Graham Hughes is a British adventurer who travelled the world — visiting every single country on the map in the process — without stepping on a plane.
Hughes just did an AMA on reddit, and he answered wide ranging questions on his globetrotting. He talks about his jail time in Cape Verde, the time he joined a Bwiti tribe in Gabon, and he even tried to occasionally promote a room he rents out on Airbnb on a private island that won in a survival competition.
Here are some of his best answers from his reddit AMA:
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So why was he thrown in jail — and what was it like?
In Cape Verde, it’s because they thought I was a people smuggler… Five nights sleeping in a tiny 8â€² by 8’ cell with 10 other people, no bed, slept on the concrete.
In Congo, they didn’t like the look of me or something. I also got angry with the police officers which didn’t help my situation.
I was put in a big cell, and had a bit of foam to sleep on this time, but it was seriously grim — smears of blood all over the walls… they took my shoes and socks, my t-shirt and my glasses.
I didn’t eat for six days because I didn’t want to have to take a shit — the toilet was a squatter that had not been cleaned since 1972.
What was the most memorable thing he ate while travelling?
Ooooh… It was freshly caught squid in a sweet and sour sauce that I ate in an awning by the docks of Jayapura in West Papua. You know how squid can be like really rubbery? This wasn’t — it melted in my mouth.
What was the hardest country to get in and out from?
And which country had the best food?
I just said if I had to eat just one country’s food for the rest of my life it would be France.
But so long as I don’t have to eat it every single day, I’d go with India for the best food — I LOVE the spicy!!
Out of all the countries, which one does he most want to visit again?
Iran. I loved the bones of the place. I was only there for three days, I could happily spend three months.
And which country was the hardest to get in and out of?
Saudi Arabia was a toughie for visa regulations, as were Angola, Turkmenistan, Libya and Algeria. Island nations such as Cape Verde, Sao Tome, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Micronesia etc put up a bit of a fight, just in terms of getting there without flying — I got to these places on a mix of sail boats, cargo ships (big and small) and even cruise ships (I hitched a ride).
But the hardest, hardest, hardest country to get to was The Seychelles. Not only an island nation, but slap-bang in the middle of the High Risk Area for Somali pirates — that meant no yachts, cargo ship companies couldn’t take me (I would invalidate their anti-piracy insurance) and very, very few cruise ships.
I tried getting there from Diego Suarez in Madagascar and Mombasa in Kenya in 2009, and Salalah in Oman and Kerala in India in 2010. I eventually got there in October 2012 on a cruise ship from India that was heading south for the winter… it was the 200th country out of my “must visit” list of 201… with good reason.
Beautiful place though, incredibly friendly people, and oh the Takamaka rum HELL YEAH!!
Where were the people nicest?
Iran!! So, so friendly it was delightful. Here’s a story I like to tell (I took this from an interview I did for British Airways):
I was on an overnight bus in Iran, from Shiraz to Khorramshahr. I was sitting behind this elderly woman and she was speaking on her phone in Farsi.
She turned around and passed me her phone. It was her grandson, who spoke perfect English and he said ‘You’re sitting behind my grandmother and she’s asked me to tell you she’s worried about you. The bus gets in very early and she’s concerned that you won’t have anyone to make you breakfast, so she’s asking if you will go to her home and she will feed you’.
Did I go? Of course. She laid out a thick tablecloth on the floor, we sat on cushions. Breakfast consisted of flatbread, eggs, jam and spices.
Sick guy. This AMA was more enlightening than the man with three testicles‘ one, only just mind.