These adorable teddy bears could be the world’s most well-travelled cuddly toys – as their photographer owner has chronicled their adventures in 27 different countries.
Christian Kneidinger, 57, has been travelling with his teddy bears, named John and Bob since 2014 – and his taken them to some of the world’s most famous landmarks.
The teddy bears have dressed up in traditional Emirati clothing to visit the Sultan’s Palace in Oman, and have braved the cold on a glacier on Lofoten Island in Norway.
And the teddies do not shy away from other animals, either – as comical photos show John James face to face with a cobra in Morocco, being ‘kissed’ by a cheetah in Spain, and startling a ground squirrel in Austria.
John James and his brother Bob have built up a fan base of over 10,000 followers on social media, where they show off all their adventures, both close to home and far away.
And their photographer owner, Christian, from Linz, Austria, said that he “loves to make people smile” with his photos of the travelling teddies.
He said: “My message with all my pictures is – I love to make you smile.
“The idea was to add something special to my pictures.
“As a nature photographer I like to be in amazing places, and I thought it would be good to add something into the scenery.
“Because my wife doesn’t like to be in the pictures, I tried to find another option.
“That’s where this teddy came in to the scenery, and it worked well. He is now the main actor on most of my pictures.
“The most important thing, and the biggest challenge on my pictures, is that the teddy should look like he is alive, not just a toy.”
Dad-of-two Christian inherited the teddy bear from a box of “leftover” items after his mother died in 2004.
He said: “It was just a cute bear. My mother got it as a bonus from a cosmetic discount store about 25 years ago.
“This kind of bear has not been produced for more than 20 years, so they’re extremely difficult to come by now, as they will all be second-hand.”
Christian’s first travelling photo with John James was taken in Iceland in 2014, with the bear looking out at the famous Kirkjufellfoss waterfall.
And the teddy’s travels escalated from there – with his brother Bob joining the family a year later, in April 2015.
Together, the bears have been photographed in 27 countries, including France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Cuba, the UK, the UAE, Chile, and their home in Austria.
Christian said: “I don’t really have a favourite place or country.
“As a nature photographer I really love to be on lonely, untouched landscapes like Norway, Iceland, or Scotland, or deserts like Oman or Morocco, or in massive forests like on La Gomera in the Canary Islands.
“It doesn’t matter how far away it is.”
And although Covid has put Christian’s travels with the teddies on hold, he already has an idea of the next few countries he would like to visit – to get the bears to their milestone of 30 countries.
He said: “Once the Covid travel restrictions are lifted, my next three countries to visit would be Namibia, Portugal, and Croatia.
“That would take me and the travelling teddy up to 30 countries together since 2014.”
He added that most people are “totally surprised” when they see him start to snap photos of his teddy bears in busy tourist spots.
He said: “The reaction is usually really mixed. Some people are clearly thinking, ‘What the hell is doing with his bears’.
“Some are really curious, and are very surprised when I show them my pictures.
“Most people love the bears and enjoy watching me take pictures of them, sometimes even lying on the floor to get the right perspective.”
For the last six years, Christian has even sold calendars of the travelling teddies – with about 1,500 sales to date in 24 countries, including Canada and Australia.
To buy a travelling teddy calendar, visit: https://travellingteddy.com/.