“I love travel, and I guess my reason for doing it was I wanted to see if this could be done, by one person traveling on a shoestring,” Mr. Hughes tells the Monitor Monday by telephone from Juba, South Sudan’s capital. “I think I also wanted to show that the world is not some big, scary place, but in fact is full of people who want to help you even if you are a stranger.”
Hughes, 33, set out from his home in Liverpool in northern England on New Year’s Day 2009.
Since then, he has visited all 193 United Nations member states plus Taiwan, Vatican City, Palestine, Kosovo, Western Sahara, and the four home nations of the United Kingdom.
Guinness World Records have confirmed that Hughes, who has been filming the trip for a documentary and raising money for a charity called Water Aid, is the first person to achieve this feat without flying.
“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 Monday. “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.”
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