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48 hours in Schladming
June, 2022
Alexander Tempel and Ilka Tempel were on a special mission on two blazing hot and rainy days at the dawn of summer 2022. The seasoned filmer/photographer and writer duo were able to team up to cover an assignment for Daimler Truck AG, their cute nine month old Bernese Mountain Dog Lana in tow.
Project #114 by KRUG EXPEDITION was about to hit a major milestone with the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 4x4 1840 chassis to be married with its type A layout 5950mm Series Module. Take a look at the story (in German language) on ‘Transport Magazin’ by Mercedes-Benz Trucks here and another inspiring article on the Mercedes-Benz RoadStars platform here

Review the fruitful results of two days around the Austrian headquarters of KRUG EXPEDITION including the workshop, campus and close by areas of interest including the weighing station, and gain a glimpse of what life of an in demand power couple in content creation and publishing looks like with a short Q+A below.

— Alexander, we’d love to hear some basics from you, for example how you became a photographer and author, and what your motivation is to seek the unusual.

— Turning your passion into a profession is a dream of a lot of people. And that is exactly what I did. 

After graduating with a Bachelor in Sport Management I worked a couple of years for the Australian School of Business (University of New South Wales) in Sydney. When I returned home to Hamburg, Germany, I decided to follow my passion for visual storytelling and became a self-taught photographer and filmmaker. 

Since 2017 I work for the Mercedes-Benz Trucks team and this year I published my first book „GlücksUmwege“ (which means something like „Detour to happiness“) with National Geographic.
— Ilka, you are a writer, please tell us more about your coming of age, how international living has shaped your path and what your current focus is.
— After working for 12 years for one of the Big Four accounting firms in communications and marketing in Sydney and Hamburg I realized I needed a change. 

I quit my job, volunteered on mountain farms in the Alps and then traveled with Alexander to collect stories for the „GlücksUmwege“ book. While traveling we met so many inspiring people that taught me you have to follow your heart to be full and truly happy. I became really passionated about regenerative agriculture and permaculture, set up my own veggie garden and am now writing stories about farmers who are practicing sustainable agriculture. 

And of course, Alexander and I team up to produce stories for Daimler Truck AG and other clients with me covering storyline, interviews, and writing articles. It’s great to combine traveling with work. 
— What did you expect from a visit to KRUG EXPEDITION, and what was the greatest take away from seeing the marriage between the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 4x4 chassis and living module?
— Alexander: We are off-road enthusiast ourselves and therefore we were very excited to be able to create a story about the  KRUG EXPEDITION Series Module habitat in combination with the Mercedes-Benz Arocs. It was great to witness and document the marriage and to see that two great products were combined to a new one. 

Ilka: I was curious to see the living modules from inside and feel the cosiness as well as practicability. I was surprised about the features like redundant heating system or having an oven on board.
— You are spending quite a lot of time in your own overloading pick up truck yourself. What’s the draw for you both, besides the obvious convenience of being able to be more spontaneous with weaving every day life, travel for pleasure and work together?
— As freelancers we need to be very flexible, especially with the experience of the pandemic in the last two years. 

Being able to travel to productions and to have our own hotel and office on wheels with us all the time is a great benefit. This flexibility also allows us to work on our own projects like the book „GlücksUmwege“. For this project we traveled with our over-landing pickup truck through the Alps for four month to photograph happy people and tell their stories. 

We can’t imagine how we would have done this project without the flexibility of this car. Being able to drive, live and work everywhere is just awesome.
— Please tell us more about ‘GlücksUmwege’, which you dedicated to your late mother.
 Early 2020 my mom passed away very suddenly and unexpected. This tragic event and the first lockdown of the pandemic on top of it made me think a lot about happiness. 

During this time I had the idea to explore how other people find their way to happiness and I raised the question to myself „Is it possible to capture happiness in photographs“? I decided to do this project in the Alps. For four months, my wife Ilka and I traveled without a fixed route through this treasured mountain range  and captured stories about happy people. 

These stories and photos were now published in the book „GlücksUmwege“ with National Geographic. Its a very special book to me as I met so many great people on this trip who helped me to overcome the loss of my mother.
— Are there any favorite places you would always like to come back to in the Alps?
— Alexander: I have lots of favorite places now in the Alps and almost all of them are connected to the people I met during my trip. I found it very special that these people took time for my project to tell their stories. 

With some of them great friendships have developed which I didn’t expect when starting this project. I really enjoyed my time in South Tyrol, in the Wilder Kaiser region in Tyrol, in the National Park Hohe Tauern and in the Zugspitz region in Germany. But these are just some of the highlights.

Ilka: I love the Wilder Kaiser region in Austria and the Seiser Alm in South Tyrol. There are so many wonderful places and I connect these places with people who are very special in my life. I also like the small city Lana near Meran in South Tyrol very much, that’s why we named our dog „Lana“.
— What is your best piece of advice traveling with a dog?
— It’s new for us to travel with a dog and we are loving it. Lana is a Bernese Mountain Dog from South Tyrol and a great travel companion. 

When we picked her up as a nine weeks old puppy from Hafling last October, we spent the first two weeks camping with her. This was a lot of fun and to be honest, Lana was the star everywhere we went to. She is a very relaxed and chilled dog with a good character, always friendly to everyone which is perfect when you travel as it connects you easily to other people. 

I found traveling and living with a dog slows you down a bit, but in a good way. You take more breaks while being on the road, which is not only important for the dog but also for us to shake out our legs and get some fresh air. To have Lana with us on a production like here in Schladming, is of course a little bit challenging but the Krug family welcomed her very much and took good care of here while we were filming and interviewing.
— Where to next?
— Good question and hard to answer. After Schladming we went back home to Northern Germany but the next productions in different parts of Germany are already scheduled. For leisure time or maybe a new project we may head to Scandinavia in autumn.
Join Alexander and Ilka on their path of finding fulfilment in every day life and work on Instagram.
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