201 nations and territories without boarding a plane – Graham Hughes’ adventure

Practically everyone caught up in the romance of travelling has wondered what it would be like to visit every country in the world. Few people can even begin to consider it a realistic goal. Even fewer actually go on to attempt the feat.

In November 2012, Graham Hughes, a 33-year-old man from Liverpool became the first person to travel to all 193 members of United Nations plus Taiwan, Vatican City, Palestine, Kosovo, Western Sahara and the four home nations of The United Kingdom without taking a single flight.

In order to achieve a Guinness World Record certification, Mr Hughes was also limited from driving himself or travelling over large distances in private vehicles (Guinness added these extra stipulations because they do not recognise road races of any kind – no doubt for safety reasons).

Starting on New Year’s Day 2009, it took the enthusiastic, thoughtful and resourceful adventurer 1,426 days to complete his personal odyssey.

 

Graham Hughes with his Russian visa in Kaliningrad

Graham Hughes with his Russian visa in Kaliningrad. Photo by @EveryCountry

 

During that time he covered around 160,000 miles using a combination of his own steam and rides on animals, buses, taxis, trains and boats.

Mr Hughes sustained himself on a relatively shoestring budget of US $100 a week, keeping costs down by couch-surfing and hitching lifts wherever he could – many of the ocean-going legs were accomplished with rides on cargo ships.

Mr Hughes documented his travels on his blog The Odyssey Expedition. The site tells tales of running the blockade into Cuba, meeting the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, a four-day open water crossing to Cape Verde in a leaky wooden boat, being imprisoned for a week in Congo and escaping Muslim fundamentalists in The Philippines with the help of a ladyboy called Jenn.

One word. JEALOUS!

Update: Guinness World Records refused to ratify Mr Hughes’ journey as a record because he had entered Russia – wading through the River Narva from Estonia – without a valid Russian visa. On January 29, he made the journey with a visa, and snapped the picture above in Kaliningrad.

Here are some more pictures from The Odyssey Expedition

 

Territory Number 18: Macau

Territory Number 18: Macau. Photo courtesy of www.theodysseyexpedition.com

Cheap Flights To Macau
Country Number 196: Federated States of Micronesia

Country Number 196: Federated States of Micronesia. Photo courtesy of www.theodysseyexpedition.com

 

Country Number 197: Palau — at Rock Islands Palau.

Country Number 197: Palau — at Rock Islands Palau.
Photo courtesy of www.theodysseyexpedition.com

 

In Morobe, Papua New Guinea.

In Morobe, Papua New Guinea. Photo courtesy of www.theodysseyexpedition.com

 

Graham Hughes - The Republic of Chad

The Republic of Chad. Photo courtesy of www.theodysseyexpedition.com

 

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea. Photo courtesy of www.theodysseyexpedition.com

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

Related
Find your inner stuntman Main Image small

Find your inner stuntman [Interactive]

From classic Bond films like GoldenEye to death-defying docudramas such as The Walk, movies can inspire us in many ways,...
Victoria Elizabeth
11 hauntingly beautiful pictures of adventure and raw beauty Chris Burkard and SmugMug

11 hauntingly beautiful pictures of adventure and raw beauty

Smugmug have launched the fifth film in the SmugMug Films series profiling Chris Burkard,  a self-taught photographer and artist, based...
Oonagh Shiel
These photos will give you serious vertigo

These photos will give you serious vertigo

In the quest to capture the perfect shot, some daredevils take things to the extreme. These fearless globetrotters have scaled...
Tommy Walker
Travel tips See all
Know your passenger rights in case of an airline strike

Airline strike – what are your rights as a passenger?

Picture this: You’re in a taxi to the airport, totally glowing and zen after a week on a Barcelona beach...
cheapflights
Young women friends with headphones and digital tablet on airplane

How to score cheap last-minute flights

Travelling last-minute can be exciting. It’s a great way to shake up your routine, inject some spontaneity into your life...
Oonagh Shiel