Published on December 11th, 20120
World Record: Visit all 201 states without flying (VIDEO)
A British adventurer became the first person who had traveled all the 201 sovereign states of the world without flying. Daring journey ended Monday, November 26 2012, when he arrived in the newest country South Sudan (becoming an independent state on 9 July 2011).
Graham Hughes used taxis, boats, buses, trains and their feet - but no aircraft - to travel 160,000 miles (over 250,000 kilometers) in 1426 days, spending an average of less than $ 100 a week.
“I love to travel. I guess the reason I undertook this journey is that I wanted to see if I can do if a person with a limited budget can visit all over the world”, said Hughes to CS Monitor. “I also wanted to show that the world is a big scary place, but it is full of people who want to help you even if you are a foreigner”, said Hughes by phone from Juba, capital of South Sudan.
Graham Hughes, aged 33, went on this trip on January 1, 2009, starting in his hometown, Liverpool. Since then, Britain has visited all 193 UN member countries and Palestine, Kosovo, Western Sahara, Taiwan, the Vatican and the four nations that make up the United Kingdom.
Organization Guinness World Records confirmed that Hughes is the first person who manages to visit all countries without flying. Britain has filmed adventures throughout the trip and will produce a documentary. Also along the journey Hughes raised money for a charity called Water Aid.
“In this moment I feel a great sense of gratitude to everyone around the world who helped me help here, whether they took me away, I left her to sleep on the couch or just me showed the direction to travel”, said Hughes. “There were difficult times, eg one morning when I was at a bus stop in Cambodia and I went into a terrible truck on a road where I wondered « why do that? ». But I always found a reason to go on “.
Among the special moments of the trip were the chance to swim in a lake full of jellyfish in Palau, the chance to witness the final launch of a NASA spacecraft and can dance with tribes in the jungles of Papua New Guinea island.
“People have asked me how I would go to Afghanistan or Iraq or North Korea, but they were mild countries, I had no visa for Iraq, I simply passed the border from Turkey”, said daredevil traveler.
“The most difficult countries were achieved Nauru, Maldives and Seychelles island states around which sometimes sailing pirates”, said Hughes.
To cross oceans, Hughes “hitched” being taken on board cargo ships. Britain spent four days in a fishing canoe traveling from Senegal to Cape Green, was arrested on arrival.
Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities kept him in jail for 6 days, claiming he is a spy.
“None of this did not make me quit, but these challenges have persisted harder I manage to go head trip”, said Hughes.
The most difficult, “when I really wanted to quit” was two years old when his older sister, Nicola, died of cancer at the age of 39 years. Hughes rushed to get home to see it before he died.
“She told me not to stop traveling, but I felt terrible. 184 countries visited and I was only 17 and I thought to stop there”, recalls Hughes.
Briton passed over this difficult time, traveling in honor of his sister and think of all the people he met along the expedition and the money he raised for Water Aid organization, which strives to make drinking water available to all people in developing countries.
“If you think about everything you know about the world of the news come to mind things only evil and become paranoid that everyone wants to hurt you”, says Hughes. “For me it was great to discover that everyone I knew took care of me and did not even know me”, adds the Brit.
Hughes stayed a few days in South Sudan, after which he wants to continue in the same spirit of adventure. Britain will continue to travel through Africa and Europe by bus and boat and will return to Liverpool without flying, ferry until Christmas.
After a long rest, Hughes says she’s going to try to make a career as a filmmaker.