Last week thanks to Stumble Upon I happened upon a story in the Daily Mail (not my usual read) about Graham Hughes and his epic journey to every country in the world.
What made the story about the 33 year old Liverpudlian more astonishing was that he completed his journey without stepping foot on a plane.
Talk of heading into the unknownAngie and I have often talked about a long distance journey overland. Of quitting our jobs, renting out the house and packing a couple of rucksacks to head out into the unknown. Fuelled by Angie's growing fear of flying it seemed like a logical approach to reaching the other side of the world.
With a trip to New Zealand the likely candidate our only tricky negotiation would be the ocean crossing from Indonesia to Australia yet Graham had to cross the Atlantic, a far larger obstacle.
Graham set out on his Odyssey Expedition on New Years Day 2009 taking him almost four years to complete the Guinness World Record attempt and has charted every leg on his blog of the same name. Four years would too much of a break from our reality so we'd plan for a year, long enough to relax and watch as the world slips by a train window.
Organisation and BudgetingWe've watched as Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have ridden motorcycles around the world. I sat mesmerised as a child by Michael Palin's numerous journeys to places I'd never heard of as a young boy. Yet these have had teams behind them helping to plan the route, organise visas and film every second. Graham did all of this himself so I tip my hat to him.
With the Odyssey Expedition he's proved that anyone and everyone can do a journey of such epic proportions. Living on less than $100 per week Graham used services such as CouchSurfing and by hitching rides on cargo ships.
Whilst the idea of jumping aboard a ship sounds appealing CouchSurfing is one of those things that we don't think we'll ever try. Not that we don't see it's benefits (hell, it's a lot cheaper than hotels) but by our nature of being extremely introverted and wanting our own space at the end of a long day exploring our location. All in all meaning we'd have to budget for a little more than $100 a week.
Kickstarting a thoughtI've not read all of Graham's daily updates but the few I have has sparked the thought of what is possible, where we can go and how we can accomplish it.
We might not be able to visit every one of the 201 countries of the world but we can at least add a few more to the list of those we've already visited. So it's time to start dreaming of border crossings without the airport crowds and alternative forms of transport other than the regulation planes.
All for a good causeGraham did his journey whilst raising money for Water Aid and has a total of £7,500 to date, an impressive return. We've just donated so why don't you.
Have you given up your job to travel the world? Has Graham's story inspired you?