After 1,426 days (almost 4 years), four full passports, countless trains, buses and boats, and one failed relationship, a United Kingdom man has become the first person to go to all 201 countries around the world, without flying.
On Monday morning, Graham Hughes entered South Sudan, his last and newest country to visit – it did not exist when he started his journey on New Year’s Day in 2009.
Since that time, Hughes, 33, traveled to all 193 U.N. Member states, along with the Western Sahara, Taiwan, Kosovo, Vatican City, the Palestinian territory, and the four nations of the U.K. The entire trip, which cost about $20 a day, was by ship, train, taxi or bus, and at no time did Hughes travel by air, which set a Guinness World Record.
Hughes, is even refusing to travel by plane now that he has achieved his goal, so he will continue across Europe and Africa by boat, and bus aiming to return to Liverpool by ferry from Dublin in time for Christmas.
Hughes told the Daily Telegraph from Juba, the capital of South Sudan that the primary feeling today is one of immense gratitude to every one globally who helped him, by giving him a ride, letting him sleep on their couch or giving him directions.
He found at times, when he was sitting in a bus station at one in the morning in Cambodia, or when he rode some awful truck over horrible roads, that he wondered why he was doing it’ but he always found a reason to keep on trucking.
Highlights of his round-the-world journey were swimming in a jellyfish lake in the Pacific archipelago of Palau, watching the last Space Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral, and dancing with the tribes of Papua New Guinea.