Inspired by One Heck of a Journey – Graham Hughes

If you haven’t heard the name Graham Hughes yet, learn it.  Graham is a an inspirational figure in the travel community and after four years he finally accomplished his goal:

visit every country in the UN plus an additional 8 states… without the use of an airplane!

That’s right.  Graham traveled old school.

I knew that I would like Graham as soon as I began reading about him.  Why?  Because he’s from Liverpool of course!  The city that produced the Beatles, the Wombats, the best soccer (or football for my non American friends) club in world… it was obvious that Graham was my kind of guy! (I hope he’s a Liverpool fan… otherwise I might have to take that back!  YNWA!)

Yesterday Graham arrived in South Sudan to mark his 201st, and final, country on his journey.  An accomplishment alone that anyone could be proud of, but the fact that he did all of this traveling without the help of an airplane is just flat out astounding.  Not only for his goal to be accomplished did he have to get into countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea (i’m still baffled at this one!), but he had to make his way to remote locations such as Maldives, a small island nation 250 miles off the coast of India.

Now, not only did he accomplish his goal, and achieve the Guinness World Record for most places visited without an airplane, but along the way he raised money for the London based WaterAid.  This non-profit focuses on bringing clean water to the developing world, something most of us (myself included) take for granted on a daily basis.

Word is on the street… or on just about every website that mentions Graham Hughes… is that Graham created a documentary of his journey.  The documentary would include everything from his native UK to when he was arrested in (apparently) multiple places.  Hopefully we will get to see a cut of all the footage soon.

National Geographic did document his first year of travel in an 8 part series called “Graham’s World“, but I assume this is far from a complete look at his journey around the world.

I look at a trip like this, at all things Graham accomplished, and I am blown away.  But beyond my amazement, in the far reaches of my brain, is a fire… a desire for travel that is rekindled and set ablaze when I hear stories like Graham’s.  Hopefully my own journey can create for me a similar life long experience that Graham’s did for him.  One article I found even said that he spent on average less than $100 a week… that is less than I spend a week to not travel!  How are more of us not doing this?

What does hearing about Graham make you feel?

Are you ready to jump out the door and travel yet?

13 Responses to “Inspired by One Heck of a Journey – Graham Hughes”
  1. He makes me feel like selling all my stuff and walking around Asia with just a backpack and a keen sense of smell (for scouting out good food, of course)! Such a cool story.

  2. I certainly didn’t do 201 countries, but I didn’t use airplanes when I went backpacking in Europe, and I have to say, it’s a much more fun way to travel. It’s like it’s more about the journey than the destination. Good for him. I want to do something like this. Do you know how he raised money to do this AND raised money for his non-profit?

    • That’s a great question… I’m not sure. I do know that he said he only spent about 100 a week. so for four years thats like 20k… that’s not bad! He may have saved up the money before hand, but as far as raising money for the non-profit maybe he did it through sponsorships?

  3. vyvacious says:

    Wow! That’s awe-inspiring!

    I would love to be able to travel the world like that without the use of an airplane because that sounds so interesting but for me, I feel like it’s a luxury I can’t afford because it would take up too much of my time.

    When I was in Europe, I thrived off of the times when I was able to travel via train versus plane. However, due to my 7-cities-in-3-weeks itinerary, I had to fly sometimes to make sure I had enough time to actually explore each city 🙂

    As much as I say I would like the opportunity to roam aimlessly yet with a purpose of new adventures, there’s still a part of me that knows that I’m still tied down emotionally (or something of that sort) to my hometown.

    • Yeah I completely understand! I can’t even imagine the boat rides from continent to continent… that’d be so long! I like wandering aimlessly for long periods of time, but 4 years might start to wear on me!

      • vyvacious says:

        Oh good god, I don’t think I can handle 4 years. I’m weird. I like a constant chaos if that makes sense. I like to be constantly changing, moving, doing things. It would be hard for me to keep up with the “routine” of moving all over the place. I like to change it up and have a homestead as well.

      • Ha! As strange as it sounds i think I understand what you mean… even if moving all around is kind of the antithesis of a routine, after four years I would definitely need the change too!

  4. tchistorygal says:

    Thanks for sharing. Now I’m in the know! 🙂

  5. Bron says:

    That is pretty darn impressive!

  6. evaleri says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never heard of Graham. Sounds like a fascinating guy. I’ll keep my eyes open for his documentary.

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