Meet Torbjørn “Thor” Pedersen, a 44-year-old Denmark native who embarked on an extraordinary journey to become the 200th person in history to visit every country in the world. What sets him apart is that he achieved this remarkable feat without taking a single flight. This article delves into Thor’s incredible adventure, his challenges, and the determination that led him to travel the globe on a meager $20 budget per day for an astonishing ten years.
Torbjørn “Thor” Pedersen- Discovering the Dream:
Thor’s fascination with cultures and his background in shipping logistics paved the way for his ambitious quest. In January 2013, he stumbled upon an article about world travelers, igniting the idea that he too could visit every country. Despite already having visited 50 countries at the age of 34, he initially believed this feat required immense wealth or a lifetime of travel. However, the fact that no one had done it without flying intrigued him, and the idea started to take hold.
A Nightmare with a Purpose:
Leaving behind a stable life in Denmark, Thor set out on a four-year journey, spending one week in each country. To achieve his dream, he sought sponsorships and set a strict budget of $20 per day. This budget was carefully managed to cover transportation, accommodations, meals, and visas, thanks to sponsorship from Ross Energy, a Denmark-based geothermal energy company.
The Logistics and Bureaucracy:
Thor’s journey was far from a leisurely vacation. It involved grueling logistics and bureaucratic challenges from the outset. He constantly found himself behind schedule, striving to push through paperwork and secure necessary documents. Despite encountering obstacles, he persisted with a relentless determination to achieve his goal.
The Unyielding $20 Budget:
Although Thor was not strictly limited to a $20 daily budget, he constantly sought the most cost-effective options for travel and accommodation. He primarily relied on hostels, couch-surfing apps, and street food to keep expenses in check. Even when faced with expensive visa fees, he remained committed to staying true to his budget-conscious approach.
Fascinating Modes of Transport:
Throughout his journey, Thor experienced a wide array of transportation methods, ranging from fishing boats to cruise ships. Building relationships with container ship companies, he convinced some to support his historical project. However, there were instances where he had to rely on unconventional modes of transport, such as ferry boats, banana boats, and sailboats.
The Perilous Point:
Two years into the journey, Thor faced a turning point. Struggling to receive recognition for his efforts, grappling with financial challenges, and dealing with health issues, he found himself losing interest. However, he refused to give up on his dream, pushing through physical and mental pain with the hope of becoming the first person in history to achieve this remarkable feat.
A Goodwill Ambassador and Beyond:
Throughout his travels, Thor acted as a goodwill ambassador for the Danish Red Cross, visiting their offices in 199 countries. He aimed to show the world in a positive light, hoping to inspire others to explore and understand different cultures. Despite the hardships, he remained focused on his goal and acknowledged that as more people traveled, the feat would become easier, especially with all forms of transportation available.
A Glimpse of the Future:
Over the course of ten years, Thor’s journey connected him with countless individuals worldwide. His wife visited him in various locations, and he lived with strangers, exchanging culture and companionship. Additionally, he became a brand ambassador for a sports equipment company. Today, he continues to work on a documentary and a book about his extraordinary adventure, both set to release in 2024.
Torbjørn “Thor” Pedersen’s journey is a testament to human perseverance, determination, and the unyielding spirit of adventure. By accomplishing the remarkable feat of visiting every country without flying on a meager $20 budget per day, he has secured his place among the most well-traveled people in the world. His story serves as an inspiration to embrace exploration, understand diverse cultures, and push the boundaries of possibility.