A man claims to have become the first person to visit every country in the world without catching a single flight – but it took him six years longer than originally planned.
Thor Pedersen, 44, from Denmark, quit his job in shipping and logistics in October 2013 to start his adventure.
With his wife Le, 40, unable to accompany him, Thor planned to spend an average of seven days in each country and estimated he would be home by the end of 2017.
However, visa issues caused delays along the way, and the pandemic also meant Thor had to spend two years in Hong Kong.
Last month, Thor finally completed his epic 223,072-mile journey when he arrived in the Maldives aboard a container ship.
Pictured: Thor Pedersen pictured on a train ride through Asia. In the last 10 years he traveled around the world on 158 trains
Explaining why he decided to take on the challenge, Thor said, “I got wind that no one in history has gone to every country in the world without flying and I was caught up in the idea that maybe I’d have my chance to do something to do. remarkable.
‘The idea was to use public transport as much as possible, so that means hundreds of buses, trains and ferries and then you ask if you can get on someone’s fishing boat or a container ship.’
The adventurer spent at least 24 hours in each country and likened his trip to “running a marathon or going to the moon,” since he didn’t indulge in the usual tourist attractions.
He continued, “A lot of my time is on buses and trains. The longest bus ride was 54 hours on one bus in Brazil. The sun set on me twice.
‘The longest train journey was five days in Russia. I rather enjoyed 27 days on the ship, it gave me time to read and exercise and we saw whales. It was a nice trip.
“There was no way you could feel comfortable on the bus ride. You should have balls of steel, but people are nice and you have good conversations with whoever is next to you.”
Thor’s travels were funded by an energy company and crowdfunding, which meant the adventurer had to budget £16 a day.
To enter each country, Thor also carried ten passports.
Pictured: Thor, 44, with his wife Le, 40, at the India-Pakistan border. She traveled to different locations 27 times to visit him
Pictured: Thor poses in front of the Tibetan-style Gandan Monastery in Mongolia during his travels
The adventurer – who set out on a journey in October 2013 – poses in front of Machu Pichhu in Peru
When he accepted the challenge, Thor and Le had only been together for a year.
But in the past 10 years, she has visited him 27 times in countries such as Sudan, Australia and Hong Kong.
The pair will finally be reunited next month when he returns to Denmark – after catching three ships from the Maldives to Sri Lanka to Germany.
While Thor is delighted to have completed the challenge, he admitted that he was saddened that he hadn’t spent more time with his aging parents in the past decade.
He added: “Before I left, my father was concerned about my career. He didn’t think I would ever work again or be taken seriously, but he stepped in.
“Telling my mom I was going was like telling her I’m going to the dentist. She is very proud.
“It’s some of the last years of my parents’ lives. We’re sorry we didn’t spend more time with family and friends.”
The adventurer also fears that he has missed the chance to start a family with Le as well.
Thor also stopped in Egypt during his travels. Posing in the picture with some camels in the desert
The average time Thor spent in each country was 17 days, while the shortest visit was 24 hours in Vatican City and his longest journey was 27 days on a container ship from Hong Kong to Australia
He also needed ten passports to ensure he could enter each country. Pictured on one of the 158 trains he took
Thor Pedersen pictured on a train platform in Asia, waiting for the next leg of his journey
While Thor is delighted to have completed the challenge, he admitted that he was saddened that he hadn’t spent more time with his aging parents in the last decade.
He continued, “My wife didn’t want to get in the way of anything I wanted to do, but she was confused because she’d rather build a life with me, wake up next to me and hold my hand.
“She’s amazing, she’s a huge support and we’ve had unique experiences together around the world.
“Every time she came to visit it got harder, dropping her off at the airport made my heart break every time.
“I hate coming back to a hotel we stayed in and being the only one in the room or walking down a street we were walking on. It got really rough.
“There’s quite a risk that it’s too late to start a family with the woman I love. It’s not game over yet, but we’re pushing the boundaries of biology.
“We feel like we have enough between the two of us to live a long and happy life and we don’t have to start a family, but if Le got pregnant it would be a bonus.”
Thor imagined that he would take some time during his journey to enjoy the beautiful view. The adventurer also fears that he missed the chance to start a family with Le
Thor envisioned himself on a shipping container that took him on the next leg of his journey. Visa issues caused delays along the way, and the pandemic also meant Thor had to spend two years in Hong Kong
Thor (pictured right on a bus) said ‘There was no way to feel comfortable on the bus ride, you should have steel buns, but people are nice and you have good conversations with the one next to you’
Thor imagined himself planning his trip around the world. Now that he has completed the challenge, he is on his way home to Denmark
The average time Thor spent in each country was 17 days, while the shortest visit was 24 hours in Vatican City and his longest journey was 27 days on a container ship from Hong Kong to Australia.
Thor says avoiding planes was “very complicated” and that his journey included 351 buses, 158 trains, 43 tuk-tuks, 37 container ships, 33 boats, nine trucks, three sailboats, two cruise ships, a horse-drawn carriage, a police car and a hunt.
There were also numerous motorbikes, taxis, subways, minibuses and trams.
Thor’s journey home is expected to take more than a month, and Thor has no plans to return to his former career – instead, he hopes to write a book about his adventure.
Thor said, “We’re all looking forward to my going home. I have to say Denmark is my favorite country because that’s where I belong.
“I speak the language, my parents are there and I know not to worry about spiders and snakes and I know all about them, which makes it a pretty good country for me.”