Stories from Kempten, Germany

Eighty Days Around the World

By: Scott Lashinsky
March 14, 2019

It had just started to drizzle again. My family and I were headed to Richmond, Virginia, via Interstate 64, confronting a bit of rain along the way. We had just taken a timed family selfie at the Virginia is For Lovers sign outside the state welcome center, when a man on what I thought was a motorcycle pulled up—camouflage jacket drenched with rain. He asked if I would take a photo of him. I obliged, taking his cellphone, thinking that if he’d arrived a minute earlier we wouldn’t have had to use the timer on mine.

Given the amount of gear he was carrying, it was clear this was a man on a mission. Detecting an accent, I asked where he was from. He said he was coming from San Francisco, a city we had also recently departed, but by air. Pressing further, I discovered this sopping, sociable sojourner came all the way from Germany and was on the tail end of a remarkable journey.

Sixteen thousand eight hundred and forty-seven miles. Eighty days. Eighteen countries. Three Vespa scooters. One man. A few weeks later, Markus Mayer would become the first person to complete a solo scooter trip around the world in just 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 more about Markus' 2014 European journey @


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