The idea was born like so many other crazy ideas before it: on a whim. What could be done to give TÜV SÜD Group, its employees, customers and our magazine’s readers a special gift on the occasion of the company’s one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary? Why not an extraordinary journey? Once around the globe to visit the most interesting locations and colleagues, to show how vibrant and diverse TÜV SÜD has become in the 150 years since its founding.
It would have to go quickly, the trip, as condensed as possible to show the entire breadth of the company, with short stopovers at each facility: today Brazil, tomorrow the United States, a whirlwind tour in keeping with the high-speed pace of modern society. In 150 hours, a fitting number for the company’s anniversary, packing in as many impressions as possible along the way—and ending up right back at the starting point exactly on schedule.
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan needed almost three whole years to complete the first recognized circumnavigation of the world five hundred years ago. Phileas Fogg, the hero of Jules Verne’s novel, still needed all of eighty days in 1873. Today, Lufthansa’s cargo planes accomplish it in about three days’ time (with seven stopovers). One hundred and fifty hours of travel time for the TÜV SÜD project thus seemed like a realistic goal.
The team for this fantastic voyage was TÜV SÜD Head of Publications Jörg Riedle, the experienced journalist Michael Kneissler and the young camera-woman Annekatrin Meyers. Preparations took months. The adventure began on November 4, 2015, heading directly south. First stop: South Africa. From here the journey continued, zigging and zagging westward around the globe: almost 60,000 kilometers by plane, by car and by off-road vehicle, by rail and by ship. The net travel time was calculated, but the clock stopped ticking if the traveling speed dropped below 10 kilometers per hour.
After 21 days—and 148 hours of net traveling time—the team was back, with films, pictures and stories from four continents and a dozen destinations. And with dozens of impressions from the fantastic people who give their best at TÜV SÜD every day.