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Traveling around the world is one thing; walking around it is a completely other story. Here are six people who, in one way or another, took the slow route.

It takes about 20 millions steps to walk around the world, several years commitment as well as determination, stamina, and a state of mind that few of us can imagine.

Strict rules, taking into account distance covered, and verification of continents crossed, govern entry into the elite club of those that have ‘officially’ walked around the world. While many successful foot circumnavigations of the globe have not achieved official recognition, they are still an epic demonstration of human endurance and courage.

Here are just a few:

1. Dave Kunst

Dave Kunst

Dave Kunst was the very first (verified) person to complete an entire circuit of the earth on foot (not including the oceans, of course).

Beginning in June 1970, Dave, accompanied by his brother John, left on a journey that would take them across Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Sadly, John Kunst was shot and killed by bandits in Afghanistan during this adventure, but Dave completed this journey with his other brother Pete.

He walked 14,450 miles total in just over 4 years.

2. Steven Newman

Steven Newman

Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the first person to walk around the world solo, Steve Newman crossed 20 countries and walked some 15,000 miles during his four-year journey.

Since the time he finished his walk in 1987, he has also walked the length of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and completed the 900-mile Henro Pilgrimage path on Japan’s Shikoku Island.

He is currently planning the first ever walk across the entire length of the Great Wall of China.

3. Rosie Swale-Pope

Rosie Swale-Pope / Photo: The Telegraph

In 2003, at age 57 (yes, 57), Rosie Swale-Pope was not content with just walking around the world - she ran.

To help raise cancer awareness and aid for several other charities, Rosie took on one of the most adventurous – and difficult – routes to travel the world: Russia, Alaska, Canada, Mainland USA, Greenland, Iceland and the UK.

She wore through over 50 pairs of running shoes and raised more than £250,000 for charity.

4. Ffyona Campbell

Ffyona Campbell / Photo: Portal Planet

The official record of “first woman to walk around the world” was taken away from Ffyona Campbell when it emerged she cheated on a few miles of the journey during the USA leg of her trip.

Nonetheless, she completed a walk of 20,000 miles, crossing the USA, Australia, Africa and Europe in the space of 11 years.

She has since made up the distance missed in the USA. Although she cannot reclaim her lost record, she holds the record for the fastest crossing of Australia on foot – 3,200 miles in just 95 days.

5. George Meegan

George Meegan

From Tierra Del Fuego to the northernmost part of Alaska, George Meegan walked 19,019 miles in 2,425 days (1977-1983).

He holds the record for the longest unbroken walk, the first and only walk to cover the entire western hemisphere, and the most degrees of latitude ever covered on foot.

He also maintains four other records relating to countries and continents crossed during the course of his journey.

6. Karl Bushby

Karl Bushby / Photo: BBC

Originally planned on the back of a beer mat and started in 1998, Karl Bushby’s 14 year, 36,000 mile plan is to walk from the bottom of South America, north to Alaska, heading west crossing the vast expanse of Siberia, then through Europe on his way back to the UK.

His walk is currently stalled in the middle of Russia, pending visas and sponsorship.

Karl Bushby’s attempt is just one of around 20 that are in progress at the moment, most in aid of charity or to raise awareness of global issues, including ‘Hawk’ McGinnis, Gary Hause, Jean Béliveau, and Daren Wendell and William Bryan Schlackman.

What do you think of the idea of walking around the world? Share your thoughts below.

Community Connection

For other unconventional ways to travel the world, check out How to Travel Around the World Without Flying. And don’t miss Christoph Rehage On Wacky Beards And Taking The Longest Way.

 

 

About The Author

Matt Scott

Having spent the majority of his adult life traveling and working abroad, Matt Scott has plenty to write about; his writing and photos have appeared in publications around the world, both on line and in print. Originally from the UK he currently lives in Paris, where he works as a trip leader for an active travel company.

  • http://blog.babeltech.de Babel

    and in a few month… me :)

    • Olteanu Vlad

      My biggest dream is to travel around the world on foot :)
      But I’m searching for some company…. I get bored alone at such a long distance
      Anyone who is wishing to join me leave me a message on yahoo mail vladio_12@yahoo.com

      Vlad

      • dormilon

        Three years later. How’s your planning/trip coming along?

  • http://www.thelonglayover.blogspot.com Carlo Alcos

    Geez. I don’t even feel like walking down the street to get a coffee right now.

    @Babel…for real? Please share the details…

  • Stephen

    I’m leaving in April to walk from Seattle, WA to Baton Rouge, LA. Maybe if I send this to my parents, they’ll give me a break…

  • Luna

    I heard about George Meegan through a guy named Tyler McNiven. McNiven was inspired by Meegan and he walked the length of Japan a couple of years ago. McNiven was also a contestand (and won) the Amazing Race Season 9.

  • http://canvas-of-light.blogspot.com/ Daniel N.

    I love it!

    I respect those people, walking makes you go slow, enjoy, bathe in, and see what’s around you. Men are made for walking!

    I am a walker myself.. I have done over 1500 miles in a year… Just walking, with my backpack, everyday :)

  • http://dharmadreaming.blogspot.com/ writerman242

    I’ve been thinking of the round the world without flying thing, but maybe making that round the world walking could be better. It is a big challenge of course, but think of what you see, who you meet, how your life will be change forever by the doing of such a thing. Very inspiring. Time to think!

  • http://www.expatheather.com Heather Carreiro

    I think Andorra would be enough for me.

  • http://www.deliciouschaos.com/ Nick

    Impressive stuff! I remember walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela a few years back. Met all sorts of crazy walkers. One who was walking from his house in Sweden (and walked faster than I could run), and one guy who walked all the way to Santiago, stayed one night, and then started walking to Rome!

    Not a patch on your list, though.

  • http://milesofabbie.com Abbie

    wow, what an adventure!

  • Hussain

    Hi dear Daniel N

    Very nice to hear about u and walking 1500 miles i a year. I like very much those peoples who walk on foot not those who can’t walk a foot without luxury vehicle.

    I’ve also plan to walk around the world but problem is that i haven’t and companion bcz mostly Pakistani thinks there is nothing except time wasting but I’ve decide to start alone. If there is any person who want to follow with me than plz inform me. I feel pleasure if u will agree to be a companion. Detailed discussion on reply

    Still waiting…………

    Thanks a lot

    • http://canvas-of-light.blogspot.com/ Daniel N.

      Hey Hussain!

      Thank you very much for thinking about me for your round-the-world travel, it’s an honor :)
      I would really love to join you in your next travels! But unfortunately I currently am in China, visiting, then I guess I’ll stop for a while in Thailand to take care of my photography business and get some income to continue traveling later :)
      If I can give any advice though… Go for it! Even alone. You’d be amazed how many travelers you’ll encounter on your path. Maybe not everyone will follow you all the way through but many will probably share a part of the journey.
      Stay open, smile a lot, be curious and start walking. You’ll have the best time in your life!

      Cheers and i’ll probably meet you on the road or in thailand!

      Dan.

    • Abhishek

      hey.. hussain.. this is abhishek from india.. if interested v could plan a trip through south asia first… a peace message.. what say??

  • http://thisopenroad.wordpress.com/ Robyn

    Early in my dreaming (now planning) of the AT I’d thought of walking to the Georgia trailhead from Boulder. It would’ve taken me 3 months. Now I sort of wish I would’ve done it!
    These walkers are truly inspiring. I just finished reading through Steven Newman’s website – SO cool and inspiring – esp the FAQs.

  • Nicole

    writerman – I read a book called Beyond the Horizon by Colin Angus. He was the first to circle the globe on manpower alone. He started in Vancouver, biked to Alaska, rowed across the Bering Straight, biked/skiied across Siberia, biked to Portugal, rowed across the Atlantic to Central America, then biked through the United States back to Vancouver. I think he did it in about 2 years. It’s a good read!

  • Ghulam Hussain

    Hi,
    I’ve also plan to walk around the world. My mission to circle that land mass of earth. I’ve tried to my best to follow me someone from ,y my home country but it seems that there no one have a courage to suffer this pain. So I most welcome to any one who wish to walk with me around the the world. I am ready to start but waiting for any fellow.
    Would u like to walk with me.

    Waiting for kind reply

    Ghulam Hussain Lahore, Pakistan

    Cell: +92 300 666 3996
    ndwarraich@gmail.com

  • Craig

    I know it’s not about going around the world and you may have already read it, but if not, A Walk Across America and its sequel The Walk West by Peter Jenkins are great. In the early 70′s he walked from the northeast to New Orleans in book one, then to Oregon from New Orleans in book two. The way he does it is by walking till he’s out of money, then he stays somewhere and works until he has earned enough money to go on. Great read.

  • Andreas

    I will start my around the world trip in 2 years im saving money to backpack europe, but then for the others continents i will continue without money, i will work in temporary jobs, or make a blog with my story, taking pictures, or make videos…..
    who wants to join?
    xavi_andreas94@hotmail.com

  • Hussain

    Hi deat Dan,

    How are you & how is going expedition? Where are you now a days. I hope that you’ll be fine by grace of God. May God succeed you in this mission.

    Hussain

  • wendy vallaster

    Have any of you hear about Baryl Smeaton? She treked by herself many years ago, and many times. She has written a couple of books if you can get your hands on them, they are pretty hard to find. – The Stars are my Blanket, and Winter Shoes in Springtime… Really amazing stuff, especially in those days.

  • stacy smith

    You left off Polly Letofsky!

  • http://www.DeniseMichaels.com Denise Michaels, “Your Excellent Adventure”

    I love this idea. Even walking the Appalachian Trail would be a very cool thing. I’ve loved to walk ever since I was in high school. Always thought that if I just kept putting one foot in front of t’other, I could walk around the world.

  • hooman

    i wanna walk around the world , i think if i have a partner for this , it would be better , so there are not that many people intrested to do this difficult job , by the way if i find some one for this is fine ifnot , i am gonna do it on my own .

  • Haydn Ingram

    I am 15, studying to become an engineering scientist but plan on completing a circumnavigation of the world by walking across land masses and canoeing across oceans. This is my life dream and I will not let anyone get in my way. I too would enjoy having some company :)

    If you wanna talk, contact me at: harry700@hotmail.co.uk

    Thanks,

    Haydn

  • Haydn Ingram

    The above comment, the email address was suppossed to have another “0″ in it.

    You may contact me on: harry7000@hotmail.co.uk

  • ThaisChalencon

    After wlaked the way of St James, I asked myself why not walk around the world? It is a great article. I don’t thik i’m prepared to walk aroud world but I can say I will try the pilgrimage i Japan. Awesome!!!!!!

  • Ramvar

    Jean Béliveau of Montreal Canada is in his last stage of completing 75000KM (almost 47000 Miles) 11 Year journey. He started walking Oct 2000 and is walking since. Check his website at http://www.wwwalk.org

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000060414532 William Avery Peete

    I have a dream to unicycle around the world going through up to 4 cycles and 70 tires

  • David

    hello, I now one men who start walk around the world before 2-3 years. he start in italy and wisit me in serbia. after he go to asia. before 1 years I am lost him nunber. can we find someting about him. name is david simon. tanks

    • thomas

      hey david,  met the man you’re talking about, in thailand, and he’s now in indonesia, still on his way.
      here’s his facebook adress : usermaatree@gmail.com and his blog: gyalog.postr.hu.cheers, thomas.

      • Caseyth

        I just met him in Nicaragua, he is heading towards San Jose!

  • DeCuVoRE toutenmarchant

    For 40 months now we are on the way. Our aim is to walk around the world, like the others, with a budget of 2 euros a day. Started from France on May 7th 2008 and we are now in China. You can have a look on our website : http://www.toutenmarchant.com

  • Madalin Focsa

    The author forgot about DUMITRU DAN, the globetrotter that FIRST walked around the world, starting in 1910 in Bucharest, and finishing in 1923 in Paris (with an interruption of 8 years due to the WWI) !!!

  • brian browers

    I want to see someone walked non stop around the earth without stopping, then i may considered it an achivement

  • brian browers

    You need a lot of money and a lot of spare time on your hands for this kind of thing, it’s not something you can do if you have commitment’s, family or job to go to, or even a mortgage, rent to pay.
    It requires a lot of time, money and commitment.
    Ive estimated my loss of earnings to be around 80,000 pounds and the cost of the travelling to be around 12,000 pounds, add to that food and supplies you can stick another 10,000 on top of that.
    So it’s something i could never in my lifetime expect to do, when i am 50 in 5 years time i plan on being the first person ever to walk to the moon, i have estimated it will take me  108 years to do so

    • Steeeve

      Sorry, DUMITRU DAN has already beat you to it. Haven’t you heard?

  • Mary G.

    wierd I’ve always wanted to walk around the world! when I am 18 that’s what I’m going to do! I’m saving money for the trip! hee hee! and I have a few friends who want to join me! this is going to be fun!

  • http://www.findingourdream.blogspot.com Hal Horvath

    “He is currently planning the first ever walk across the entire length of the Great Wall of China. ”

    Um….is anyone aware that millions of people have lived near the Great Wall for many *hundreds of years*?

    Now, use your head, and answer this: how likely is it that no one walked the length of the wall before???

    How about 0.0000001% or so.

  • Qualican N’drihin

    I take the first step and just walk-on…A GLOBAL WALK OF MANKIND across PNG mainland….

  • Qualican N’drihin

    My biggest dream is to walk around the world and count all my footsteps (manually)…I have walked for more than 600 km and counted my footsteps reaching 1 million and 35,000 steps for 37 days alone across Papua New Guinea rugged terrain..A first of its kind in Papua New Guinea…Now planning to walk in Australia by foot starting from Cairns to Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and back to Cairns… Need a company for the walk…open to any interested please email me: lndrihin@yahoo.com This is a Global Walk Against Carbon Footprint…….

    • Clinton Mea

      Hi mate i make pro film if yopur serious about cns 2 darwin i wud b support vehical long way brus….

    • Qualican N’drihin

      Hi bro that will be a good idea as Im looking forward to that..kip me posted as I will have to do the Fiji walk B4 coming over to Aussie…

    • John Smith

      Very cool for your walk! I’m in Sydney, so if you’re in town, leave me a message and I can help you out any way I can! ;)

    • Qualican N’drihin

      @JSmith Tanx bro…I will still kip yu posted through FB the moment Im coming to Aussie…You are very kind person…We kip in touch …Cheers!

    • Edward Lakae

      About dis carbon footprint walk i really wish i cud help wit sponsers but i cant coz im jst 1 simple student wit sapotive ideas but cant get dem done…bcoz im stil in skul..but i wish you all da best n lukin forward to your walk 4rm Cains to darwin…wish u all da best n take care…:):)

    • Edward Lakae

      About dis carbon footprint walk i really wish i cud help wit sponsers but i cant coz im jst 1 simple student wit sapotive ideas but cant get dem done…bcoz im stil in skul..but i wish you all da best n lukin forward to your walk 4rm Cains to darwin…wish u all da best n take care…:):)

    • Edward Lakae

      About dis carbon footprint walk i really wish i cud help wit sponsers but i cant coz im jst 1 simple student wit sapotive ideas but cant get dem done…bcoz im stil in skul..but i wish you all da best n lukin forward to your walk 4rm Cains to darwin…wish u all da best n take care…:):)

  • Andrew Klint

    I plan on leaving july 1, 2013 for my trip around the world. I’m starting from Minneapolis, MN. Wouldn’t mind company.

  • Michael Pauly

    Amazing guys Congratulations.

    • Christen Jo Stone

      Hang on there Mike…don’t even think it!!!

  • Joshua Pickup

    Currently planning my walking around the world trip, for charity and sponsored (hopefully) looking for a keen travel companion, email me at joshua_pickup@live.co.uk to dicuss further

  • Joshua Pickup

    Sorry email is joshua-pickup@live.co.uk

  • Sergejs Svjatkins

    I want to know how much it`s coast to Walked Around The World.

  • Ida Poutiainen

    That takes a serious amount of determination..wow.

  • Madalina Oprea

    Dumitru (Demetre) Dan (14 July 1889 – 4 December 1979) was a Romanian geographer, professor of geography and globe-trotter. He took the world record for walking around the world between 1910-1916, walking 100.000 km in 6 years. He was forced to delay the finish of his journey because of WW I but he was walking last 4000 km in 1923.
    In 1908, the Touring club de France announced a contest for walking around the world, with an offered prize of 100,000 francs. Dumitru Dan and his countrymen Paul Pârvu, George Negreanu and Alexandru Pascu were all students in Paris at the time, and they decided to take up the challenge, using their own money and resources.
    The group returned to Romania to prepare, learning additional languages, studying cartography, and doing weight training and exercises for two hours a day. They also walked 45 km per day, travelling plains, hills and mountains in all seasons. They had learned Romanian folk songs and dances and also to play the flute and accordion so that they could support their endeavor along the way by performing their native folklore.
    In 1910, wearing native garb and walking in sandals, the group set out on their voyage with a dog, Harap. Much of the route was covered between 1910 and 1916, but Dan’s companions did not survive to see the trip’s completion in 1923.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumitru_Dan

  • Thomas French

    I’m a long distance walker currently living in Wyoming…I’ve gone across the US a few times but it’s always been my dream to walk America, Asia, Europe, and row both oceans.

  • Tom Govan Jnr

    I could not afford the cost of visa’s to do my walk around the world so i have therefore made a route using all the countries in the E.U. that do not cost to enter!
    I leave Derby Uk on Jan 1st 2014 and plan to be back in around 1100 days. Im doing it solo and with ‘no money’ (except a 25p per day emergency food fund! which i hope not to use)
    3 days before i leave so Wish me luck!!!!

  • maureen

    I am planning to walk around the world..looking for sponsors , & companions..for parts of the duration.

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