Graham Hughes – Every Country in the World with no Air Travel – Amazing Vagabond

Editor’s Note: The uptight folks at Guinness have finally given him credit as of January 5, 2014. Republishing now from 9 Feb 2013.

Graham HughesGraham Hughes (@everycountry )is an Amazing Vagabond. The British man is the first in the world to ever visit all 201 countries without using air transport. The task took him four years and was completed in November of 2012. At the moment, there is some controversy attached to his feat as the Guinness Book of World Records has refused to acknowledge his accomplishment because his crossing into Russia was illegal. They don’t hold with breaking the law – and yet, he did it. Early this year he crossed into Russia legally and is waiting to hear back from the uptight suits at Guinness.

Graham Hughes

Hughes was born in Liverpool, England in 1979.

graham hughesHis quest began in 2008 and was covered by a program on the National Geographic Channel called “Graham’s World”. During the course of his “Odyssey Expeditions” he was arrested numerous times and proved himself to be a regualr pain in the ass to authorities and a pretty cool guy to the rest of us. He was imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, arrested when he snuck into Russia, and ran a blockade in Cuba.

The rules of his trip were: no flying, no private transport (a rule enforced by the Guinness World Records race regulations, which cannot condone a public race in private vehicles) and no travelling to far flung territories and counting them as visiting the motherland. For example he couldn’t visit French Polynesia and count it as visiting France.

Hughes traveled 160,000 miles in 1,426 days – all on a budget of just $100 a week. He kept costs low through couchsurfing and hitching rides with locals and cargo ships.

Best quote?

I think I wanted to show that the world is not some big, scary place, but in fact is full of people who want to help you

Although, this bit from his bio page might be a close runner up:

If you had to define in a sentence what drives him perhaps it’s the desire that years from now schoolchildren across the land will be required to learn his date of birth.

Graham Hughes Route
Greaham Hughes Route

In fact, Hughes description of his journey is worthy of quoting all by itself

It was an adventure of epic proportions. I spent four days crossing open ocean in a leaky wooden boat to reach Cape Verde, I was imprisoned for a week in Congo and was arrested whilst attempting to sneak into Russia.

I ran the blockade into Cuba, blagged my way into Eritrea, ran around Iraq with an AK-47, spent seven days in Tibet and warned schoolchildren in Afghanistan about the dangers of men with beards.

I met the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, rode on top of a 18-wheeler through the northern badlands of Kenya, hitched a ride on a cruise ship to The Dominican Republic, joined a Bwiti tribe in Gabon, screamed at the ocean in El Salvador and watched a space shuttle blast off in the USA.

I’ve fed the crocs in Australia, hunted the dragons of Komodo, befriended the orangutans in Borneo, played with the lemurs in Madagascar, washed the elephants in India and eaten live octopus in South Korea.

I tip-toed into North Korea, took the slow boat to Nauru, danced with the Highlanders of Papua New Guinea and was rescued from Muslim fundamentalists in The Philippines by a ladyboy called Jenn.

Yes, he’s an Amazing Vagabond. No doubt about that.

Extraordinary Vagabonds: Harry Franck, Pioneer of the Vagabonds

This is an excerpt from my book “Vagabonds: Sometimes Getting Lost is the Point” . It’s available as an ebook for kindle or ebook readers. Over the next several months we will be exploring some of these amazing vagabond characters from the past (and present).

In terms of extraordinary vagabonds, it’s hard to imagine someone who fits the bill more than Harry Franck. This literary vagabond traveled the world and wrote more than thirty books about his adventures during the early 1900’s.

Among Franck’s books are:

A Vagabond Journey Around the World (1910, The Century Company)
Four Months Afoot in Spain (1911, Century Company)
Tramping Through Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras (1916, The Century Company)
Trailing Cortez Through Mexico
Vagabonding Down the Andes (1917, The Century Company)
Vagabonding Through Changing Germany (1920, Harper)
Roaming Through the West Indies (1920, The Century Company)
Working North from Patagonia (1921, The Century Company)
Wandering in Northern China (1923, The Century Company)
Marco Polo Junior(1929, The Century Company)
Zone Policeman 88 (Panama Canal)
South America:
Prince of the Vagabonds: Harry Franck
Glimpses of Japan and Formosa (1924, The Century Company)
Roving Through Southern China (1925, The Century Company)
All About Going Abroad (1927, Brentano’s Inc.)
East of Siam (1926, The Century Company)
The Fringe of the Moslem World (1928, The Century Company)
I Discover Greece (1929, The Century Company)
A Scandinavian Summer (1930, The Century Company)
Foot-Loose in the British Isles (1932, The Century Company)
Trailing Cortez Through Mexico (1935,Frederick A. Stokes Publishing)
A Vagabond in Sovietland (1935, Frederick A. Stokes Publishing)
Roaming in Hawaii(1937, Frederick A. Stokes Publishing)
Sky Roaming Above Two Continents (1938, Frederick A. Stokes Publishing)
The Lure of Alaska (1939, Frederick A. Stokes Publishing, later printings by JB Lippincott Co.)
Rediscovering South America (1943, JB Lippincott Co.)

As you can see by his titles, this guy got around and was most certainly a pioneer of the modern vagabond spirit. What makes him special is that he was at that point when mass travel was just becoming an option for getting from place to place. As you can see from the picture above, Franck was a backpacker in an age when there really weren’t any backpackers. Certainly he had to make his own gear and figure out things that would make most modern backpackers quiver with nervousness.
Vagabond Harry Franck Franck’s first journey was after his freshman year of college when he decided to see Europe with just $3.18. Not a lot of money even in the 1900’s. He did it. The next year, on a bet, he managed to work his way not only across the Atlantic but around the world with no money at all to start and then published Vagabond Journey Around the World in 1910.

Harry Franck’s willingness to travel with no money, his keen eye for the details of his journey and the societies he recorded (some of which soon disappeared) make him a welcome addition to our list of Extraordinary Vagabonds.

Amazing Vagabond – Chris Guillebeau – Every Country in the World

This is an excerpt from my book “Vagabonds: Sometimes Getting Lost is the Point” . It’s available as an ebook for kindle or ebook readers. Over the next several months we will be exploring some of these amazing vagabond characters from the past (and present).

Some years ago, a friend sent me a link to Chris Guillebeau’s website.

amazing vagabond chris guillebeau“Wow. You should do this.” That’s what she wrote to me. As if it were the simplest thing in the world to visit every country of the world. And that is really the magic of Chris Guillebeau – he makes it seem that simple. Maybe he even makes it that simple, though I haven’t met anyone else who is going about things the way he is, so I really can’t say.

One thing is for sure, Chris is amazing. The website I looked at and was referred to was his blog at http://chrisguillebeau.com/. If you haven’t yet heard of him or his work, let me give you the cliff notes version from his bio page.

I served as a volunteer executive for a medical charity in West Africa from 2002-2006. It was thrilling, challenging, and exhausting—all good qualities to have in an adventure. I gave keynote speeches to presidents, hung out with warlords, and learned far more in those four years than anything I learned in college.

After my time in West Africa came to an end in 2006, I came to Seattle for a graduate program in International Studies at the University of Washington. I enjoyed my studies, but I enjoyed travel even more – during every break between quarters, I traveled independently to countries like Burma, Uganda, Jordan, Macedonia, and 20 more.

And then…he decided to change the world.

Chris is a self-employed dude who set himself the task of visiting every country in the world and created a blog called The Art of Non-Conformity. In 2008 he published a manifesto called (not surprisingly) A Brief Guide to World Domination. I recommend that you download it free from his site right now. In 2010 he published The Art of Non-Conformity and as of right now, Chris has visited all but one country in the world in his quest.  Along the way, he has inspired people, created new projects, and shown countless (I’m sure someone could count them, but I can’t) people how to ‘travel-hack’ i.e. use airline systems of points and rewards to improve their travel and improve their lives. His recently released book The $100 Startup is a entrepreneurial self-help masterpiece that I recommend you read (even if I do tend to think that Chris and the people he profiles are far from the average folk he portrays them to be).

Here is something truly Amazing about Chris – despite his intense popularity, his incredible accomplishments, and his ultra-positive ‘you can do it’ message – you would be hard pressed to find anyone who will say a bad word about him. Compare that with author Tim Ferris who I will profile next week and you will see why that is so amazing. Chris Guillebeau is such a genuinely nice guy that even the hater trolls can’t seem to hate him.

Chris has been featured in the New York Times, Psychology Today, Business Week, Budget Travel, Oregonian, La Presse, Washington Times, MSNBC, Anderson Cooper’s 360 and on a laundry list of great websites you should read if you don’t already: Seth Godin, Slate, LifeHacker, Zen Habits, Behance, Career Renegade, Happiness Project, Rolf Potts Vagablogging, and literally hundreds of other blogs (now including Vagobond.com).

He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Jolie although where he is at any given moment is incredibly difficult to say for certain.  If you don’t virtually or personally know Chris yet, I recommend you bring him into your life.

Vagobond Travel Museum – Snow Leopards and Hammocks

Welcome to the Vagobond Travel Museum!

Vagabond Travel Museum
We’ve got our missiles locked on awesome travel (jeessh that’s stupid…haha)

The web is full of great travel blogs, travel stories, travel photos and travel videos – the hard part is finding them. I curate the best travel stories I find

While these aren’t necessarily my first choices, I”ve been to most of these cities and found them all to be fantastic. It’s a great list from Around the World L
8 Places to Live Around the World

This post from trans-americas was not only an enjoyable read but was about one of those things on my bucket list, fly fishing. Isla Hobla looks like the right place for me to take it up and learn the ropes, don’t you think?

This was one of my favorite finds of the week just for the sheer awesome oddness of it. I mean, who would think to make a hammock out of crushed beer cans and then say it’s comfortable…but I believe them.

This is a particularly nice page of hammocks – This one of a couple in a single line tree hanging hammock just speaks incredible volumes, but you have to wonder who the voyeur watching them was.

Carnival season: costumed revellers in Trinidad, Paraguay, Uruguay and VeniceLong ago I met a beautiful woman from Uruguay in Waikiki – we had dinner, took some moonlit walks on the beach and she told me about her country which I had never really thought about before. This article might get you thinking about Uruguay, though probably not with the same thoughts I had.

Finally,  I have to admit, I like the collectivist nature of this site and what it is saying. http://indietravel.org/

Vagobond Travel Museum

Welcome to the Vagobond Travel Museum

 

The web is full of great travel blogs, travel stories, travel photos and travel videos – the hard part is finding them amidst all the garbage. I curated the best travel stories I find and bring you the highlights.

One of my favorite ongoing travel sagas is this ultra long distance cycle trip of Matt McDonald and Andy Madeley. They wander into a Turkish den of iniquity and secure visa entry to Iran on their 13,000-mile trip to Sydney.

 This  incredibly beautiful post from pxleyes made me long for waterfalls in Hawaii and elsewhere. I’ve been to about 20 of these 50 amazing falls…what about you?

The Guardian also continues to hit travel with an often missing these days journalistic eye. This wonderful piece about Japan from the point of view of a salaryman goes way beyond some blogger getting drunk in a hostel. Kuzuhara-san leads Chris Michael on a tour of the hidden Tokyo where an army of office workers get to let off steam at the end of the day. Awesome read.

In video this week, it was the excavation of this giant ant hill that captured me more than anything else.  Believe it or not, this video inspired controversy as rumors were spread that it killed several billion ants…in fact, it was abandoned and not the lost city of Atlantis, though it looked like it might have been.

Okay, back to the non-journalistic exploits of teens and twenty somethings put out on the internet in a show of exhibitionism…let’s have a go at sex on the road! This very funny and incredibly presented tidbit from Finding the Universe is a very worthy induction into the travel museum. Enjoy sex on the road! Why don’t we do it, on the ro-oooad!

This post about Hemingway and Idaho from the slightly disturbingly named Bulls and Beavers is a reminder that sometimes great travel pieces come from unexpected places. Bulls and Beavers is all about hunting and fishing.

Travel Wire Asia brought some pretty good information to the table this week in this aptly titled piece 5 Great Travel Myths. Surprise, leaving your mobile on won’t crash the plane and people in Korea probably don’t speak English.

This older post from Uncornered Market about how to travel outside of your comfort zone is really a great one for those who want to get the most out of their travels. The piece has been around for a while, but since this was the first time I’ve seen it – it gets brought into the Travel Museum. Great advice.

 

Around the World in 18 Days – An iPad App/ Travel eBook

When I was a kid I loved all the books by Jules Verne. In fact, I still do. One of the best of them is Around the World in 80 Days. I’m not sure, but I think the combination of that book with all the National Geographics I used to pore over at my grandmother’s house led to the world traveler I am today.
I’m also guessing that based on the title of his book, photographer and writer Andy Davies was influenced by Mr. Verne as well. As some of you know, I’m engaged in a very slow journey around the world so when I first saw Andy’s book, I thought to myself that it was just too fast, but upon checking it out, I have to admit it. I’m jealous as hell. Andy made a very cool trip and saw more in 18 days than many travelers see in a lifetime. To cover that much ground that quickly and with a purpose…very cool.

around the world singapore Andy’s trip took him through Hong Kong, Singapore, Cairo, Istanbul, Venice, Zurich, Bruges, London, and Paris. His photos – astounding. You can check out some of them at Around the World Book. His book is more than the photos though.

I feel like in the short time he was in each place, he was able to take a glimpse into the souls of the people and the cultures. Maybe it’s from being so acutely aware of the shots he wanted to take, watching so closely. I’m not sure, but it works. The book/app works too. I especially like the clean maps and the references to how much he spent on transportation, where he went, and how he got there. Here’s one example of what I mean:

In Hong Kong I used my “business people” tracking skills to follow people who looked like they knew where they were going, in Singapore I found that most of the “suits” I followed were heading for
the numerous British pubs located along the Singapore River.

Nice. The funny thing about travel is that we all do it our own way. There are some people who spend months and months in a place and never get to see anything and there are others that can get to the point very quickly. When I got to the back end of the book, I was pleased to find that Andy had included his itinerary notes, packing notes, and travel notes. Like reading Burton’s Kama Sutra, sometimes the most interesting bits are to be found in the notes and it’s amazing how many writers and photographers leave out these bits. For example:

I traveled with a carry-on sized Victorinox convertible and expandable backpack/shoulder bag and a small shoulder bag with enough room to carry my cameras (two, compact) and spare lens as well as a laptop and charger.

around the world - istanbulIt’s when you get into the specifics that things become interesting. Andy’s photos bring the life out on the page (or screen) and one of the cool things about using an iPad instead of a regular printed book is that when you buy Around the World in 18 Days you actually get two books since he used a completely different set of graphics and images for the horizontal and vertical versions of the book. Still, the price is the same at just $3.99. Less than the price of a latte will get you nine countries. (And actually on sale for a limited time at $2.99 if you use the links here)
As I mentioned, his photos are amazing and that’s why when I reached the back I was stoked to find that Andy had included 12 Travel Photography Tips. I’m a pretty decent amateur photographer, but I always want to be better. Andy’s tips gave me some tools to do that with. Simple things that I hadn’t thought of. I would share them, but in fact, I think the Travel Photography Tips alone make Andy’s book worth more than the price. If you notice that my camera skills are getting better, these tips are party responsible. You should buy his app/book.
In short, I highly recommend Andy’s iPad App/eBook to anyone. The price is right, the content is incredible, and whether you are traveling or just dreaming of travel Around the World in 18 Days will inspire you.

Andy Davies went around the world in 18 Days. When will you?

As always, in the interest of full disclosure, I want my readers to know that this is a sponsored review, however, as always, it is also an honest review. I’m picky about what goes on Vagobond.com and you can always trust my recommendations. If you want me to consider a sponsored review or post about your business, book, website, or product use the contact form to get ahold of me.

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