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What does it take for a traveller to earn a Guinness record?

How about visiting every country on earth – without boarding a single flight

It took Graham Hughes four years and 31 days to visit every country in the world – that’s 201 nations all up – without flying.  


And now, more than a year after completing the journey, the Brit is finally being recognized by Guinness World Records for “the fastest time to visit all countries by public surface transport”.


According to the UK Telegraph, the verification process was held up due to an inordinate amount of data needed to confirm the record, which included 193 pages of passport stamps, over 10,000 photographs and more than a million individual GPS data points as well as 400 hours of video footage.


Mr Hughes was also forced to retrace part of his journey two months after completing the entire trip in November 2012 after it had been discovered he had crossed illegally into Russia from Estonia in spring 2009.


“I can’t remember a more absorbing record to verify in recent years,” senior vice president of the records management team at Guinness World Records, Marco Frigatti said, calling the feat “astonishing”.


“It took a lot of effort and time to authenticate.”


Mr Hughes wrote in the Telegraph that he undertook the journey to “prove it was possible” and that “with a fistful of dollars and the right amount of tenacity, grit and patience you can – if you really want to – go anywhere".


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 5 March 2014

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