Wiebe Wakker has driven his electric car through 29 countries to spread his message on environmental sustainability.
KUALA LUMPUR: Dutchman Wiebe Wakker has driven his electric car across 29 countries without spending a cent of his own money.
Instead, the 30-year-old relies on the generosity of the people he meets on his road trip, which started in the Netherlands more than a year and a half ago.
Currently in Malaysia, his 28th pit stop on his “Plug Me In” road trip, Wakker has proven that it is possible to explore the world alone, trusting only in human kindness.
“It was actually a part of my final year project on the importance of environmental sustainability, and then I got the idea to go along with the concept and travel to the other side of the world,” he said.
Wakker is a graduate of the University of Arts in Utrecht.
“So far, I have been away from home for one year and seven months, crossing from one country to another,” he told FMT. “I have another three months to go and I hope to be able to finish my trip in Australia.
“In the meantime, I am spreading the message about sustainability around the world, promoting clean and green energy.
“Sometimes it is not easy because my route would be decided by the offers that I received on the website that I created, www.plugmeinproject.com.”
His website enables people to offer him meals, places to stay and the facility to charge his Volkswagen Golf electric car. The car, which was originally a diesel model, was converted to an electric model in 2009 and needs at least 12 hours of charging for a 200km journey.
As he travels from one country to another, Wakker gets money from donors and sponsors. He will work part-time if there are offers.
He said he had made plenty of friends along the way and also had the opportunity to meet prominent personalities. In Malaysia, he had lunch with countryman Dennis Verbaas, a day before Verbass married Johor princess Tunku Aminah Sultan Ibrahim.
However, he said, there had been difficult times too, such as when the car gave him trouble, when he had problems trying to reach people who had contacted him on social media and when he had to deal with the different visa requirements of the countries he passed through.
However, he said he refused to let such things dampen his spirit and would sleep in his car if he could not get a place to stay for the night.
Wakker has been in Malaysia for almost three months as he tries to raise funds for the next leg of his journey. He plans to go to Indonesia next and then ship his car to Australia, his final destination.