Running 196 Marathons in 196 Countries - The Challenges Faced
Is it possible to visit every country in the world?
How much will it cost to travel the world?
What's the best way to pack for different climates?
How can you travel to every country in the world without wasting money?
Answer: Who knows; I don’t. The optimist in me thought this would actually be straightforward. But it was hard, and made more difficult by airlines around the world changing their mind virtually every week. The final position we came to was to discount certain elements, climate being one of them. While I couldn’t avoid hot or cold climates, I could plan a route that meant I wasn’t hopping from the two extremes too often. So the final route takes me from the UK to North America, down into Central America, on to South America for the entire month of March, and then across to Africa, where I’ll spend four-and-a-half months. Well actually, Africa and Europe are like a sandwich, with Africa as the bread and Europe as the filling. I am splitting Africa into two phases – phase 1 will cover 80%, I’ll then jump over to Europe, complete that in around three months, and then back to Africa (to allow enough time for the remaining visas, which can’t all be on one passport or indeed, acquired in the right time frame). Once Africa and Europe is complete I’ll travel through Asia for another three months, then down into Oceania and Antarctica. Antarctica is a problem in itself – watch out for more details on this in later posts. Hopefully, with support from the British Antarctic Survey, I will have a way in to spend a few weeks on the continent in their summer time. Anyway, as you can see… the route isn’t easy. Sometimes I have to travel on five different planes and journey thousands of miles out of my way, just to pop across a border. Borders lead me on to my last ‘problem’.
How dangerous is the world?
Answer: No, the world isn’t safe. Most of it is, but there are about a dozen countries that my security company have marked as ‘very high risk’. Whether that be political unrest, westerners unwanted, kidnap value etc… There’s a free tool I’ve come across called ‘Risk Map’. Here’s the link… http://www.riskmap.com See for yourself all the areas in the world that have significant issues and dangers. I can’t say too much about my safety measures, for obvious reasons, but generally, I will be looked after. I have multiple communication devices, detailed check-in protocols, and scenario-based plans. Countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Venezuela, Syria and others are areas I’ve had to take a more detailed look at. Am I worried or scared? Yes, but also no. I think I’m not as scared as I should be because I haven’t yet experienced any real threat to my life. I am also not stupid (although some friends would say I most certainly am) – I know the world isn’t all flowers and smiles, but no matter the dangers, I want this trip to transcend any political barriers and hopefully bring the world, and the running community, together."