Lonely Planet Writer

See amazing mini-car road trips in this photographer’s wanderlust-inspiring series

Whether off-roading through the mountains, or driving down the streets of Europe, an Instagram account featuring tiny toy cars shows off some very big road trips – and is enough to inspire any traveller’s wanderlust.

Photographer Kim Leuenberger captures pictures of little cars in a variety of amazing destinations like the UK, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Colombia and more.

Kim moved from Switzerland to the UK two-and-a-half-years ago and is in her second year of a Bachelor of Arts degree at London College of Communication. But outside of her studies, she devotes her free time to travelling and taking photographs.

Kim told Lonely Planet that the Travelling Cars series all began five years ago, when she took a picture of a mini-van in her garden for a project to raise awareness about autism. After posting it on Instagram, people told her that picture made them smile, so she kept carrying the car wherever she travelled and taking more pictures. Eventually, she began buying more toy cars whenever she was on holidays.

“I find new cars when I travel; they’ve got this great little personality, and remind me of that road-trip sort of outlook on life. They’re quite nostalgic, but really happy memories at the same time”, she said. Now, her photography lets her travel to new places and promote locations around the world.

While she does freelance landscape photography work, Kim says “the toy cars have become my sort of little bubble”, saying she can take photos of the cars for hours.

In 2016, Kim has already taken 15 flights, travelling to Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, France, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica and Denmark – adding that she fell in love with Colombia and would like to go back soon.

I’m coming home I’m coming, tell the world I’m coming home🇨🇭 This weekend has been one of those you’ll remember all your life. Saturday and Sunday with awesome people at the #instameetgraubünden then heading back to my childhood’s home in the Jura on Sunday night catching up with my best friends, heading with them to Morgenstreich at 2am on Monday morning after that heading to Lucerne and then back to Zurich. I almost went to Bern as well🙈 I’ve never realized until this weekend how much I missed living in my little home country. Writing it all down so I don’t forget it 😁 By the way, I’m taking over the 500px account this week with my @travellingcars! I will also choose some of my fav pictures on 500px #kimou💙500px

A photo posted by Kim Leuenberger (@kim.ou) on Feb 16, 2016 at 12:19am PST

As for where she and her cars want to travel to next – that would be Thailand and Southeast Asia, as well as Canada, Scotland, Cornwall, Wales and Northern Ireland.

🇨🇭Heya Switzerland Motherland, I’m back! Well not quite yet, but almost. Been up since 4am and departing soon from City airport (my favorite in the whole world). I’m so excited to be back in 🇨🇭 and eat proper cheese fondue, milk chocolate, drink Rivella and the one thing I missed the most: eat Paprika Zweifel Chips. I also look forward to be back somewhere where I don’t need to spell out my last name and people can pronounce it better than I can. But most of all, I look forward to adventure the @graubuenden, a region at the complete opposite of the country from the Jura where I grew up and that I don’t really know. This little car that usually resides in my home county, made the travel all the way down south east to meet me there when I land! Too much excitement!!!! Have all an amazing day😍😘😻

A photo posted by Kim Leuenberger (@kim.ou) on Sep 29, 2015 at 11:14pm PDT

Despite often looking like quite authentic, Kim notes that her pictures aren’t meant to trick people into thinking they’re real: “ it’s more of a game I play with myself, and when I share them online and people tell me it makes them smile, it’s the best feedback I can get!”