London: British adventurer Graham Hughes has finally achieved what he set out for on January 1, 2009. Nearly three years later, on November 26, Hughes has become the first man to have visited every sovereign state on Earth without flying.
Hughes’ mission was completed after his passport was stamped with the markings of the newest country, South Sudan.
Named ‘The Odyssey Expedition’, 33-year-old Hughes abided by the rules - no flying, only public transport - to visit all 193 United Nations member states, as well as Vatican City, Kosovo, Taiwan, the Palestinian territory, and Western Sahara.
Spending an average of 10 pounds, Hughes travelled by train, bus, taxi or ship, to drop in at each and every nation in the world. He is now a Guinness World Record holder.
"The main feeling today is just one of intense gratitude to every person around the world who helped me get here, by giving me a lift, letting me stay on their couch or pointing me in the right direction," Hughes told The Daily Telegraph from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, after achieving his goal.
Of his journey`s challenges, Hughes said: "People asked me how I was going to get to Afghanistan or Iraq or North Korea, but they were the easy ones, you don`t even need a visa for Iraq, you just walk across from the border in Turkey...The really tough ones were places like Nauru, and the Maldives and the Seychelles, island countries where there were also pirates."
Along the way, Hughes helped raise funds and awareness for the charity WaterAid. He has also filmed his travels for the National Geographic Channel.