Day 1,885: The Last Post

Fri 28.02.14: It's taken over a YEAR of deliberation, but it's official: Guinness World Records have sent me notification that I am, without a shadow of a doubt, the first person to visit every country in the world without flying. From Day One I billed The Odyssey Expedition as a "Guinness World Record breaking adventure" and now all my hopes and dreams, everything I strived, fought and pushed for for over 5 years has been validated. I have it. Guinness World Records have FINALLY granted me my very own, unique, never-been-seen-before World Record Certificate. And here it is:   So certificate in hand I headed down to the Pier Head in Liverpool, gathered my family and friends and filmed this - the final shot of The Odyssey Expedition. Here it is, 5 years in the making....   Well I did it. I F---ING WELL DID IT!!!…

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Days 1,490-1,493: The Last Leg

Mon 29.01.13 - Thu 01.02.13: Monday morning saw Casey and I silently creep out of Lindsey's place around 7am. I was in an epic rush to get to the coach station for 8am so I said my farewells to my better half on the Bakerloo Line before changing at Oxford Circus for the line to Victoria. I had to run like a bag-wielding maniac down the road from the Underground to the bus terminal, arriving BANG ON 8am, sweaty and dishevelled. The bus to Gdansk, Poland was just about to pull out of the station... I waved and shouted and clambered on board. Had I missed the bus I would have been snookered. My Russian visa is waiting for me on the border. It has to be picked up at a certain time on a certain day. That day is tomorrow and that time is 12…

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Days 1,483-1,489: Man of the World

Tue 22.01.13 - Mon 28.01.13: I finally heard back from the Russian visa guy this week. He hadn’t received my original email, so I’ve had to postpone my trip to Kaliningrad for a week until after the Telegraph Adventure Travel Show at which I’m speaking this weekend. But everything has gone through, the visa has been paid for and, well, things seem to be running relatively smoothly. I also got an email from Guinness World Records saying they were ‘considering my appeal’, so fingers crossed there. On Tuesday night I made Spag Bol for Sally to say thanks for letting us darken her doorstep and moved my kit to Matt The Mick’s gaff a little up the road in Brixton. Matt and I used to live together when we were in Manchester University. Now he lives with his lovely wife Tiff. They were happy to supply…

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Days 1,476-1,482: Life In Limbo

Tue 15.01.13 - Mon 21.01.13: I was hoping to be in Russia today. But since when has The Odyssey Expedition run as smoothly as you or I would like?? The past week has been spent crashing on a variety of London couches waiting waiting waiting for the call that never comes. Three this week: Paradigm, Guinness World Records and the Russian Visa Guy. Paradigm The problem is that since Paradigm expressed interest in me, I haven’t wanted to even consider any other options. I was put in a very similar position in Australia when the guy with the magic yacht came on the scene promising me the known world and all the gold that I can eat. You don’t want to appear ungrateful and you don’t want to jeopardise the opportunity that has come your way. The sad thing is that it would be better not…

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Days 1,469-1,475: I Didn’t Do It

Tue 08.01.13 - Mon 14.01.12: Dear Graham Hughes, Thank you for your application for 'First Surface Journey To Every Country in World'. Unfortunately, due to media reports that described that you snuck into some of the countries you visited, we cannot accept your application as a new Guinness World Record, as we, as an organization, do not accept any illegal activity in order to achieve a record. Thank you and we hope you understand. - Guinness World Records When I had gathered my aforementioned jaw off the aforementioned ground, my noodle went into overdrive as I attempted to suss out what the hell I was going to do next. THINK, GRAHAM THINK!! Okay. Calm. The only place I crossed a frontier at a place other than an official border point was when I foolishly attempted to wade across the the River Narva from Estonia into Russia.…

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Days 1,462-1,468: An Unexpected Email

Tue 01.01.13 - Mon 07.01.13: 2013 began, as all good years should, with a kiss. The cute redhead (that isn’t me) is my new girlfriend, Casey Turner. She’s a professional designer, artist and musician and she complements my talent set like Crunchy Nut Cornflakes complement VANILLA ICE CREAM (I demand you stop reading this for a moment and try that for yourself). She’s young, feisty, talented, sweet, witty, dangerous and blessed with a brilliant and cunning mind. We make quite a formidable team. And we’re both ginger. BOOYAH! Casey and I saw in the New Year at a house party off Hope Street in Liverpool. We had been invited along by my gorgeous friend Lorna Brookes. Lorna’s persuasive phone calls to shipping companies had been instrumental in the successful completion of The Odyssey Expedition. There was fondue and a stack of booze, it was all very…

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Day 1,461: And So, In Closing…

Mon 31.12.12: 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…

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Day 1,455: Let’s Hear It

Tue 25.12.12: Merry Christmas everyone! I started this THANK YOU list over 6 weeks ago, and it’s still hopelessly incomplete. These are just SOME of the people who made The Odyssey Expedition possible. There are many, many more I still have to add, you’re best viewing this as a work in progress: Mum & Dad, Mandy Newland, Lorna Brookes, Dino Deasha, Simon Barber, Anna Rosser, Lindsey Bennett, Christian Olsen Alex Zelenjak, Rocco Fasano, Scott Jones, Leo Skelly, Alex Hughes, Laura McGann, Grethe Børsum, Matt Eland, Thierry Klinklin, Colm Broaders, John Howell, Hugh Sheridan, Maia, Carlos, Mario and his family, Francisco, Cedric, The Officers and Crew of the MV Miriam, Annette Callander, Linda, John & Ted of The September Song, Kim, Rochelle, Martin & Fabio, Seamus, Wayne, Captain Grant, Christal and her parents, Joanne, Kerri and Andrew of The Mariposa, Sarah, Rosa, Mehrdad, Ken, TJ & Esperanza,…

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Day 1,452: Well, I’m Back

Sat 22.12.12: I had planned a long time ago to return to my hometown of Liverpool on the ferry. Originally it was to be the ferry from Ireland, but it would have been dark by the time I arrived, so instead I opted to hurtle around to Birkenhead and take the Ferry Cross The Mersey made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers. Either way, I wanted to finish The Odyssey Expedition by ship, pulling up alongside the iconic Liver Buildings. The ferry was all but empty, not surprising considering it was a wet and windy Saturday afternoon – as well as the last major shopping day before Christmas. The Pier Head loomed into view and up at the terminal building I could see my friends and family waiting for me. I was met off the gangplank by some press photographers and a camera crew. While I…

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Day 1,450: All The Old Turks

Thu 20.12.12: So arrived at Istanbul international bus station bang on 8am and then started the usually fun (but not fun today because it was cold, damp and my feet still hadn’t dried off from the day before) process of finding me a bus goin’ en-eeee-where. Turkey has dozens of bus companies going to every corner of the country and much of Europe. Greece was quickly struck from the list as the buses only seemed to leave at night and it would take 10 hours just to get to Thessaloniki, not even half way to Igoumenitsa. The other option then was to take a bus to Germany. As I didn’t have a map with me (and there wasn’t one on the wall in the office) I figured that Düsseldorf might be a good option. The bus would take 40 hours and arrive around 7am on Friday…

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