If you’re lucky, very lucky, you might live 30,000 days, about 82 years. You won’t remember much of the first 4,000: you’re just a kid. The following 1,800 you’re not old enough to take on the world. The final 8,000, well, they’re kinda sucky and you won’t look so good. That leaves just 16,200 days for you to really live your life. And that counter is ticking down with every sunset. I’m 33, almost 34. I’ve already used up more than 12,000 of my overall days and 6,200 of my decent ones.
But I spent 1,461 of those days, those precious days, doing something no other human being in history has ever done. I didn’t quit when things got tough, I didn’t accept no for an answer. Some may follow and do it faster, others might scoff and find this whole thing ridiculous, but nobody can ever, *ever* take this achievement away from me.
My name is Graham Hughes and I am and always will be the first person to visit every sovereign state of Planet Earth without flying.
I travelled from Uruguay to New Zealand via Iceland, South Africa, Kazakhstan and Kiribati… and returned home to Liverpool… all on ships, trains and buses. I did it on my own with no professional support. It took four years and cost me everything I own: my long-term girlfriend, my career and possibly my sanity, but I made it.
Thank you for following my adventures over the past four years, I hope I’ve kept you entertained, amused, politicised and enthralled. I hope I improved your geography and possibly inspired you to pick up a backpack and go see the world for yourself. But most of all, I hope I’ve given you sufficient notice that one day, possibly sooner than you think, your days are going to run out. So use what remain of them well. Let your family and friends know how much they mean to you, give your children the best start in life, laugh and dance and drink and sing and love. Leave this world, our world, a better place than how you found it.
All that’s left for me to say is goodbye, good luck, and I’ll leave you with the wise words of Manny Calavera at the end of his rather similar four-year journey of the soul:
This is the story of The Odyssey Expedition. And this is how it ends.