This Couple Dropped Everything To Take Their Young Son on an Unforgettable 17,000-Mile Trip

mihai barbu and family set off on his adventure
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Finland

Somewhere in a far-off land, a motorcycle appears in the distance. Loaded with possessions and with a whole family crammed on board, it relentlessly presses on through the miles and borders. This unlikely vehicle has become the catalyst for an adventure its riders will never forget.

vladimir and oana riding camels in the Sahara desert
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Sahara Desert, Morocco

With the wind in his hair and his girlfriend and child by his side, Mihai Barbu is living the dream. Without once setting foot on an airplane, the 36-year-old photographer is taking his family on an epic adventure to show his young son the world.

vladimir and oana in paris
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Paris, France

On May 25, 2015, Mihai and his girlfriend Oana left their home in Petrila, Romania, with their four-year-old son Vladimir. Mihai had purchased a 2014 Ural Ranger sidecar, and he wanted to take it for a trial run.

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mihai, oana and vladimir scotland
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Scotland, UK

What started off as an experiment to test out the vehicle’s capabilities turned into an epic four-month-long adventure. Mihai and his family simply kept on driving – and racked up an incredible 17,000 miles.

camping in greece
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Alexandroupolis, Greece

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During this time, young Vladimir got to experience different cultures and landscapes in no less than 41 different countries. His parents, meanwhile, got to share an incredible experience with their child that few of us are lucky – or brave – enough to enjoy.

mihai, oana and vladimir crossing the mediterranean
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Crossing the Mediterranean

“In my opinion,” Mihai said in an interview with MailOnline Travel, “motorcycles are the only option when it comes to travel and seeing the world.” As a seasoned traveler, he should know.

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mihai, oana and vladimir in berlin
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Berlin, Germany

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Always a fan of adventure, Mihai had previously embarked on a solo journey to Mongolia aboard a BMW F650GS Dakar motorcycle. And while many guys put aside such pastimes once they become fathers, he was determined to get his whole family in on the action.

mihai, oana and vladimir in budapest
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Budapest, Hungary

“With cars and planes you don’t get to experience that much,” he explained. “You don’t get to feel warm when it’s hot and wet when it’s raining.”

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Hoping that his love of motorcycles would rub off on Oana and Vladimir, Mihai spent $15,000 on the sidecar motorbike, which he called Zair. Then, the trio set out on their incredible journey.

mihai, oana and vladimir in lithuania
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Vilnius, Lithuania

Initially, they had planned for their trip to be a trial run for a longer adventure. But once they got started, they found the appeal of life on the road was just too big a draw.

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mihai, oana and vladimir in morocco
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Chefchaouene, Morocco

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Over the next four months, Mihai, Oana and Vladimir took their motorcycle on an epic adventure across Europe. Mihai wanted his son to experience the world through his own eyes, not those of a tourist guide – and their experience certainly lived up to his expectations.

From Romania they traveled west into Hungary and Austria before heading northwards through Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were next on the list, before the trio hopped on a ferry to explore Scandinavia.

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mihai, oana and vladimir in portugal
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Cabo da Roca, Portugal

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From there they traveled down through Denmark and across Western Europe, taking in plenty of tourist attractions along the way. From the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, to the Scottish Highlands in the U.K, trusty Zair – with Vladimir’s toy sword mounted on the bonnet – carried them wherever they wanted to go.

mihai, oana and vladimir in prague
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Prague, Czech Republic

At the south coast of Spain, they took a ferry to Morocco where they hung out with wild monkeys and rode camels across the Sahara desert. From there, they headed back north over the Pyrenees and through France and Italy, enjoying stops at places such as Monte Carlo and Italy’s Stelvio Pass.

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mihai, oana and vladimir in ross on wye, england
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Ross-on-Wye, England

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After Italy, they headed west through Slovenia and Croatia before slowly making their way home through Eastern Europe. By the end of the trip, their motorcycle proudly displayed the flags of 41 different countries.

mihai, oana and vladimir in slovakia
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Bojnice, Slovakia

With a tent packed on the back of their motorcycle, the family spent many nights sleeping right in the middle of the stunning landscapes they were exploring. In cities, they stayed in cheap hotels or with friends – even spending a night under the stars on top of a hotel in Morocco.

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mihai, oana and vladimir in venice, italy
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Venice, Italy

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Although Mihai had reservations at first about how well Vladimir would cope with the journey, the young boy adapted well to the traveling life. Mihai told the Romanian news website Press One that his son didn’t once ask when they would be returning home and that he was now a master of sleeping in any position.

mihai, oana and vladimir on trollstigen road, norway
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Trollstigen, Norway

“No child in the world,” he said in the interview, “[does] not like the motorcycle with sidecar.” He’s probably right.

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swimming in greece
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Alexandroupolis, Greece

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Mihai went on to describe the joys of spending some real quality time with his family on the road. Thanks to the trip, he and Oana were able to spend 24 hours a day with Vladimir for four whole months – something that most parents do not get to enjoy.

mihai and vladimir add stickers to their collection
Image: Facebook/Mihai Barbu
Romania

“I think,” he mused, “for a baby, that’s the most important thing in the world.” Few parents would disagree with that.

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