Some could say we are the most unlikely couple imaginable. Alex comes from a conservative middle class family who live in Rio de Janeiro, while Michaela is the proud prodigy of two hippies that call the most isolated capital city in the world home – Perth, Australia. So how did we end up driving around the world? And who are we?
Alexandre Couto Ferreira
Alex is a Brazilian mechanical engineer who is passionate about 4x4ing, tasting weird foods, photography, motorcycling and being Mr. Fix It. He’s the web designer, photographer and tactical brains of our project who was crazy enough to dream of driving around the world. He’s determination, knowledge and sheer passion has made it a reality – now he’s enjoying tasting weird food all over the world.
Michaela Cohen Ferreira
Michaela graduated as a Public Relations specialist in her home country, Australia, but finds real joy in filming and creating short videos. She’s attempting to film the adventure of driving around the world to inspire others to get out there, make their dreams happen and go travelling. Michaela enjoys getting active outdoors, cooking, managing her wedding video business and exploring new places.
Vanda the van
Vanda is a 1994 diesel Mitsubishi Delica that was imported to Australia from Japan. She inspired us to drive around the world when we realised we could travel, cook and sleep inside and go anywhere we want (yes, she’s 4×4) for less money than it costs to live in an Australian apartment. When we started this epic journey, she had already clocked 237,000kms on her odometer yet we trust her to take us another 180,000kms on the trip of a lifetime. To find out more about the Mitsubishi Delica and why we chose her to do this voyage, click here.
So how did a Brazilian engineer, an Australian videographer and a Japanese van get together?
In late 2009 Alex planned to spend his 4 month uni break learning English abroad – and what better place to master the language than to come to the only city on Earth that isn’t swarming with Brazilians – Perth, Australia!
And it was there we met for the first of many times. We travelled together over Western Australia, to Indonesia, New Zealand and even Sydney (where we hired a van and travelled along the coast to Brisbane – prophetic much?).
After the planned 4 months in the land down under Alex returned to Brazil to finish his degree. We couldn’t stand being apart for very long so planned to meet up again – this time in Europe! We travelled through mainland Western Europe and Britain, again opting to buy a car and explore the continent driving instead of taking the easy option to fly. After a few mishaps and a forced farewell to our trusty car Maximus (which then became the property of the French Military Police) Alex again returned to Brazil.
Finally realising she was capable of dealing with third world amenities and the chaos of foreign countries, Alex convinced Michaela to visit him in Rio de Janeiro. A visit became a long stay which in turn became residency and applying for a permanent Brazilian visa. In the year and a half we lived in Rio together we travelled to Argentina, Paraguay, the United States and all over Brazil – rarely by plane, sometimes by car and more often by motorbike!
In 2012 we decided to move back to Australia so Michaela could finish her degree in Public Relations and Film Production and continued our travels with Perth as our base. We visited Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Singapore and were attacked by monkeys in Bali, Indonesia.
It was then that we decided to buy a 4×4 car to have some offroad fun – and that’s how our baby Vanda came into our lives. We travelled further afield in Western Australia – feeding dolphins at Monkey Mia, watching the kangaroos play on the beach in Esperance and exploring the Western Australian coastline in between.
In January 2014 we got married, with Vanda in pride place as our wedding car (yes, we fitted the whole bridal party and photographer inside on the 36 degree day). We wouldn’t have trusted any normal limousine or bling-ed out hummer for the job – Vanda all the way.
So now that we’ve both graduated, are happily married and have our lives ahead of us, what should we do? We’re not ready to settle down and have kids yet, and our careers weren’t as rewarding as we had planned them to be. So we’ve been inspired by the freedom and simple life Vanda can give us and have submerged ourselves completely in our passion – travel. To read more about how the wacky idea of driving around the world in a 22 year old van came to us, click here.
We invite you to come with us on this epic journey, whether its through watching our videos, meeting up with us somewhere along the way or interacting with us on social media. We want our trip to inspire you to get our there and see the world, and to encourage you to chase after your dreams.
So join the adventure and enjoy the ride with us!