Globetrotting Record: Briton Visits Every Nation

Jay Singh-Sohal, Sky News Producer
Globetrotting Record: Briton Visits Every Nation

An adventurer from Liverpool is just one step away from entering the Guinness Book of Records for visiting every country in the world without flying.

Graham Hughes, 33, began the challenge to visit all 193 UN-recognised nations in January 2009. 

He has since undertaken "surface journeys" to all the world's hot spots - including Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea - and visited every sovereign nation in the world including Vatican City, Palestine, Taiwan, Western Sahara and Kosovo,  which do not have seats at the UN.

But Guinness World Records ruled that his feat did not stand as he had entered Russia without a valid visa. Mr Hughes' visit to the country came after he waded across the River Narva from Estonia.

On Monday, he will visit Russia again with the hope of officially completing his challenge, travelling 25 hours by train from London Victoria to Gdansk in Poland before taking a bus across the border.

When he took up the challenge, Guinness set rules for the record including not using private transport over large distances or hitchhiking.

So Graham has completed his visits through a combination of train, taxi and cargo ship journeys and kept GPS records from all his visits.

He made the trips on a shoe-string budget, spending less than £7,000 a year in the first two years and just under £3,000 thereafter. 

And along the way he's also had to take into account changing borders - South Sudan became a nation in 2012 and Graham travelled there in November of that year by public transport.

His longest journey has been the 32-day round trip from Australia to Nauru, the world's smallest republic. He said the island in the Micronesia archipelago was worth the journey, as was Palau in the Pacific, which he describes as an "unspoilt tropical paradise with amazing people".

But his travels have also presented some dangers. On a visit to Congo, Mr Hughes was jailed for six days and was only freed with British consulate support.

Pakistan too posed problems. Mr Hughes was not even allowed out of the port at Karachi because authorities said it was too dangerous.

But the most memorable time was the four days he spent on a leaky wooden canoe crossing the open ocean from Senegal to Cape Verde.

During his journey Graham filmed a TV show for the National Geographic Adventure channel and raised money for the charity Water Aid .

He also blogged about the experience on

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