Meet the man who is on a mission to travel the world without stepping into an aircraft. He has visited 194 countries so far


Torbjørn C Pedersen, the globe-trotting Dane higher often known as Thor, has travelled to 194 countries without ever taking a flight! On a mission to go round the world without flying, Thor’s modes of transport have included container ships, shrimp trawlers, fishing boats, ferries, public buses and trains. “I was on board a working ship in the Caribbeans. The captain didn’t like me, so I had to sleep on the floor in the kitchen. It was greasy,” laughs Thor, who is now 9 countries wanting finishing his mission.

Thor, 41, a goodwill ambassador for the Danish Red Cross, set out on this floor journey on October 10, 2013 — “at 10.10 am from Dybbøl Mølle, Denmark and then I crossed into Germany,” he says — as a part of a partly self-funded venture Once Upon a Saga. However, the present COVID-19 pandemic chained this intrepid traveller down in Hong Kong.

Fresh off the boat

His subsequent cease was supposed to be the island of Palau. “Nobody knows how long I’ll be here for,” says Thor over a video name from Hong Kong, including, “Hong Kong is the best place to be in. They have handled it well. We are free to walk about: cafés and shops were open. Cinemas and museums shut for a couple of weeks but are opening up now.” The borders stay shut although. “The container ships made a decision that non-essential people cannot come aboard and those on board cannot leave,” he says.

Unexpected stopover

His preliminary plan was to keep in Hong Kong for 4 days however now it has been 118 days. His subsequent transfer relies upon on which nation opens up its borders. “For example, if New Zealand opens up, I will head there and then work my way across to the other places.” And if the world goes again to regular tomorrow, it should nonetheless take him 10 months to full the remaining route, which includes Palau, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Meet the man who is on a mission to travel the world without stepping into an aircraft. He has visited 194 countries so far

Lighting the wanderlust fuse

  • The thought to set out on the grand journey happened when Thor’s father despatched him a newspaper article about travelling round the world, and he realised it is not essential to be a millionaire to try this. “It is estimated that 230 people have gone to every country in the world and nobody has done it without a flight.”
  • Before setting out on this journey, Thor had a 12-year profession with delivery and logistics. He has labored in Libya, Bangladesh and lots of different locations round the globe. Prior to that, he was in the Danish military and with the United Nations.
  • Ross DK, a Danish firm, sponsors 50% of this venture and the relaxation is self-funded. “I have taken two loans and sold private belongings and many wonderful people have supported the project by making donations.” he says. Thor’s per day price range is US$ 20.
  • He largely stays in hostels because it is simple and low cost. He additionally sleeps on buses, trains and ships. Sometimes resorts attain out to him. In Hong Kong, he is staying with a household that supplied him a room.
  • What does he carry with him? A sleeping bag, a hammock, a lot of clothes, books, electronics, laptop computer, first assist, Red Cross tools, trainers. “I go running anywhere in the world. I run a lot on the container ships. They have gyms. So I can say I was running on the Atlantic!”

It has been onerous not going dwelling the final six-and-a-half years. “Sometimes, it is very tempting to look at the airport and think my fiancée is at home, and end this trip, go home, wear normal clothes,” says Thor. But each time he wins the psychological battle and pushes on along with his mission. While 80% of the journey has been pretty straight ahead, Thor says paperwork is all the time a problem: visas, paper work and verify factors. He says, “There is a big difference when you travel to a country by flight and without it. In the airport there is a high degree of security. It is much more difficult to cross the land borders.” But it has all been price it, he says, fondly recalling the New Year’s Eve of 2018 that he spent in Amritsar after his fiancée flew down to be part of him. “There were firecrackers above the Golden Temple,” he says excitedly. He then went to Delhi to meet with the Red Cross (he has visited 189 Red Cross items throughout the globe) and Mumbai.

Man on a mission

Thor has picked up new expertise alongside the method. “I know my capabilities, I am far more confident, but I am also humble because what I have accomplished is with the help of people,” he says. He has additionally acquired a beard alongside the method, which is one thing he intends to removes when his fiancée visits subsequent. “People can look at my face and say how long it’s been since I have seen her,” he laughs.

Thor is of the opinion that the folks make a nation attention-grabbing. Through this journey, he additionally desires to show that as a foreigner, one can go to any nation, meet good folks, and really feel secure. “I have been travelling in public transport, eating at local food stalls and I am still alive. Nobody cut, stabbed or kidnapped me. People are just people. All over we are doing the same thing but in different ways. We care about barbecue, social media, selfies, we get stuck in traffic. We don’t want war, terrorism, trouble. We just want to carve out a piece for ourselves and our family,” he concludes.

Thor paperwork his journey at www.onceuponasaga.dk

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