For decades, travellers have been trying to work out how to travel on a shoestring budget. We want to see as much as we can for as little money as possible.
And it seems Danish man, Torbjørn C. Pedersen has cracked the code. Torbjørn has been on the road since 2013, visited 122 countries and done most of his long-haul travel for free.
How? He’s mainly travelled on cargo ships.
Torbjørn’s mission is to travel to every country in the world and he had four rules; no flying, no less than 24 hours in each country, no cheating and no returning home until he’s finished.
With 81 countries left to go, Torbjørn said he doesn’t expect to return home to Denmark for at least another three years, making the entire trip six years in total.
The 37-year-old is travelling as a goodwill ambassador for the Danish Red Cross and has so far covered Europe, North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.
So how does he do it?
Torbjørn has a strict budget of £16 a day, this allowance was paid by oil and gas consultancy group Ross Offshore until March 2016 however is now self-funded. This allowance has to cover his daily transport, meals, accommodation and visas.
The Red Cross worker said the allowance is “to prove travelling can be done economically and one does not need to be a millionaire to cross borders, meet new people and make friends”.
He told the Telegraph: “I do have additional costs like repairs, vaccines, internet, insurance, medical checkups, nature parks, national museums, replacement of electronics, online promotions of social media and a fiancée who visits from time to time. With the additional expenses, the total costs double.”
“I could probably travel for less money than £16 a day. Some countries are more expensive than others but most countries are quite cheap when you use local transportation, eat local food and stay with local people or use cheap guesthouses and dorm rooms.”
“Visas can cost up to £122 but you won’t need one every day. It’s very feasible.”
As part of his no flying rule, Torbjørn has done the biggest portion of his travelling on container ships, for free. He said this isn’t as straightforward as you may think and involves a great deal of work.
“The ships have no incentive to carry a passenger. It’s an inconvenience for the shipping line and a passenger represents an unwanted liability,” Torbjørn explained.
“You would need to express that you can be on your own and wouldn’t get in the way of the crew and the operations. It would need to be clear that you can be invisible. It’s really a lot of hit and miss. But with enough persistence and originality there’s always a solution.”
Once on board the container ship, he has been happy with the quality of accommodation.
“I’ve slept on a kitchen floor of a very unclean boat, but the worst cabins have been comparable with mid-range hotel rooms,” he added.
“The best have been downright luxurious. I was onboard a ship which was 10 years old but still the bed was good, the walls were clean, the shower and toilet worked – I couldn’t complain at all.”
Torbjørn said it’s the people and experiences rather than the places that have left the biggest impression and said it’s made him realise how poorly the world is represented through media.
“There’s an enormous focus on the horrific aspects of our world: terror, disease, corruption, conflict. While those are certainly all elements of our world it’s hardly representative of where we live, the vast majority of the planet is quite trivial and almost boring,” he explained.
“People eat, go to work, go to school, go to visit friend, get stuck in traffic, dance, listen to music, date, fall in love… complain about the weather and complain in general.”
So far, his favourite countries have been Greenland, Cuba and Iran. He ended up being in Greenland for two months as he found it difficult to leave without flying.
“Towards my final days I nearly had the entire village texting me when there was a new boat in the port. They are such wonderful spirited people up there,” he said.
“Greenland and Cuba have surprised me the most as countries I cannot compare with others. They are absolutely unique and memorable.”
Torbjørn, who is currently in Ethiopia and is making his way around the African continent, said the countries he’s most looking forward to visiting are Japan, Turkey, Mongolia and the Maldives – where he will finish his trip and head back home.
“Now that I’m engaged I naturally also hope to start a family and get married. Certainly it will be great to see friends and family, go for a run in my neighborhood and drink Danish milk again,” he added.
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Source: Daily Star