Traveler Accomplishes Decade-Long Mission To Visit Every Nation Without Air Transport
May 29, 2023
Danish adventurer Torbjørn C. "Thor" Pedersen looked forward to stepping into every country to learn about other people's cultures. Finally, a decade after making that pact, he completed his mission. Pedersen achieved this mind-blowing feat with a personal decision not to travel by air.
Born Torbjørn Cederlof Pedersen, the globetrotter had a bit of travel experience by virtue of being born to a travel guide mom. Pedersen's family moved from Kertenmide in Denmark to Vancouver, Canada, during childhood. The family also settled in Toronto, Canada, and New Jersey, USA, and then returned to Denmark after six years.
It is safe to say that this journey through a few countries in childhood was the start of Pedersen's love for adventures. He grew up in Kerteminde and attended business school in Silkeborg Handelsskole, Silkeborg. After graduating, he joined the army in 1998 and was a royal guard in palaces across Denmark. He would later become a UN soldier traveling across countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Pedersen studied shipping and logistics, which helped him travel to more countries. He ultimately became a goodwill ambassador for the Danish Red Cross Society, and years later, he decided to go on a mission that changed his life forever.
In 2013, Pedersen initiated a project titled Once Upon A Saga. According to the official website, the project is described as "a one-man journey to visit every country in the world in a single journey without the use of flight." Pedersen prepared for ten months and began the journey through the world, on Oct. 10, 2013, at 34.
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The Dane traveled across Europe and Africa, among other continents, and after six years, made it through 194 countries. Pedersen traveled through buses, container ships, boats, and trains.
Despite making it through each country and forging ahead, it took a lot of work. Pedersen faced several challenges mostly linked to his mode of transportation. Once speaking with the Daily Mail in 2017, he stated:
"It's lonely sometimes, although I'm near people. Sometimes I sit and stare out at the landscape and spot an airplane above - that's like a mild form of torture. I'm often tempted by plane travel. But it would end the project."
During the sixth year of Pedersen's journey, he faced a significant obstacle that tested his resilience. He arrived in Hong Kong on January 28, 2020, two days after the government declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.
Pedersen initially set out to complete his goal within eight years but ended up staying in the Asian city for two years. In an interview with Business Insider, he revealed that his stay in Kin was not dramatic. However, he told CNN Travel in the same year that he was losing time on completing his mission.
When Pedersen arrived in Hong Kong, he had nine countries left to visit. The last nine countries were Palau, Tuvalu, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. He eventually left Hong Kong and made it to Palau. Pedersen left Sri Lanka, the 202nd country, on May 21, 2023, and after 36 hours at sea, he arrived in the Maldives.
Isn't it groundbreaking that Torbjørn Pedersen finally achieved a goal that spanned a decade? Do you enjoy traveling, and would you love to see the world at its full capacity? Let us know, and be sure to pass this piece on to others.