“The main feeling today is just one of intense gratitude to every person around the world who helped me get here, by giving me a lift, letting me stay on their couch, or pointing me in the right direction,” Hughes said Monday. “There were times, sitting in a bus station in Cambodia at one in the morning, riding some awful truck over bad roads, when I thought, why am I doing this? But there was always a reason to keep going.”
Highlights were swimming in a lake of jellyfish in the Pacific archipelago of Palau, watching one of NASA’s last Space Shuttle launches, and dancing with the jungle tribes of Papua New Guinea.
“People asked me how I was going to get to Afghanistan or Iraq or North Korea, but they were the easy ones, you don’t even need a visa for Iraq, you just walk across the border from Turkey,” he says.
“The really tough ones were places like Nauru, and the Maldives and the Seychelles, island countries where there were also sometimes pirate threats.”
To cross oceans, Hughes hitched lifts with cargo ships. He spent four days in an open fishing canoe from Senegal to Cape Verde, and was then arrested when he arrived.