The Odyssey Expedition is pretty much a one-man-band. I travel unsupported and on my own – writing the blogs, updating the website and editing the videos as I go. But I wouldn’t last five minutes without my friends and family who take time out of their busy schedules to help in any way they can. These are the angels (and demons!) of The Odyssey Pantheon…
ODYSSEUS (Graham Hughes)
Rarely seen these days without my trusty Kanga Hat, I regard myself as one of those quintessential Englishman who shuns safety and comfort for a life of adventure, excitement and really wild things.
I thought this journey would take 12 months, 18 tops. I was wrong.
It took nearly 4 years. But I did it!
You can say a lot of things about me, but I ain’t no quitter!!!
PENELOPE (Mandy Newland)
I met my sassy Aussie counterpart in Egypt during the heady eclipse-dominated summer of 1999, and we took on the world together for ten wonderful years. She stuck with me through thick and thin over the course of The Odyssey Expedition, but all good things eh? Even though we are now no longer a couple, she is still supporting me behind the scenes. She’s my best friend in the world and always will be.
LAËRTES & ANTICLEA (Graham & Irene Hughes)
I blame the parents. If it wasn’t for the enduring support of my mum and dad, The Odyssey wouldn’t have left square one. As well as offering unwavering moral support (and helpfully reminding me to eat) my mum also helps with getting my visas sorted. Much like Luke Skywalker, I owe my adventurous / rebellious / genius / evil streak to my father. He sparked my passion for travel at an early age, he’s the only person I know who can beat me at Trivial Pursuit and he probably wouldn’t hesitate to blow up Alderaan.
HANUMAN (Dino Deasha)
Dino is possibly my oldest friend and we’ve been at each other’s throats ever since. After having all our individuality beaten out of us at Liverpool’s Blue Coat school, we struggled together through incomprehensible university courses before staggering out into the real world like rabbits caught in headlights. Dino works with Lorna arranging my shipping forays.
PALLAS ATHENA (Lorna Brookes)
I met Lorna in the crazy world of 2007’s Beer Vortex – a six week bender precipitated by Mandy going home to Oz for a few months. I drunkenly explained my stupid plan for visiting every country in the world and Lorna drunkenly said she would help… she’s kept her promise, helping me score rides on more cargo ships than I can remember.
ARTEMIS (Anna Rosser)
Anna is my top chum from home and somebody who has been there for me through thick and thin. She hung out with me in Bali and looked after me in Liverpool after Mandy and I broke up. Anna has always been on hand to dispense sage advice, friendly banter and help keep my feet on the ground. If it wasn’t for her, I’d have drifted off years ago.
CASSIOPEIA (Lindsey Bennett)
Lindsey has been in my life for over 17 years now, and we’ve shared many great adventures and music festivals together. Always happy to have me crash at her place in London, she has also been a fantastic help with visas that I couldn’t get myself on the road.
BACCHUS (Alex Zelenjak)
Alex stumbled upon The Odyssey Expedition back in 2009 and has been my go-to man for the Googles ever since. He was instrumental in helping out with my shipping forays around The Pacific and gave me a place to crash and a pub to drink at when I was in Sydney for the week… good on ya, Alex!
LOKI (Rocco Fasano)
Rocco and I met in Ghana back in August 2009 when he was sent over by Lonely Planet TV to film me for a few weeks as I made my way to Gabon. We’ve been great mates ever since, we share the same mischievous (Machiavellian?) sense of humour and Rocco’s cooking was one of the highlights of my 2011 hiatus in Melbourne.
GWYDION (Scott Jones)
Scott is The Odyssey Expedition’s designer and is responsible for the wonderful logos, banners and maps that adorn the site. He is one of the UK’s most respected graphic designers and he’s the genius behind the record covers of some of the best-selling albums of all time, from The Zutons to The Klaxons to The Arctic Monkeys.
OZYMANDIAS (Leo Skelly)
Leo was responsible for setting up and running The Odyssey Expedition website for the first year of its operation, all whilst juggling a full time job and two young children. He taught me everything I know about Zen and the Art of Website Maintenance, passing the baton to me alone in 2010.
AGAMEMNON (Alex Hughes)
Alex is my brother and is responsible for worrying more about his sibling’s safety than anybody else on the planet, possibly because his view of the world has been tainted by too many 80s action movies. He whipped the UK press into a frenzy when I was imprisoned in Cape Verde and Congo.
CALYPSO (Laura McGann)
Another legend picked up via the Beer Vortex, Laura McGann is my sassy workmate. A fledging film-maker herself, she busies herself making cracking short films for Channel 4 under her company banner of Faidra Films. She helped me film The Odyssey Pitch video and was employed in 2009 by Lonely Planet TV to film stuff for The Odyssey TV show.
FREYDA (Grethe Børsum)
Grethe is our Norse goddess/photographer who took the early publicity shots that appear on The Odyssey Expedition site and related media. As well as being a full-time Valkyrie, she also plays a mean few chords on the electric guitar. How cool is THAT?
OLD MAN COYOTE (Matt Eland)
Matt and I met at Liverpool’s 48hr film-making challenge (which I won) and decided it might be a good idea to work together. After producing ‘The Censor
’, it was Matt (together with Laura and Jewles) who helped shoot The Odyssey pitch video, starting a chain reaction which culminated in me securing the TV show and setting off for South America.
BUDDHA (Mike Guy)
Mike’s the kind of guy who would make you climb a mountain to seek his wisdom, so you better make your questions count. As well as being my full time big brother, Mike helps with all things technical and is my first port of call when discussing how to take over the world or how truly awful Star Wars Episode I is.
ORPHEUS (Simon Barber)
Si is the one who composed and performed the bombastic tunes for The Odyssey web videos. No only does he have a PhD in music, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of 80s film and hosts the lovely website you are currently viewing. He’s worked with me on tons of video projects since 2002. You can catch up with his latest escapades at www.simonbarber.com
ASTERIX (Thierry Klinklin)
Introduced by the delectable Lorna Brookes, Thierry is The Odyssey’s native Francophone and as such is responsible for facilitating my passage through the Indian Ocean. It was Thierry that ensured my place on the DAL Madagascar from Reunion back to Madagascar.
FINN McCOOL (Colm Broaders)
Colm is Leo’s mate from Ireland who helped out with the Odyssey Expedition website when Leo was busy doing his full time job, looking after the kids, buying a new house or filing his nails. He is devilishly handsome and immensely attractive. Hey who wrote that?- G
BEOWULF (Christian Olsen)
My Danish cousin, Christian was responsible for securing my passage across the Atlantic on the Eimskip boats as well as filling me full of beer upon my arrival in Copenhagen. More recently, he sorted me out on the MV Maersk Sebarok from Mauritius to South Africa. Top Viking!
APOLLO (John Howell)
John is an old school chum of mine who when not running faster than everybody else (he was the one who would always win the annual cross country run while I dawdled at the back in fancy dress) handles all things legal for The Odyssey Expedition and is the voice of reason when it comes to dealing with my hot-headed temperament.
ARTHUR PENDRAGON (Hugh Sheridan)
The once and future king of Britain, Hugh strides this world like a colossus. An old schoolfriend, Hugh taught me how to sail (kinda) and is always on hand to dispense words of wisdom.Hugh also helped sort me with a visa for Saudi Arabia (one of the trickiest to get). I’d love it if he fancies sailing to The Seychelles with me!!
Responsible for more Odyssey headaches and heartaches than anybody else, This god has been a fishy thorn in my side since day one. Preventing me from getting from one place to another with his mighty waves and terrible storms, Posiedon seems to take a sick delight in stranding me in really rubbish places beginning with ‘C’.
The miserable heartless bureaucratic jobsworths of the world. They tried to stop me going to Cuba, they made my Greyhound travel across the US a misery, they made me wait for weeks on end for visas to come through, they imprisoned me illegally (twice) and demanded bribes every five seconds in West Africa. And their poetry is bloody awful.
THE SOMALI PIRATES
There is a damn good reason why I’ve it took me over three years to make it to the The Seychelles: the reach of the Somali pirates has grown year on year since 2006 and makes supernumerary travel on cargo ships in the western Indian Ocean all but impossible. But you know what? I won.