Stories from Kempten, Germany

Eighty Days Around the World

By: Scott Lashinsky
March 14, 2019

It started to drizzle again when a man pulled up on what I thought was a motorcycle, asking me to take his photo. I could tell from his rain-drenched camouflaged jacket that he had just ridden through the same dreary weather we had confronted in West Virginia. My family and I were headed to Richmond, Va., and had stopped for a selfie in front of a Virginia Is for Lovers sign at the state welcome center on Interstate 64. Taking his cell phone, I prepared to snap his picture, thinking to myself, “If you’d been here a minute earlier, I wouldn’t have had to use the timer on mine.”
Detecting an accent, I asked where he was from. It was clear from the large amount of gear he was carrying that he was a man on a mission. He explained that he was on his way from San Francisco, a city we recently departed—but by air. Pressing further, I discovered this sopping, sociable sojourner was nearing the end of a remarkable journey that began in Madrid, Spain, many week earlier. The interesting thing about his story was not where he had been but his preferred mode of transportation. He chose to make the 16,847-mile excursion through eighteen countries on three Vespa scooters.
A few weeks after we met, Markus Mayer, of Kempten, Germany, became the first person to complete a solo scooter trip around the world in 80 days.

The route Markus Mayer took around the world on three Vespa scooters in 80 days, beginning in Spain on June 30, 2018, and traveling 16,847 miles (27,113 kilometers) in 18 countries. [Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

Markus began his 80-day world tour in Madrid, Spain. All the primary roads in Spain originate from this spot in the Spanish capital. [Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

San Juan, Spain. [Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

[Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

[Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

[Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

Markus embarked on a coast-to-coast tour of the United States during his 80-day world tour, beginning in San Francisco, Calif. [Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

[Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

[Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

This is where I, Scott Lashinsky, Stories of Our City producer, met Markus in Covington, Va. Markus completed his coast-to-coast U.S. tour in Virginia Beach, Va., shortly thereafter. [Photo by Scott Lashinsky]

In order to be prepared for almost everything, Markus' scooters were loaded down with 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of gear—including water, fuel, a medical kit, medication, and camping gear. [Photo courtesy of Markus Mayer]

Learn about Markus' 2014 European journey @


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