The Final Forty

Only forty more countries to go!!  But as you can no doubt see, I wasn’t joking when I said that the leaps were going to get harder!  This time last year I had been to a whopping 89 countries.  So far this year I’ve been to just 27… and there is no sign that things are going to speed up any time soon.

With the impenetrable African fortress of Eritrea still to visit, not to mention The Seychelles, Maldives, Bhutan, North Korea (if it still exists by the time I get there) and – heaven forefend – the dozen nations of Oceania, I still got a looooooong way to go before I’m safe and warm back in the arms of the woman I love.

But that’s no reason to get despondent.  It took Odysseus ten years to get back to Penelope and it took the current Guinness World Record™ holder, Mr. Kashi Samaddar, six and half years to do what I’m doing.  I’ve only got 28 more countries to visit before I hit Australia and if you add up everywhere I’ve been in my life (on and off The Odyssey) I’ve been to 175 countries… in other words, there are only 25 nations in the world on whose soil I haven’t stood.

If I can get this done before the end of 2010, I’ll be over the moon.  Once I get Eritrea out of the way, things should speed up – SE Asia is my old stomping ground and shouldn’t present too many problems.  But then again, I’m not counting any chickens before they’re hatched – I thought Africa would take no longer than three months(!).

If you want to help me on my way, please talk to the marketing department of your company (or any company for that matter) and see if they fancy sponsoring the rest of my travels.  Seriously – I won’t give up because of African jails, shipping forecasts or visa difficulties, but if I have to sack this all off because I’ve ran out of readies I would have just wasted the last two years of mine and Mandy’s lives on a FAIL of epic proportions.

And we wouldn’t want that now, would we?!

Author: Graham

Adventurer, filmmaker, blogger, double Guinness World Record Holder. The first person to visit every country in the world without flying. I currently live on a private island in The Caribbean that I won in a competition.

6 thoughts on “The Final Forty”

  1. Hey Graham!

    For the DPRK, this video might be of interest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG4gL3eAHVs

    The DMZ seems to be your only bet, though I’m not quite sure how it will come across on your GPS.

    I’ve been following your trip since Day One, and I am completely astounded by your determinism, so best of luck.

  2. It actually quite an old post, the link is http://blogs.bootsnall.com/llew/four-hours-in-phuentsholing.html. The author deffinatently wasn’t in Bhutan legally and it took alot of beging. There is another land border in Nepal into eastern Bhutan but from what I gather it’s pretty hard to get in that way without the hefty tourist visa and there is no way in through China (Tibet).

    The border crossing is really only a fancy gate with a quick check point http://priyank.com/travel/wp-content/gallery/bt/phuentsholing/9420.jpg. Where you can just walk up and then go through. Every where I read about says the Phuentsholing and Jaigaon crossing is still possible, although I havent read anything written in 2010.

    This is from Lonely Planet:
    To obtain a Bhutanese visa, foreigners need to present their passport, two photos and a US$20 fee to the visa officer in the drungkhag (subdistrict) office near the east end of town. The visa is issued here, but the arrival details will be stamped in your passport when you pass the immigration checkpoint at Rinchending, 5km away.

    Foreigners may cross back and forth across the border during the day but are required to leave by 10pm unless staying in a hotel – a useful facility in case you neglected to complete Indian departure formalities before you crossed into Bhutan.

    Best of luck

  3. Hey,
    So about Bhutan. I was in the process of planning a trip similar to yours of my own and wanted to pass along some tips that may be helpful once you get to Bhutan. There is a land border crossing from India (Jaigaon) into Phuentsholing, Bhutan which in theroy allows forigeners to enter without visas (which is only issue to those are goverment approved tours that must cost at least 200$us a night prepaid). I’ve read one account where apparently this policy had change in 2005 due to increase tention between India and Bhutan. However he was able to talk the border guard into allowing him to enter for a few hours. I think this may be your best bet into Bhutan without signing up for a costly and long tour of Bhutan with the majority requiring flying into the country from Delhi.

    Best of luck, hope you get home sooner then later to the lady.

    1. Thanks, Jo. That’s great news as it takes about a month to get the Bhutan visa and you’re right, it’s proper expensive. Is there a blog written by the guy you refer to? Do you know how long ago he managed to do this?

      It’s just that I spoke to a German guy who had tried getting in that way and he reckoned he couldn’t even get close to the border, so if I’m going to start the visa process I need to do it soon.

  4. Ahoy.

    Still following you on your journey since the start of the odyssey. Looking just at the time you already spent travelling around the world and what trouble you got yourself into; many, many would have given up. So thumbs up for that and get to wrapping up those final forty.

    Good luck, all the best.

  5. I’ll personally throw in several hundred pounds in sponsorship money if you complete a few silly scavenger hunt-like tasks en route for my amusement. Nothing demeaning. Tasks you will enjoy, I promise.

    No joke. Email me.

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