How To Travel The World Without Flying

In late 2008, Michael Hodson closed down his legal practice of ten years to embark on a quest to circle the globe without getting on a single airplane! Sixteen months, six continents, and forty-four countries later, he succeeded and has just kept going. Flying somewhere is sometimes a necessity, given time constraints, but for him, there is nothing better than getting to his destination by not leaving the ground, looking out the window as the amazing planet goes by.

Heres Michaels story in his own words:

My birthday, to me, is more than just a celebration of the day I was born. Thats because seven years ago I took off to circle the planet with no reservations and without leaving the ground. Sixteen months later, I succeeded.

Initially, I had only planned to leave for one year. The reason for not taking any planes and having (almost) no reservations was decided because flying takes away the feeling of how far youve actually traveled. I wanted to experience not only my destinations but also the experience of getting there. I wanted to feel how far I had gone.

My ideal route was to head due south from Arkansas, through Central America and the west side of South America, over to Argentina, boat to South Africa, up the east side of Africa, then Eastern Europe, the Trans-Siberian railroad, a bit of China, Southeast Asia, then Australia and finally, New Zealand.

Oddly enough, Ive said since I was 8 years old that if I ever went to New Zealand I wouldnt come back. Since returning, I have been to New Zealand again and it has remained the destination that I would most love to live. New Zealand has the nicest and friendliest people in the world.

As if the people arent enough reason to go visit New Zealand, the scenery is so spectacular that youd want to go even if the islands were uninhabited. Milford Sound is rightly world famous as one of the most scenic fjords in the world, but since I was traveling on a budget, I preferred its neighbour, Doubtful Sound.

Milford Sound has more stunning vistas, but it also has the predominance of tourists, since it is far more accessible. I ended up doing a two-day kayak trip in Doubtful Sound and, aside from the sandflies, fell in love with the peaceful and relaxing experience of it all.

I thought that after New Zealand I would return home for a visit before packing up again and moving to Central or South America where I would live, write a book about my RTW trip, and learn Spanish. I did return home for a short spell but my journeys havent stopped yet. My office is always a new and beautiful place to explore and I love being able to share that through my blogs and social media accounts.

Im not much of fan of travel numbers, but I think in the first five years, Ive been to around 75 countries and perhaps traveled 50,000 miles. or 75,000 I really dont know. Ive probably spent 3,000 hours or more in transit, on trains, buses, cars, rickshaws, and yes, occasionally planes.

As told to Niyati Shinde


Traveler, writer, reader, bathroom singer, trekker, dreamer, a superhero in the making! Trying to be a good Samaritan because we need more of those ...