A BRIT moving back to blighty from New Zealand couldn’t bear to part with his old banger van, so drove it all the way home: for 40,000 miles.

Joss Quilty spent ten months in his beloved Toyota Land Cruiser, over three continents and 23 countries, and at one point narrowly avoiding a suicide bomber.

The 30-year-old decided to take on the epic journey with his girlfriend Romy Romagnoli because he didn’t want to leave his motor Down Under.

The pair shipped the £6,000 car to Malaysia and began the trek from there.

They passed through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Iran before reaching Europe.

They then worked their way across Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania, Montengro, Italy, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and France, before ending up at home in Thornbury, Gloucestershire.

Joss said: “I had bought this old Toyota and kind of wanted to keep it. It’s a really good car and I’m just amazed that it was possible."

"Our budget was very tight for the whole trip. We tried to sleep in the vehicle the whole way, with mattresses in the back.

"Romy and I were very much in this together in terms of making decisions: to drive the car back, choosing the route, splitting the money 50/50.

"There is no way I could have done the trip without her. She's tough and very keen on a challenge!"

He added: "There is danger, but everyone you meet is so kind and welcoming, that's what makes it.

"We had to have armed guards for some parts , such as when you follow the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"We had a close shave with the Taliban there, after leaving a military base. We had a guy with an AK-47 with us in the car.

"We were driving along when he leaned forward and told us to drive fast because there was a female suicide bomber nearby.

"I was s******* it. The car could only do a maximum of 50mph! I don't know what happened next. We never heard."

Joss also had problems getting into trouble-hit Iran with his UK passport, although Romy sailed through with her Italian credentials.

He said: "It was really difficult. It took me a few months of effort to get a visa, and $1000."

But the pair said the majority of people they encountered were lovely, and willing to do anything for them.

He said: "They all wanted to help, even though they had nothing. It's the people you meet that make the places.

"One woman brought out her baby to look at me because it had not seen a white person before."

Accountant Joss bought the red car while he was living and working in New Zealand.

He and Romy then spent another £6,000 on renovations as it had suffered some wear and tear since its manufacture in 2000.

The couple were inspired to take on the challenge after getting fed up of hearing their friends talk about their experiences.

Joss said: "All of our friends are adventurers. We would go to the pub and they would make you think: 'I should be doing something with my life'.

"After that we just decided to do it."

Joss proposed to social worker Romy in a pub when they finally arrived back home, after five years together.

She said yes and the couple have now decided to move up to Scotland, with the Toyota.

But they are hoping to do another trip before they go, possibly travelling from Alaska, in the USA, to Argentina.

Joss said: "Walking around Bristol doesn't exactly have the same appeal.

"The people we saw, the way they live, we came back and people were arguing about vegan sausage rolls. It was just depressing."