• Australian leg complete as he heads for USA
  • One man's journey through 67 countries alone
On April 28 2000 Christer Gerlach packed his Volvo Cross Country, hugged his three small children, kissed his wife goodbye and then set out on an adventure of a lifetime. In late July he arrived in Perth.

Christer set off to see the world in an around the world trip of more than 40,000km in five months. Armed only with a Swiss Army knife, two Jerry cans of petrol, two spare wheels and tyres, and a handful of greenbacks, Christer was ready for an extraordinary journey.

Christer has traveled from his hometown in Stenhamra, near Stockholm, down through Europe into North Africa to the Middle East. This has been the easy leg of the trip, with Pakistan, India and Nepal the most challenging. He has had some rest in Singapore, where he ventured on to Thailand and Malaysia.

Christer reached his halfway point around the world in Perth and spent three weeks traveling across Australia (via Darwin) with stops in Sydney and Melbourne. This week his car will be airfreighted to Japan before going on to the USA, where he will start his homeward run driving from California to New York via Mexico, final destination Stockholm.

"It's like a drug. Once you do it, you're hooked. Driving a car is a very down to earth way of travelling. You learn a great deal about a country if you travel over land. As I see it, the road is my destination," commented Christer, on why he chooses to travel alone.

"A journey of this kind is a high-risk project and I have a wife and three small children. So I never take chances and drive in places that I regard as dangerous. I am also very careful always to travel in a car I have confidence in and know is safe. So collaborating with Volvo is very important for me," he added.

This isn't unusual for Christer. In 1988 - 1989 he embarked on his first trip around the world - a trip that took him into the prestigious Guinness Book of Records.

Christer, now 55, is acclaimed as the world's foremost solo driver. Since then he has driven alone from North Cape, the northern most point of Europe to Cape Agulhas, to south of Cape Town in South Africa.

Two years ago he drove from the northernmost point on the North American continent to the southernmost point of South America, accompanied then too, by a Volvo Cross Country.

Christer's arrival in Australia coincides with the launch of the Cross Country in this market.

Born in Sweden, Christer Gerlach has been awarded the title of the world's leading solo driver by the Guiness Book of Records. Christer knows his way around places you've never heard of. His longest journey has been 46,000km from northernmost Alaska to southernmost Argentina in a Volvo V70 XC in 1998.

His favourite car is an AWD (All Wheel Drive), one that he can rely on in all weathers. His five tips for solo drivers:

  • Never drive in the dark, except in Europe and North America. Trucks without lights, children playing, camels - everything is on the road.
  • Avoid large cities. You can get involved in accidents or get robbed.
  • Look good at borders. Clean clothes and well shaven makes it easier to get through.
  • Listen to the advice of local inhabitants. But be aware - everything isn't true!
  • Don't complain about things you aren't used to. If you want things like they are at home - stay there!"
Christer, 55, resides in Stenhamra outside Stockholm with his wife, Lotta and children Hampus (10) and seven year old twins, Fanny and Hugo.

The new Volvo Cross Country is capable of traveling virtually everywhere, while providing safety, comfort, convenience and a generous helping of driving pleasure.

Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in February this year it became an immediate success.

The Volvo Cross Country is the latest in the new wave of cross-over vehicles, cars with All Wheel Drive capability, but with the comfort and drivability of a passenger car.

The Cross Country can drive to most parts of Australia, wherever there is a road. It doubles as an up market city family car and a weekend or holiday adventurer.

The new Volvo Cross Country will be launched to the Australian press on 4 September and will be on sale from 15 September 2000.