British man becomes first person to visit all 201 countries without flying

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Daily Buzz

If the Discovery Channel commercial and Matt dancing joyfully around the planet weren't enough to spur your wanderlust, Graham Hughes' story might be the definitive lace-up in your travel boots.

The 33-year-old Liverpool, U.K. man managed to travel himself to a new world record, hitting all 201 countries in four years on a shoestring budget of $100 per week.

Hughes started his journey in Uruguay and ended in Juba, South Sudan, a country that didn't even exist as an independent state before he took his first steps along the southern hemisphere in early 2009.

In all, that adds up to 160,000 miles in 1,426 days. And while that's impressive in itself, the detail that propelled him to record-breaking status was that he achieved this feat without taking one plane ride.

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Instead, reports the Daily Mail, Hughes tore through a fleet of local taxis, buses, trains, boats and several solid pairs of shoes to get from destination to destination.

Though the article never quite explains how he managed to fund his trip, it mentions that his odyssey was filmed for an upcoming documentary and that he raised money for a charity called Water Aid.

Highlights from his travels included "dancing with the Highlanders of Papua New Guinea, befriending orangutans in Borneo… meeting the Prime Minister of Tuvalu and 'warning schoolchildren in Afghanistan about the dangers of men with beards.'"

Two years ago, the death of his sister nearly brought Hughes' world travels to an end. But though he rushed home to see her before she succumbed to her cancer, she encouraged him to keep going.

"I'd done 184 countries and had only 17 to go and I thought why not leave it there? (...but) she told me not to stop," he told the Mail.

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Hughes isn't home yet. He plans to keep traveling throughout Africa before jumping on a ferry to Liverpool from Ireland before Christmas. And it's doubtful his battered backpack will be retired any time soon.

"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," he told the Christian Science Monitor.

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