Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg traveled by steamer, train, elephant and horse around the world to demonstrate it was possible to do so. It took eighty days. Today, I completed my 80th navigation of the globe.
This is a touch over two million miles (3.2 million kilometres), a feat which has taken me just over half a century of flying. This is what it looks like:
I have flown to 62 of the 80 countries, I have visited. The rest I have reached by bus, train, car and in one case foot.
Importantly, my travels have enabled me to meet some of my best friends ever plus connect with a heap of acquaintances.
I have had the chance to work and volunteer with some amazing organisations in some fascinating places including Guam, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
Sunsets in the Maldives, hikes in Slovenia, Safaris in Zimbabwe, caving in Arkansas, snorkeling in Australia, running in the Berlin marathon, climbing the Eiffel Tower , sailing the Panama Canal and riding trains through the Swiss Alps and under the English Channel are some of my experiences in 80 circuits around the world.
More soberly, almost being robbed in Paris, almost being shot in El Salvador, having my bus being blown up in the Middle East, almost dying of a tropical disease in a Nigerian hospital and dislocating my shoiulder falling off the Angkor Thom Temple are the few negatives of my travels.
Altogether, I have flown to or from 241 airports with my favourite being Singapore and my most hated Los Angeles. The fact that I hate LAX marginally more than Cairo in Egypt and Bagan, Myanmar tells you how awful it truly is. The most southern airport in the world I have flown to is Invercargill in New Zealand Latitude: -46° 23′ 60.00″ S whereas northwards, I have flown into and out of Grimsey, Iceland, an airport located on the Arctic Circle at Latitude: 66° 32′ 28.79″ North
Going around the globe, the furthest west I have got to is Apia in Samoa which sits at Longitude: -171° 45′ 59.99″ W. not far from the International Date Line which sits is halfway around the world at 180 degrees! The further East I have flown to is Gisborne, New Zealand also not far from the date line at Longitude: 177° 58′ 25.19″ East.
Fifty five different types of planes have taken me there ranging from VC10s in the 1960s through MD80s to the 380s, 350s and 787s of today. I have traveled all but one of every type of Boeing 7 series (707 through to 787). The exception is the 737 MAX which you won’t find me ever flying. Likewise with every type of Airbus. My one regret continues to be not ever having hitched aboard the Concorde. I still have fond memories of the VC10, continue to love the 747 and really enjoy the A380, 777 and 787. I endure the 737 and am not a fan of either Airbus 330 or 350.
Since 2002, I have been double offsetting the greenhouse gases from my flights, train trips and bus rides investing in renewable options and tree plantings. This means I choose an option to do so for each booking and at the end of each year, I invest again to offset the total gases my travels have created for that year.
My motto is to invest in lives. More practically, with what I have, I do as much I can to achieve your dreams and help others to achieve theirs. I encourage you to do the same.
Because I have been beyond lucky and able to do what I have, I have been happily supporting UNICEF and Save the Childrens Funds in various ways for fifty years. Please consider them in your donations this Holiday/New Year season.