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A Journey Around the World

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

3576 days, 37 container ships, 158 trains, 351 buses, 219 taxis, 33 boats and 43 rickshaws

As CNN reported a few days ago, a 44 year old Danish man returned home a few weeks ago after nearly 10 years, in which he visited 203 countries, at least 8 of which are countries yet to be officially recognized as sovereign states by the United Nations. (It makes my 40 some countries seems miniscule in comparison.) All without flying!



Thor Pederson’s blog “Once Upon a Saga” is a fascinating report of his trials tribulations and triumphs. https://www.instagram.com/onceuponasaga/ .

He followed 3 rules: no flights, live off a budget of $20 per day, and spend at least 24 hours in each country.

These are some noteworthy observations from his blog:

  • He kept his girlfriend that he left behind in 2013, marrying her in 2021 through a US based virtual based marriage service after proposing to her on Mount Kenya in 2016

  • His career was in shipping and logistics, so he had some expertise and connections that allowed him to meet goal one and plan such a complex trip

  • Covid stalled his travels for nearly 2 years as he was stranded in Hong Kong with 9 countries left

  • Because they were married, his girlfriend was able to join him for 100 days in Hong Kong- their longest stretch of time together in all those years; they were married in person in Vanatu in 2022

  • His last stop was probably one of the best- The Maldives, country 203

  • His journey home to Denmark was 33 days on a container ship- a massive ship about the size of 3 soccer fields

  • His attempts to visit some very inaccessible countries like Equatorial Guinea took patience of 4 months to obtain a visa and the luck of a serendipitous meeting with a stranger who drove him over the border

  • Waiting for visas and working through the exhausting bureaucracies often took months

  • He often had to backtrack through countries to cross borders that enabled him to obtain visas into difficult countries

  • He overcame some serious illnesses, broken down ships, intense storms, Covid quarantines, and battled his way through borders of conflict

  • 3576 days, 37 container ships,158 trains, 351 buses, 219 taxis, 33 boats and 43 rickshaws ended up at 223,000 miles, which equals nine journeys around the Earth


Look for a documentary The Impossible Journey from Canadian Filmmaker Mike Douglas in the coming months and a book to be authored by Pederson as well.

It’s not about the numbers, said Pederson, it’s about the kindness of people and sharing a positive outlook on the world. “Either I’m the luckiest man on the planet, or the world is a much better place than most people are led to believe by the scary, dramatic news on social media and new channels.”


“A stranger is a friend you have never met before.”


Credit to CNN and to Kartagener and Associates, Inc for sharing this story in their Blog

Pictures from Unsplash


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