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Travelling every country in the world (without flying)?

Travelling every country in the world (without flying)?

Sustainability, Lifestyle

Torbjørn ‘Thor’ Pedersen has spent nearly a decade traveling to every country in the world — without flying. Here’s what the journey taught him. Slow traveling is a culture us us, small steps that anyone can take easily and have a great impact to our societies and the planet.

After leaving his native Denmark in October 2013, 44-year-old Torbjørn "Thor" Pedersen arrived in the Maldives in May. This made him the first person to visit all 195 sovereign states (and another eight disputed territories) without flying.

Is soft travel more important to you now?

I have seen a lot of plastic where it shouldn’t be. Let me put it this way: I like to hike, and the general rule — the hiker’s credo — is that you leave nothing but your footprints. I would like to see this be the credo of travelers as well. Just take your stuff with you and don’t leave a mess. I have tried to leave every place I visit spotless.

You got by on a budget of $20 a day, supported by your sponsor Ross Energy. How has that changed your relationship with money?

Before the trip, I worked in shipping and logistics, and it paid well. I didn’t pay attention to prices at the supermarket — I just whipped out my card. Now I’m much more careful about spending, and I’m willing to do a lot to fix things. I have really learned to flip and turn every coin and ask myself, do I need this? Or do I just want it? Often I end up with: I want it, but I don’t need it. So I’m not going to get it.

You holed up in Hong Kong during the pandemic. Did you ever think about giving up?

I thought about giving up long before that. Back in 2015, when I was in Central Africa, everything was going against me. I was just miserable, not just for hours or days, but for many months. At an immigration checkpoint, where I was turned away for the fifth or sixth time, I pretty much gave up. But eventually I got the necessary papers and got on with the project. And I just kept going.

What’s next for you?

Right now, I am spending time with friends and family. I want to start writing a book as soon as possible, and I really enjoy my speaking gigs. We’re also shooting a documentary right now, which will probably be released on a major streaming platform in 2024. Many people think I’ve enjoyed the last 10 years, but this will tell the story of what it took to reach my goal.

Everyone has their unique way of travelling. We at The Fair Cottage would love to read about where and how you travel. Share your stories with us, connect and build with us on instagram channel or sign up to our newsletter.


PHOTO CREDIT: Thor-Pedersen-QandA-Thor-in-Hong-Kong-2020-credit-Pavel-Toropov-scaled