“GRAHAM’S WORLD” aka “LONELY PLANET’S THE ODYSSEY” is an eight part television series covering the first 12 months of my record-breaking adventure. It is being broadcast around Asia, Australia and South America on NAT GEO ADVENTURE.
There are eight half-hour episodes covering The Odyssey Expedition from the very start up to the end of December 2009, starring little old me, my camcorder and my toilet seat bouncing around planet Earth like a wanton loon. WOOOOOOO!!
If you happen to live in the UK, you can watch the show RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW by clicking this delightful link: http://www.youtube.com/show/theodysseylonelyplanet
The show has been produced by the nice chaps at Lonely Planet Television. It was commissioned by National Geographic Adventure and distributed by BBC Worldwide.
I directed, filmed and presented 150 hours of footage for the programme. It’s completely unscripted and ad-libbed, making it the Apocalypse Now of television!!! Kinda.
Here’s the trailer for the show:
British filmmaker Graham Hughes is taking his love of traveling to the limit, embarking on a record-breaking epic challenge to set foot in every country on Earth in a single year – without flying. Nearly 200 countries and roughly 90,000 kilometers in 365 days, Graham’s World is a logistical nightmare. The opening episode of this eight-part series tracks Graham’s final days of prep in Liverpool, tearful farewells and journey to the starting line in Buenos Aires. On New Years Day Graham launches into a new life of perpetual motion, punctuated by random acts of kindness, lost luggage and roadside tragedies, as he sets out to travel to every country in South America as quickly as he can.
We join Graham in episode two of Graham’s World attempting to navigate the Caribbean by cargo ship and yacht. Haphazard connections wreak havoc with Graham’s schedule but the distractions of snorkelling, cricket and ballroom dancing alleviate his frustration. Hitting dry land in Central America, Graham forges ahead once more before facing his biggest challenge so far gaining entry to Cuba from its long-time adversary, the United States.
In episode three of Grahams World things fall apart when Graham loses valuable time in Florida trying to negotiate his way round the U.S. embargo on travel to Cuba. With time ticking and official permission denied, Graham decides to take the law into his own hands and set sail for Cuba illegally.
In episode four, Graham launches into what looks to be the toughest leg of his journey Africa. Red tape forces him to make a 4,000 kilometre detour as he crosses the Sahara Desert, and in Senegal Graham faces his biggest challenge yet: finding passage to the Cape Verde islands 600 kilometers off the African coast. Time is ticking and he bites the bullet, taking to the high seas in a leaky wooden pirogue. The welcoming party awaiting him is not what he expects.
In episode five, we find Graham under arrest on suspicion of people smuggling on the islands of Cape Verde 600km off the West African coast. Getting out of jail, Grahams resolve and sanity are tested by a month-long search for a boat that can take him back to the African mainland. When hes finally rescued by a European sailor, he hits West Africa in top gear – but can he keep up a punishing schedule when faced with decrepit transport, washed out roads and the rainy season fast approaching?
In episode 6 we join Graham as he tackles central Africa in minimum time and minimal comfort. Kidnap threats, nightmare drivers and hellish roads are just the start of his problems as Graham throws himself into drug-fuelled jungle tribal rituals, sets sail into the Atlantic with a man who doesn’t know one end of a spinnaker from the other, and is thrown in jail and left to rot by Congolese cops convinced that he’s a spy.
Graham’s World Episode 7: Africa Island Hop
In episode seven of Graham’s World we join him deep in Central Africa after his release from a Congolese jail. Shaken but not stirred, Graham faces the threat of being thrown in prison again as he races 1300 kilometres across war-ravaged Angola before his five-day visa expires. Graham downs a pint in the continents highest pub, rocks up to an Angolan house party, celebrates a win at the horse track, and gets chatty with a local lemur as he hightails it across southern Africa and sails through pirate-plagued waters to the islands of Comoros, Madagascar and Mauritius where a lack of sea connections threatens to derail his journey.
Episode eight of Graham’s World finds a frustrated Graham stuck on Comoros off the east coast of Africa with no means of escape. Desperate to add to his tally of countries before the year is out and spurred on by the chance to meet his long-suffering girlfriend Mandy in Cairo on New Years Eve, Graham vows to get back to the mainland, step foot in every country in eastern Africa and meet his beloved at the pyramids before midnight on the final day of the year.
These episode descriptions are taken from the National Geographic Asia TV site: http://natgeotv.com/asia/grahams-world/about
Top of the Ops!
I was on my Billy-Lonesome during the filming of nearly all of the television show. Aside from when I occasionally throw my camera to somebody else, that’s me holding it at arm’s length.
There are no smoke and mirrors here, no support team following me in a landrover, no crack team of lawyers working behind the scenes to get me out of jail and certainly no logistical crew working out what my next move should be.
Occasionally you’ll see me jabbering away into my own camera. If you’re wondering who got that shot, here are the camera operators who travelled with me:
Rocco was the cameraman who survived the longest with me on the road: we were together for three weeks from Ghana to Gabon and had a total bloody riot.
Carlos joined me for my first couple of days to Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.
I worked with Laura McGann on a number of film projects in 2007 and 2008. She was the obvious choice to come travelling with me for my 24 hour sprint around the UK and later met me in Sicily for the boat trips to Malta and Tunisia.
A real talent to watch for the future, she runs Faidra Films.
Matt joined me for three days from Spain to Morocco. He joined me again later in the year from Nairobi to Djibouti and then at the very end in Egypt. He also edited the show.