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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Day 1,400: The Wandering Rocks

Fri 02.11.12: Don’t get me wrong, I really love Réunion – it’s fun, the weather is like perpetual spring, the food is great and my French has improved in the last week beyond measure. And I’m doing quite well, all things considered, you know, 200 countries visited, just one to go, I get to live out my Manny Calavera fantasies and say I’ve been on a four-year journey of the soul (the joke being that I’m ginger and therefore have no soul) and one way or another I should be home in a couple of months. But every silver lining has a cloud, and what with Neptune blocking my passage to the island of Madagascar and depositing me on the French Island of Réunion like some latter-day Papillon, I’ve got to figure a cunning way out of this fix. To the instant rescue comes splendid shipping…

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Day 1,391: I Sell Seychelles

Wed 24.10.12: Country 2-0-0. Friends, can you BELIEVE IT? Nope. Neither can I, which is good, because Seychelles is quite an unbelievable place. In a good way. Unlike The Maldives, it’s not just flat flat flat as far as the eye can see: these are volcanic islands (over 100 of ’em) spread out slap bang in the centre of the western Indian Ocean. Honestly, it was love at first sight. Its vibe: it was Tonga, it was Samoa, it was Fiji… but in the Indian Ocean. Coming out from strict, religion-lovin’, fun-avoiding countries like Sri Lanka, India and Maldives where you are supposed to be in bed (on your own) for 9pm and there are simply no local girls out having a good time, Seychelles was a blast of ice-cool crystal-clear fresh air. We arrived at Victoria, the capital of the country, around 1pm. Victoria is…

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Day 1,387: The Maldeviants

Sat 20.10.12: Friday was spent at sea, familiarising myself with the ship. Good news: the bars are open until 2am. Bad news: I don’t have enough money to drink. I’ve got about £400 left to get me from here to Liverpool, through at least 15 countries. Can it be done? Probably not, but that why God invented credit-cards eh? The ship is lovely, the food is tasty and plentiful (although I’m not eating much these days) and the staff are brilliant. Of course there’s a certain amount of loneliness that comes of being the only person on the ship on my own, but I’m quite an outgoing going chap, so not to worry. In any case, gives me some more time to work on my scripts (and that taster, Mike ;-)). So Saturday I woke with the lark to find a city floating past my porthole.…

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Day 1,385: The Big Ship Sails On The Ally-Ally-O

Thu 17.10.12: After firing off my blog on Wednesday evening I met with Niall Doherty, a fellow overlander who has been suck in Cochin for the past few weeks trying to get to… you guessed it! Colombo on a cargo ship. Two adventurers cut from the same mould, it was all very predictable that we would get on like a house on fire. We went to the pub, which is pretty much the only pub in Fort Cochin. There we were met by the indomitable Vipin Es, the coolest Indian on the planet, who I met at this very waterhole two years ago when I was trying to do the exact same thing that Niall is trying to do now… get to Colombo on a ship! Vipin brought with him a few mates: Alex, Nate and Isla, and after one two many Kingfishers I was magnificently…

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Day 1,371: Icarus, Not Daedalus

Tue 02.10.12 My incredible plan for Sunday night was stay up all night drinking and partying at Chili’s Bar in Unawatuna. Then I was to take first express bus back to Colombo at 6am AS I HAD WORK TO DO!! I had to take my passport, photos, application form, cruise tickets, air-tickets, bank statements, itinerary, inside trouser measurement and father’s maiden name to the Madagascan Consulate in order to get my Madagascan visa (third time lucky!). Then I had to go to the Indian High Commission and ask them (very nicely) if they would be so kind as to give me my visa a little bit quicker. All went surprisingly swimmingly. I got the Madagascan visa there and then. The lady at the Indian High Commission told me to come back in the afternoon. I headed over to the shopping mall’s foodcourt and hooked myself up…

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Days M3-M5: A Weekend In Madang

30.09.11-02.10.11: The Lutheran Shipping ferry slid into Madang port bang on 7am, which was the exact time the captain told me it would arrive. I have to say, I was mighty impressed by all this startling efficiency. Now if only we could do something about the rest of PNG… I headed back over to Divine WORD (not wind, sorry!) University to meet back up with the delectable Katherine, who had kindly said I could stay for the weekend. After dropping off my kit and taking a well deserved shower (it had been five days in the topics without one… nice!) I went for a pleasant walk around town (Madang is nothing if not pleasant) and grabbed some lunch in the Madang Club which is one of these hilarious ex-pat affairs in which every square inch of wall is taken up by rules of entry/dress/conduct etc. One…

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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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THE ODYSSEY: Review of 2010

January 2010 I started the year in fine fettle.  Having met Mandy at the pyramids in Egypt for midnight on New Year's Eve we spent a wonderful week together before she flew home and I hit the road once again.  Before the month was out I had made it to Sudan, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.  Iraq was amazingly easy to get into and so I decided to spend a few days there.  I’m glad I did. Countries Visited: 8 Running Total: 141 February 2010 I started February in Cyprus and then headed to Istanbul from where I was expecting to hit Greece, Italy, Tunisia and then (finally!) Libya and Algeria.  But after finding out it would be a couple of weeks before my visas came through, I decided to head back home for a bit, drum up some publicity and set off…

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Day 723: Fairytale of New Guinea

24.12.10: Amazingly, the ferry boat arrived at Wewak early: by 4am, we were less than a mile from the port.  I stood out on deck: it had been a hot and sweaty night and I hadn’t got much sleep.  The warm breeze beckoned me towards land and salvation, but the captain had other ideas.  For some mad mad mad reason, we started to go around and around in circles.  Full power, engines whining and groaning, the water churning. I stayed up for an hour, perplexed and bewildered.  Why?  WHY? At 5am I went back to the VIP room and fell back asleep.  I woke up an hour later.  We were still running around in circles.  I looked at my watch. I had missed the 6am flight to Port Moresby.  There was no way I was going to be back with Mandy for Christmas.  As if to…

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