Graham Hughes

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Graham Hughes
Graham-Hughes 2.jpg
Hughes in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia June 2010
Born 1979
Liverpool, England

Graham David Hughes (born 1979) is a British adventurer, filmmaker, television presenter and Guinness World Records holder. Hughes successfully visited all 193 United Nations member states without flying. He did so over a period of nearly four years and completed the task in November 2012.[1] While on his journey he presented the television program "Graham's World" on the National Geographic Adventure channel, a weekly look into his ongoing quest to break multiple world records by visiting every country on earth without flying.[2]

The Odyssey Expedition[edit]

The Odyssey Expedition was a quest to drop in on every one of the 193 UN member states. For the United Kingdom, Hughes visited all of the four constituent countries that make up the kingdom, and counted the UN member state as four separate countries. Hughes also visited the non-member state of Vatican City, as well as the partially recognized non-member states of Palestine, Western Sahara, Kosovo, and Taiwan, for a total of 201 "countries" without flying. The rules of his trip were: no flying, no private transport (a rule enforced by the Guinness World Records race regulations, which cannot condone a public race in private vehicles) and no travelling to far flung territories and counting them as visiting the motherland.[3]

Hughes completed his expedition on Monday 26 November 2012 after entering South Sudan.He traveled overland back to his hometown of Liverpool so that if other countries come into being following the end of his journey, he can travel there and back without flying to keep the spirit of The Odyssey.

Guinness World Records were reportedly unhappy with his entry into Russia as it was the only country he entered without passing an official border post.[4] So in January 2013 Hughes returned to Russia, this time with an official visa.

While on The Odyssey Expedition, Hughes helped raise funds and awareness for the charity WaterAid.[5]

SOS Island[edit]

On December 12, 2013, Hughes was declared the winner of "SOS Island",[6] a Survivor-like show featuring Les Stroud which relied on social media to promote Samsung products on a desert island setting. The prize was $100,000 towards a future island adventure of his choice.[7]

World records[edit]

Hughes set a new Guinness World Record by visiting "133 countries in one year by scheduled ground transport"[8][9] during the first year of his four-year journey.

In February 2014, it was announced that Guinness World Records had confirmed Hughes's Odyssey Expedition was "The fastest time to visit all countries by public surface transport" (4 years and 31 days) after an extraordinarily long verification process. Marco Frigatti, Head of Records at Guinness World Records was quoted as saying "I can't remember a more absorbing record to verify in recent years."[10]

Television programs[edit]

Hughes's personal video log of his trip has been converted into a television series called "Graham's World" on the National Geographic Adventure channel.[11] It is an eight-part series covering Hughes's first year traveling to every country in the Americas, Europe and most of Africa from January 2009 - December 2009. Highlights of the trip included imprisonment in the Republic of the Congo, getting caught sneaking into Russia, and running the blockade into Cuba. He was arrested in Estonia and Cameroon and spent jail time in Congo[12] and Cape Verde.[13]

Film and music videos[edit]

With his company, Hydra Studios, he has written and directed a number of short films and won the inaugural Liverpool 48 Hour Film Challenge in 2006. Hughes has worked for World Challenge Expeditions, producing several travel videos. He has also been heavily involved in the Liverpool music scene, shooting or producing videos for Hot Club De Paris, The Dead 60's, The Basement, (We are) Performance, Peter And The Wolf, Lyons And Tigers, China Crisis, The Coral, The Real Kicks, The Sonic Hearts, Metro Manila Aide, White Rose Movement and filming for the release of the Arctic Monkeys second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare.[14]

In the summer of 2013, Hughes's "One Second Every Country" YouTube video went viral,[15] amassing almost one million views in just a few weeks, which led to appearances on BBC News [16] and CBS This Morning [17] as well as articles about his travels on Buzzfeed [18] and Esquire.[19]


  1. ^ Graham Hughes British man becomes first person to visit all 201 countries... WITHOUT using a plane Daily Mail (30-11-2012)
  2. ^ Graham's World TV Show - National Geographic Channel - Asia. (2009-02-02). Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
  3. ^ Video Player. MSNBC. Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
  4. ^ Travel sickener: Adventurer's trip round the globe falls foul of Guinness World Records rules The Mirror (2013-02-05)
  5. ^ Go Graham!. WaterAid. Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
  6. ^ YouTubin' Liverpudlian Graham Hughes is announced as the winner of SOS Island! Heat Magazine (2013-12-12)
  7. ^ World Traveler Graham Hughes Secures Viewer Votes to Earn Him the $100,000 Island Prize Snakkle (2013-12-12).
  8. ^ Most Countries Visited In One Year By Scheduled Ground Transport | Guinness World Records
  9. ^ Globe-trotting Brit sets a new 'Guinness' record for itchy feet | The Japan Times Online. (2010-05-16). Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
  10. ^ Every country without a flight: trip gets Guinness record The Telegraph (2014-02-27)
  11. ^ Press Room. (2009-07-01). Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
  12. ^ Global filmmaker arrested again. BBC News (2009-09-11). Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
  13. ^ Fears for arrested round-world filmmaker - Africa, World. The Independent (2009-09-11). Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
  14. ^ As published in AU Magazine, December 2009
  15. ^ Round-the-world trip film goes viral BBC News (2013-08-05]
  16. ^ Graham Hughes travelled the world without flying or driving BBC News (2013-08-07)
  17. ^ Globetrotter hits 201 countries on shoestring budget, without air travel CBS News (2013-09-24)
  18. ^ This Is What Every Single Country In The World Looks Like For One Second Buzzfeed (2013-10-10)
  19. ^ Meet The Guy Who Circumnavigated The Globe Without Taking A Plane Esquire (2013-12-26)

External links[edit]