Graham Hughes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Graham Hughes
Graham-Hughes 2.jpg
Hughes in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 2010
Born (1979-02-28) 28 February 1979 (age 42)[1]
Known forVisiting all 193 UN member states without flying

Graham David Hughes (born 28 February 1979) is a British adventurer, filmmaker, television presenter and Guinness World Record holder. Hughes was the first person to visit all 193 United Nations member states and several other territories across the world without flying.[2]

While on his journey he presented the television programme 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.[3]

Early life[edit]

Graham Hughes was born in Liverpool in 1979. He attended Blackmoor Park School and the Liverpool Blue Coat School, studying English, General Studies, History, and Politics at A-Level. He read Politics and Modern History at the University of Manchester and graduated with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in 2000. He moved to Orrell Park and set up a video production company firstly in Dale Street and then in the Baltic Triangle.[4]

The Odyssey Expedition[edit]

The Odyssey Expedition was a visit to all 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 recognised non-member states of Palestine, Western Sahara, Kosovo, and Taiwan, for a total of 201 "countries" without flying. He noted people wonder how he got to countries like North Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, but claims "they were the easy ones".[5]

Before embarking on the journey, Hughes contacted Guinness World Records to agree in advance the rules of his unique journey. They were: no flying as part of the journey, no private taxis over long distances (shared "bush" taxis were okay), no hitch-hiking, Hughes could not drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike as part of the journey (Guinness World Records does not permit people to "race" on public roads in private vehicles in order to set or break records), he must set foot on dry land (sailing into territorial waters did not count) and no travelling to far-flung territories and counting them as a visit to the motherland. Private transport was permitted over short distances (such as taking a private taxi across town), private transport was also permitted over water and he was allowed to take a break from the journey for personal reasons so long as he did not fly as part of the journey and he returned to the exact spot from which he left, something he did twice on his landmark journey. It was agreed that the clock would not stop.[6]

Events 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-Brazzaville[7] and Cape Verde.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

World records[edit]

Hughes set a new Guinness World Record by visiting "133 countries in one year by scheduled ground transport"[11][12] 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."[13]

Television shows and filmmaking[edit]

Hughes's personal video log of the first year of his expedition was made into an eight-part television series called "Graham's World" or "Lonely Planet's The Odyssey".[14] It was commissioned by the National Geographic Adventure channel, produced by Lonely Planet and distributed by BBC Worldwide.[15]

On 12 December 2013, Hughes was declared the winner of SOS Island,[16] 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.[17] He chose to buy an island in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, from fellow British adventurer Ian Usher. Hughes renamed it "Jinja Island" and lived there off-grid for the best part of three years.[18]

Travel writing[edit]

Hughes's debut travel memoir, "Man of the World: Book One of The Odyssey Expedition", a lively first-hand account of the first year of his journey to every country without flying, was first published by ATBOSH Media in October 2017. It was named to Kirkus Reviews' books of the year in December 2018.[19]

Hughes has also written numerous articles about travel for MSN,[20] Bankrate[21] and Moneywise,[22] amongst others.

Global Scouse Day[edit]

Hughes is regarded as the founder of Global Scouse Day, a celebration of "all things Liverpool" held every year in his home town on his birthday.[23]

Anti-Brexit activism[edit]

In the wake of the Brexit referendum, Hughes wrote to his local Labour Party MP, Stephen Twigg, threatening to stand against him in an upcoming election if he voted with the Conservative Party to activate Article 50 without any protection for EU citizens living in the UK or British citizens living in the EU (against the wishes of a majority of his constituents). When Theresa May called a snap election in April 2017, Hughes, true to his word, returned to the UK to run against Twigg as an independent candidate.[24] He received 0.7% of the votes.[4][25]

Since then, Hughes has been a vocal advocate of remaining in the European Union, leading and emceeing the "People's March For Europe" in September 2017.[26] He stood as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the 2018 local government elections for his home ward of Knotty Ash, Liverpool and came third with just over 6% of the vote.

YouTube work[edit]

Graham has been active on YouTube since Sep 12, 2006 and in the summer of 2013, Hughes's "One Second Every Country" YouTube video went viral,[27] amassing almost one million views in just a few weeks, which led to appearances on BBC News[28] and CBS This Morning[29] as well as articles about his travels on Buzzfeed[30] and Esquire.[31]


  1. ^ "Graham Hughes on Instagram: "Huge and unstoppable thanks and kudos to @laurasbakeryliverpool for my fabulous, epic and incredible birthday cake(s)!!!! 😍😍😍 THANK…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 25 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Fastest time to visit all countries by public surface transport". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Graham's World". National Geographic Channel - Videos, TV Shows & Photos - Asia. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Graham David Hughes - Back to Save the World". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  5. ^ "I am the FIRST (and ONLY) person to visit EVERY COUNTRY in the world WITHOUT FLYING. I now live on a private island in the Caribbean. ASK ME ANYTHING!!! : IAmA". reddit. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  6. ^ " Video Player". NBC News. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  7. ^ "BBC News - Global filmmaker arrested again". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Fears for arrested round-world filmmaker". The Independent. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  9. ^ Luke Traynor. "Graham Hughes: Guinness World Records won't count adventurer's trip round the globe - Mirror Online". mirror. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  10. ^ "WaterAid - News". Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  11. ^ Guinness World Records. "Most Countries Visited in One Year By Scheduled Ground Transport - Guinness World Records". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  12. ^ "The Japan Times - News on Japan, Business News, Opinion, Sports, Entertainment and More". The Japan Times. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Every country without a flight: trip gets Guinness record". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Lonely Planet's The Odyssey" – via
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ "Fun Stuff and Competitions - heatworld". heatworld. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  17. ^ "The Winner of "SOS Island" Survival Series 2013 is… Graham Hughes!". Archived from the original on 30 December 2013.
  18. ^ Hughes, Graham. "Cheap Travel: 10 Secrets of a World-Record Globetrotter". Bankrate. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  19. ^ "MAN OF THE WORLD by Graham Hughes | Kirkus Reviews" – via
  20. ^ "9 Easily Overlooked Countries to Start Seeing in 2019".
  21. ^ Hughes, Graham. "Cheap Travel: 10 Secrets of a World-Record Globetrotter". Bankrate.
  22. ^ "Graham Hughes - Freelance Contributor".
  23. ^ Wright, Jade (28 February 2016). "Happy Global Scouse day! Get ready to tuck into a bowl of the good stuff..." liverpoolecho. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  24. ^ Traynor, Luke (17 May 2017). "Explorer leaves his private South American island - to run as Liverpool MP". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  25. ^ "BBC Election Results". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Tens of thousands of anti-Brexit activists march to Parliament". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  27. ^ "BBC News - Round-the-world trip film goes viral". BBC News. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  28. ^ "BBC News - Graham Hughes travelled the world without flying or driving". BBC News. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  29. ^ "Globetrotter hits 201 countries on shoestring budget, without air travel". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  30. ^ Dan Martin. "This Is What Every Single Country in the World Looks Like For One Second". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  31. ^ "Meet the Guy Who Circumnavigated the Globe Without Taking a Plane". Esquire. Retrieved 1 December 2014.

External links[edit]