A British man has accomplished what many world travelers have only dreamed of. Over the course of the past four years, he has managed to visit every country on the planet
, which is a very impressive feat considering some of the places he had to go to in order to earn this unique distinction. But perhaps most impressive of all is that he traveled to all of those places without ever stepping foot on a plane, something that is increasingly difficult in this day and age.Graham Hughes (33) set out on his journey on January 1, 2009. He began his travels in Uruguay
and continued on for 203 weeks before finally reaching his 201st, and final, country earlier this week. His last stop was South Sudan
, the Earth’s newest nation and one that didn’t even exist when he started his wanderings.Hughes tells Australian newspaper The Age
that he traveled with four rules as his guiding principles. First and foremost, he barred himself from ever flying. He also vowed to not drive himself anywhere either, which meant that in order to get around he had to take scheduled ground transportation. Finally, in order to say that he officially visited a country he had to step foot on dry land.
In order to visit every country on Earth he of course had to find ways to get into places like Iraq
. You would think that those places would be extremely challenging to enter, but Graham says that many of them lack the infrastructure necessary to properly patrol their borders, making it relatively easy to slip in or out. Other countries weren’t quite so easy, however, as he was arrested while trying to sneak into Russia
and was detained for a week in the Congo
The most difficult countries to reach, at least in terms of logistics, were island nations like those found in the South Pacific. Hughes says that supply ships visit them infrequently and he often had to time his travel just right or risk missing a ship and end up waiting for weeks for the next one to embark. Most of us would obviously just hop a flight, but when you ban yourself from using that form of travel, it can really limit your mobility.
In 2009, Graham set a world record for visiting the most countries in a single year at 133. After that, he spent the ensuing months knocking off the remaining 68 countries while also raising funds for WaterAid, an organization dedicated to promoting clean drinking water around the globe.
So, what do you think of Graham’s efforts? Is he the ultimate world traveler or the ultimate guy with a checklist? This guy just lived my dream.
That’s /crazy/, but also amazing! But he can probably go back to the countries he really liked, right? Then he can take his time.
Thanks for sharing!
Absolutely! And he’s still very young, only 33.
Is he saying he got in to North Korea? Either way, I’m impressed.
That was my first thought as well. Apparently he got in somehow!
I followed your link to his blog and have been there ever since! He booked a tour to the DeMilitarised Zone (DMZ) where a series of negotiating huts straddle the border. You’re not supposed to cross the line that runs down the middle, but he hopped over before anyone could stop him!
That is insane!! Thank you very much for that update! What a true adventurer.
I agree whole heartedly with you, I would love to replicate his travels but do so at a much slower pace. Thanks for sharing this. Also, I have been really enjoying your blog.
Thank you so much! Very happy to hear that :)
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Hats off to this guy!
What a dude!
How did he support himself while doing this?
Well, he didn’t ever pay for a plane ticket… He just strictly took public organized transportation like buses and trains or ferries to get around. He had a shoestring budget of less than $100 a week, and kept costs down by CouchSurfing with locals and hitching rides on cargo ships whenever possible. Insane!!
I want to try that……….Lol
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