we drove back to Mumbai, spend a short week there, was invited by Volkswagen of India to visit their plant and put the bus in an another container to Dubai.

In Dubai, the Iranian embassy was not nicer than in Delhi. We had to make a 500km loop to Oman to get a new visa. A couple of pics in Dubai, a ferry to Bander Abbas and we were in beautiful Iran. Persepolis, Ispahan (and its amazing souk), Teheran, the road is long on a short period but the kindness of the people makes us love the country. After crossing Kurdistan province, Turkey obviously felt that the end of the trip was there. Just time to visit Capaddocia, Pamukkale and its turquoise water and we were in Istanbul, in front of the European continent.

Through Greece, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia the bus drove well excepted a break down in Croatia. Last session of mechanic inside a campground to change the alternator by a generator. “We had to push the bus. Soizic was driving without the engine and Seb, full of grease, was following with the engine on the floor jack.” We finally reached Venezia in Italy after 13 months, 26 countries and 50 000 km (35 000 miles) on the road. With such a road trip, for sure we were ready to spend our entire lives together so it was time for Seb to ask Soizic (on plaza San Marco) if she wanted to marry him and off course she said yes!

Rotterdam, Netherland

Manhattan NYC, NY, USA

Niagara Falls, On, Canada

Great Lakes, On, Canada

Ste Catherine, On, Canada

Michigan lake, ID, USA


Mount Rushmore, SD, USA

Yellowstone, WY, USA

Bonneville, UT, USA

Yosemite, CA, USA

San Francisco, CA, USA

Malibu, CA, USA

Las Vegas, NV, USA

Grand Canyon, AR, USA

Monument Valley, UT, USA

Route 66, CA, USA

Honolulu, Hi, USA

Kyoto, Japan

Bali, Indonesia

Singapore, Singapore

Petronas towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand

Krabi, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Kompong Chnang, Cambodia

Mekong river, Cambodia

Along bay, Vietnam

Vang Vieng, Lao

Luang Prabong, Lao

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Chaing Mai, Thailand

Siam VW Festival, Bangkok, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

Port Klang, Malaysia

Hampi, India

Agonda Beach (Goa), India

Rajasthan, India

Amber Fort (Rajasthan), India

Udaipur (Rajasthan), India

Himachal Pradesh (Himalaya), India

Himachal Pradesh (Himalaya), India

Himachal Pradesh (Himalaya), India

Usine Volkswagen à Pune, India

Burj Khalifa, Dubaï, UAE

Burj Al Arab, Dubaï, UAE

Dubaï Marina, Dubaï, UAE

Teheran, Iran

Soltanieh, Iran

Kurdistan, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

Patara, Turkey

Ölüdeniz, Turkey

Bozburun, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Sithonia, Greece

Athena, Greece

Ermioni, Greece

Berat, Albania

Sveti Stefan, Montenegro

Trogir, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Venezia, Italia

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