Pacific Islands challenge chronic traveller's record | Pacific Beat

Pacific Islands challenge chronic traveller's record

Pacific Islands challenge chronic traveller's record

Updated 29 November 2012, 11:27 AEDT

One of the world's most travelled people has arrived in his 201st country, South Sudan.

Graham Hughes, has had his fair share of adventures, but it was getting to the Pacific Islands that challenged him most.

Presenter: Brendan Trembath

Speaker: Graham Hughes, world traveller

BRENDAN TREMBATH: In almost four years, Graham Hughes has visited 201 countries, including all 193 members of the United Nations.

GRAHAM HUGHES: The only real issue that I had was African policemen, in West Africa in particular, where they wanted a bribe, or they would ask for one dollar or a hundred dollars or they'll put you in jail for the night, and I was kind of completely at their whim, what they wanted to do.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Does your passport have a little note from the queen in the beginning asking that the person who owns the passport be treated with courtesy and respect as a British citizen?

GRAHAM HUGHES: Yeah, and to be let into their country without let or hindrance. The funny thing about this is I tried to get into the northern Mariana Islands and Guam, and they wouldn't let me down the gang plank, and I was amazed by this, I was thinking, 'What the hell? Like, seriously?'

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Guam is a US territory and Graham Hughes was promptly asked to pay US$100 for a visa waiver. He wasn't happy about it.

GRAHAM HUGHES: They told me like quite succinctly if I walked down the gang plank and I stood on the quayside of the port of Guam or Saipan in Northern Mariana Islands, that I would be arrested by the Homeland Security people, and I was thinking 'man, this is the thanks we get for following the Americans into two unpopular and unwinnable wars. Yeah. Let's not do that again.'

BRENDAN TREMBATH: When Mr Hughes planned his world tour, he set out to beat the record of another well-travelled man.

GRAHAM HUGHES: It had taken six and a half years, and that was flying. It was an Indian guy called Kashi Samaddar, and I thought, 'I could smash that record, I could do it without flying' and I set out with that plan, and when I started out, a little bit naively I guess, I thought that it would take me about 12 months, maybe 18 months to do this.

I didn't kind of grasp the fact that those few countries, those 17 countries in the world, those island nations in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, would be so bloody hard to get to, and they really, really, really were - to get to Nauru, and Tuvalu and Samoa without flying, and then trying to get back to the Indian Ocean and go to Maldives and Seychelles without flying, that was difficult.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Graham Hughes, have you been thinking about what to do next?

GRAHAM HUGHES: Oh, so many things I want to do. On this trip, I didn't really get to see much of America, I didn't get to see much of Russia - I've never been to Tasmania, I've travelled all round Australia but I've never been to Tasmania. I've got a few more adventures in my head at the moment.

I'm not going to hang up my hat when I get back to Liverpool. I definitely will have itchy feet syndrome for the rest of my life, it's a chronic thing.

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