First person to visit all nations without flying: Graham Hughes sets world record
JUBA, South Sudan -- British adventurer Graham Hughes, 33, from Sure Jersey, took 1426 days, that's 203 weeks, almost four years to tick 201 including all 193 members of the United Nations, as well as destinations including Kosovo, Palestine, Taiwan, Vatican City and Western Sahara - setting the new world record for the First person to visit all nations without flying,
according to the World Record Academy: www.worldrecordacademy.com/.
Photo: Graham Hughes spent 1,426 days visiting the 201 countries of the world - 250,000km - over land using buses, trains, ferries, bush-taxis, cargo ships or banana boats. Photo: AFP (enlarge photo)
Guinness World Records also recognized the longest journey by car using alternative fuel: 3,8137 km (2,3697.19 miles), achieved by Rainer Zietlow, Florian Hilpert, Falk Gunold, Franz Janusiewicz (all Germany) with a Volkswagen Caddy EcoFuel using natural gas.
"I've been travelling now for 1426 days, that's 203 weeks, almost four years," said the cowboy-hat wearing globetrotter as he quaffed warm fizzy wine in the tropical heat, soon after crossing the border from Uganda.
Graham Hughes, 33, accomplished the feat when he arrived Monday in South Sudan, a country that did not yet exist when he began his quest Jan. 1, 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported.
"I started in Uruguay on January 1, 2009, and I've been travelling pretty much non-stop since then to try and be the first person to visit every country in the world without flying, and today, I just have."
Hughes based his journey on four key rules: he could not fly, must not drive his own transport, must take "scheduled ground transport" and to qualify as a visit to a country he "must step foot on dry land."
"The main highlight...has been the reaffirmation of my faith in humanity and the fact that people I've met on the road have been so friendly," he said.
Guinness World Records said Hughes' travels were a record because he did it without flying.
In the end, Guinness World Records rejected Hughes because he crossed into Russia illegally.
"Due to media reports that described you snuck into some countries, we cannot accept your application, as we do not accept any illegal activity," read a letter sent to him from the judges.
"They said I'd waded across a river to get into Russia which wasn't official, and they were correct really. I knew it was a bit dodgy," the Liverpool native admitted to the Mirror.
So he hopped on a bus to Poland, entered Russia legally and is hoping his effort will be reevaluated.
"I was a little annoyed that it happened to be Russia, which is so easy and not a big deal to get into, compared to the island nations," Hughes told Fox News.
"The main feeling today is just one of intense gratitude to every person around the world who helped me get here, by giving me a lift, letting me stay on their couch or pointing me in the right direction," Hughes said.
"There were times, sitting in a bus station in Cambodia at one in the morning, riding some awful truck over bad roads, when I thought, why am I doing this? But there was always a reason to keep going."