VIDEO: Graham and Mandy Down Under (2002)

Back in the heady halcyon days of 2002, I travelled to Australia to meet up with Mandy, an Aussie girl I had met 3 years earlier while backpacking around Egypt. We teamed up and took a beaten-up 1982 Holden panel van called MONTY on an epic drive across the red heart of AUSTRALIA. From MELBOURNE we drove along the GREAT OCEAN ROAD, popped into ADELAIDE to feed the koalas, visited LAKE EYRE and COOBER PEDY on the way up to ULURU (AYRE'S ROCK), THE OLGAS and KING'S CANYON. After a little, erm, car trouble we found ourselves in ALICE SPRINGS, went UFO hunting at the DEVIL'S MARBLES and swimming in the crystal clear waters of KATHERINE. Up to DARWIN to search for the mangroves and then across to KAKADU NATIONAL PARK in search of crocodiles and cave paintings. After a near-fatal collision on the way to…

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Days 990-993: Go-Go-Gadget Backpack

17.09.11-20.09.11: Today THE ODYSSEY EXPEDITION gets its skates on again. Living up the traditional Odyssey brand, I’ve been waylaid for far too long - but thanks to some clever editing, I’m sure nobody watching series two of Graham’s World will notice that 9 months has passed between episodes 6 and 7. No doubt state-of-the-art CGI will be employed to reduce my ever-expanding beer gut to reasonable standards. I’m chipper, feeling good, motivated and excited about the next chapter… one that will, if all goes well, take me halfway across the world and back again. Even after I finish the South Pacific islands, I still have to pesky Palau… and I have to (somehow) get back to Taiwan to get there. Even then there’ll be four countries left to tick off the list: Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and South Sudan. So from Taiwan I’m going to have…

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Days 988-989: WOO HOO!!!

15.09.11-16.09.11: I’ve just heard back from Martin at China Navigation (the subsidiary of Swire Shipping involved with PNG) and the good news is that there is a ship willing and able to take me from Lae in Papua New Guinea to Honiara in The Solomon Islands and back to Australia so I can FINALLY officially tick this great big silly continent off my list. The ship is called the Papuan Chief (cool name eh?) and it’ll be departing Lae around the 10th of October. Major thanks to Swire Shipping, China Navigation, Ray and Sebastian in PNG, Paul in Melbourne, Ross in Sydney and Martin in Singapore as well as kudos and kisses for Lorna and Mandy who helped out with the deal. Lorna especially so: she’s in the UK and the time difference meant she either had to stay up very late or get up very early in…

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Days 985-987: Saddle Up, People!

12.09.11-14.09.11: The time for procrastination is over. Much of this year has been spent – some might say wasted - holding out hope for a yachtie to invite me onboard his vessel and whisk me away into the wild blue yonder for nothing more than the price of a few beers and a barrel of diesel. After being held on tenterhooks for 8 months (repeatedly being told that the yacht in question would be ready to go ‘in a few days’) I gave up that pipedream. I guess the old adage is a good today as it’s always been: if something sounds too good to be true… So I cast my net out wider, appearing on TV here in Australia and on countless radio shows, always throwing in the ‘anyone up for an adventure?’ line (while trying not to sound too desperate, of course). I got…

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AUSSIE SKIPPER REQ’D: FOR HIGH ADVENTURE

THE ODYSSEY EXPEDITION Hi, my name is Graham Hughes. I’m a British adventurer, TV presenter and a Guinness World Record holder.  You can read more about me on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Hughes I’m currently in the midst of a rather epic challenge – one that I hope you might be interested in joining me in: I’m trying to step foot in every country in the world, and attempting to do so without flying.  I’m doing this to raise funds and awareness for the international charity WaterAid. I work with Lonely Planet, National Geographic and BBC Worldwide. The first series of my self-filmed TV show, Graham's World, is currently showing on the Nat Geo Adventure channel (Foxtel) and I was the star guest on Channel Nine’s Today Show last Saturday.  You can watch the interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeaR_RW7Zu4 Over the last two years, I’ve managed to visit an incredible 184 countries around the world, from Uruguay to Iceland, South Africa to Turkmenistan; on my own, on a shoestring and without flying.  With only 17 more…

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Days 943-948: Ain’t No Fat Lady Singin’

01.08.11-06.08.11: So I’ve come to the fine city of Sydney in pursuit of a yacht captain who is looking for ADVENTURE, EXCITEMENT and REALLY WILD THINGS on the high seas. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet the most excellent Team Odyssey members Alex Zelenjak and Damian Pallett in real life instead of in electric dreams. While I’m here, I’m going to be trying to get as much exposure for my quest as possible. I’m also having meetings with publishers – a nice little advance for my forthcoming best-seller “The World Is Slightly Pear Shaped (A Drunken Stumble Through Every Country On Earth)” would seriously help me finish this crazy backpack extravaganza sometime this decade. This morning I was on Channel Nine’s Today show, which is Australia’s equivalent of GMTV – I only had five minutes, so I just blurted out everything I could think…

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Days 941-942: It’s Not Your Fault

30.07.11-31.07.11: Just enjoyed an awesome weekend volunteering for the Melbourne Open House festival. Seventy-five buildings around the city had their doors flung open to the general public... and you know I’ve got a thing for large erections.  It was great stuff (there was over 100,000 visits in just two days) and has also given me the opportunity to write yet another blog entry about architecture! YIPPEE!! I am firmly of the opinion that some kind of secret meeting took place in 1958.  Present at this meeting were representatives of every single architecture firm in the world.  Under hoods and bearing blood-dipped swords, they swore a dark oath in the flickering candlelight: to never design anything beautiful, anywhere in the world, ever again. Some of those present at that first meeting have since died, but the legacy of their macabre pact lives on in the hearts and…

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Day 886: An Open Letter to Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson

05.06.11: After the death threats I received for slagging off the Cape Verde police force on this very blog, I learnt a pertinent lesson: don’t say what you really think until you’ve left the damn place.  I was therefore saving my torrent of abuse concerning the Australian government's wretched treatment of tourists until after I was well shut of the otherwise good land of Oz. However, after finding out it’s going to cost me $255 to extend my AUSTRALIAN TOURIST VISA (which I shouldn’t need in the first place), the dam has burst. The fury leaping out of my fingertips must be converted to 1s and 0s and plastered all over the net before I explode. The Aussie Tourist Visa (that’ll be $29 please, thanks KA-CHING!) lasts just a paltry three months.  Then you’re supposed to fly to another country and back to renew it for…

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Days 725-762: What’s Happening, G…?

26.12.10-01.02.11: Well, I was hoping to be back on the road by now, but as anyone who’s been watching the news in the last couple of weeks will tell you, this is not the best time to be mooching around the South Pacific IN A BOAT. Monster storms like Cyclone Yasi here would make short work of an aircraft carrier, never mind a Sloop John B. So I’ve been spending my time wisely, I’ve been working on the book of my adventures, I’ve got myself an agent (finally!!) and a manager (finally finally!!). I’ve been in contact with fellow adventurers Tim Cope and Steve Crombie (who, interestingly enough, is one day older than me… must have been some solar activity around that time) and they’re really helped me out with getting my s--- together. I’ve had a couple of meeting with Lonely Planet and yes series…

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