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Man becomes first person in the world to visit every country without flying

Man becomes first person in the world to visit every country without flying

It doesn't get much more epic than that!

In the 21st century with GPS digital mapping, exploring may seem like something of the past.

Whether it's the masterful seafarers of the Pacific Islands, Ernest Shackleton trying to reach the South Pole, or Viking longships making their way all across the Atlantic to North America, history is filled with many incredible explorers.

One man from Denmark has continued that tradition, becoming the first person to complete a whole new feat of traveling.

Meet Torbjørn 'Thor' Pedersen, who left behind his job and family in 2013 to set off on an epic adventure.

The 44-year-old wanted to become the first person to visit every country on earth without flying, in a journey called Once Upon a Saga.

And unlike the protagonist of a certain book by Jules Verne, it took a good deal longer than 80 days to complete this journey.

In fact, it took even longer than expected due to unforeseen circumstances. Originally Thor had been due to arrive back in Denmark after his final country, the Maldives, in 2020.

Thor used several means of transport to get around.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Thor's departure was delayed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leaving him stuck in Hong Kong for two years due to the lockdowns.

It's one thing to attempt a feat like that, but to complete it in the midst of a global pandemic is something else entirely.

Eventually, Thor completed his journey in July 2023 arriving back in Aarhus in Denmark nearly ten years after he set out.

He was met by a crowd of around 150 people as he walked down the gangway into the port of Aarhus.

Among them was his wife Le, who he had proposed to on top of Mount Kenya in 2016 before they married in 2021.

In the absence of being able to fly Thor instead traveled by train, boat, car, and on foot for some parts.

He arrived back in Denmark in July 2023.

And for the very long sections of ocean he was able to get a place as a passenger on container ships, including the enormous MV Milan Maersk, roughly 1,310ft in length.

It's a far cry from the ship used by the first person who may have circumnavigated the globe, Enrique of Malacca, who could have completed his global circuit in 1522.

In total, Thor tallied up an impressive 37 container ships, 158 trains, 351 buses, 219 taxis, 33 boats, and 43 rickshaws.

But he said that the numbers were always secondary, and he wanted to bring a positive light to the world.

Thor explained: “I set out on this journey with a motto, ‘A stranger is a friend you’ve never met before,’ and I have been shown time and time again that this is true.

“If you engage with people, they’re usually all in.”

Featured Image Credit: Thor Pedersen

Topics: News, World News, Travel