Many consider travelling by flight more of a comfort than a necessity, but one man, Torbjørn C. Pedersen, or commonly known as Thor, took it quite literally and he embarked a journey wherein he would travel as many as 203 countries, all without flying.
Thor, who hails from Denmark, has also decided he will go back home only when he had finished all those nations. He is due to complete his mission of doing so by October 2020 when he is expected to reach his final destination, the beautiful country of Maldives. As of April 3, 2020, he has already finished 194 countries, but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he might have to wait a little longer before he ventures out again. He is currently stranded in Hong Kong.
Thor left home to conquer the world on October 10, 2013, and since then he has been on a $20 dollars per day budget and has set himself a rule of staying for in a country for at least 24 hours.
Has he considered quitting? He has, but his determination has kept him going. “Quitting is a consideration. I’m dead tired [of traveling] and ready to go home. But I’m also stubborn and driven,” Thor told cnn.com.
Although British traveller Graham Hughes was the first to visit all the 193 UN member countries without flying, he had returned home on two occasions, unlike Thor. Hughes, however, set a world record of visiting the most number of countries (133) in one year. He also holds the Guinness record for “the fastest time to visit all countries by public surface transport” (4 years and 31 days).
Coming back to Thor, in the video by travel blogger Drew Binsky, he shares some of the interesting anecdotes from his travel, especially in Africa where he had some of the toughest times between borders.
Thor has a blog named ‘Once upon a Saga’ where he has documented his entire journey. He is also the goodwill ambassador of the Danish Red Cross and has visited such societies in 189 countries, which by his own admission has never been done before.
The fact that he jumped to different countries – from Canada to the US – due to his father’s job coupled with visits to Finland to where his mother’s side of the family lived got him interested in travelling. The fact that his mother is a travel guide, who could speak several languages too perhaps helped.
Air is the first mode of transport that comes to everyone’s mind when flying to different countries, but for someone like Thor, that is not even an option. The will to carry on despite so many obstacles is indeed admirable.