Hans & Marry Open Their Doors

We have a little pride about our car. It’s old enough to feel classic. It’s got a stove, two beds, runs on vegetable oil, and loves us back. When we pulled up on the beach at Puerto Inca, I saw what truly loving your car looks like. Looming above us was a cobalt blue truck and on its back what looked like the truck version of a quaint cabin. It wasn’t until the following morning that we got up the courage to go to talk to the owners, an older, distinguished looking couple, as they were lying on the beach. Warm and inviting, we soon got the back story on their amazing vehicle and a tour of the inside of their home.

Hans & Marry Stöpler are from a small town near Rotterdam, Netherlands. Hans, a former PE teacher and his wife Marry, decided in their retirement to travel thoroughly around the world and to do it in style. Around 20 years ago, Hans bought the cab of a ’60s Mercedes truck with a classic design and beautiful rounded lines. From there he decided, with the help of a mechanic friend, to take on building out the ultimate mobile home. The interior of the truckcabin is all wood native to Australia where their son lives. The seats in the front cab are covered with zebra stripes. From the cab you go through a round porthole in the back living space. Originally a metal rectangle built by Hans, the entire surface has been covered in the same wood and designed much like a boat. Two beds stacked and pivoted 90 degrees made of carved wood, take up the back wall. The kitchen has many round drawers and a small stovetop, and the kitchen table is a giant wood chessboard.

The exterior of the car is a deep cobalt blue and is covered in stickers from their many sponsors. Strapped to the car are various lights, horns, gadgetry, and on the back, two dirt bikes, another passion of this amazing couple.

After retiring, Hans & Marry, have shipped their truckcabin to a different continent once every few years to slowly explore. Their original trip was to Africa, starting in South Africa and making their way north. This time, they shipped their vehicle to Buenos Aires and had already been on the road a year when we met them. Clearly used to a bit of attention, Hans and Marry dish out advice on where to go, and share photos of the construction of their home. When asked about their adventures they talk not only about the spectacular places they have visited but also about some of the challenges: exotic car troubles, a bit too much attention from police, and persistent theft – a fair warning to us younger travelers.

Meeting Hans & Marry was also a reminder to keep in mind how much broader the range of choices available is than I normally think. Although sometimes at the cost of routine comforts, it is a remarkable example that this couple has done so for the sake of their strong instincts and imagination.