Intrepid travellers: three trips of a lifetime


‘I’ll be the first wheelchair user to go to every country on Earth’

After many conversations with fellow travellers (most of whom I’d hosted via the Couchsurfing website), I felt that I needed a very ambitious challenge to match my rare set of circumstances. I have restrictions on all of my joints, and two metal rods screwed into my spine (plus spinal fusion). So it seemed a perfect fit to try to become the first wheelchair user to visit every country, as I was hellbent on exploring as much of the world as I could.I have a gigantically long road ahead, as my current tally stands at only 22. I’m adding countries 23, 24 and 25 in the coming days, as I travel to Malaysia, then on to Australia and New Zealand. I’ve set myself a target of reaching 20 new countries every year, which by my reckoning would give me the complete set within a decade. Travelling with a disability throws up many interesting challenges – I’ve been chased by savage dogs on Cat Ba, Vietnam, while clinging for dear life to the back of my friend’s scooter, all the while sitting in my wheelchair. And determined to make it to the Grande Dixence Dam in Valais in Switzerland, I abandoned my car and my wheelchair due to impassable roads and crawled through three-feet-deep snow. I try to make the most of my time on the road, and in Wellington I’ll spend two months working for the World Wildlife Fund as a volunteer.
Anthony William

‘We’re visiting all our Facebook friends in person’

Intrepid travellers: three trips of a lifetime
David Hurst is reunited with his best mate, Dane. Photograph: David Hurst

When, unexpectedly, my wife Debs and I lost two close friends within a few months of each other in 2012, we were aghast it had been so long since we’d seen them – not just seen them on Facebook, but actually hugged them.

So we downsized our Devon cottage to afford a motorhome and deferred our two boys, Daniel, 5, and Darley, 4, from school – then visited as many Facebook friends as possible, in person. Initially for a three-month period from October 2014, it has so far stretched to more than a year of almost continual travel. We’ve now covered 26,000 miles in our trusty motorhome to see more than 300 friends, not only in Britain but also France, Switzerland, Spain and Morocco.

It’s been an unforgettable challenge. We’ll forever remember the joy on the faces of Debs’ four cousins, who she’d not seen for 20 years. And there were tears when we saw each others’ children for the first time.

Then there was the hug I’ll always cherish from my old best mate, Dane, after we had let three decades slip by without seeing each other.

Next we’d love to see everyone else – the majority in America and Australia. We think we have our priorities deliriously spot on.
David Hurst

‘We’re riding a tandem round the world on £10 a day’

Intrepid travellers: three trips of a lifetime
Chloe White and her husband Will. Photograph: Chloe White

There will always be someone around who will tell you that going there and doing that is madness and will result in certain death. In our travels, one challenge for my husband Will and I has been to remain open to advice, while not being put off by scare stories.

Our idea is to cycle our tandem east, leaving home in March, first to Spain, then by various boats to Greece, and on through Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, South Korea and Japan. We’ll then fly over to the US, cycle through the southern states and up to New York, and fly back to the UK.

We have a budget of £10 a day each for 18 months, which we think will be OK if we camp a lot and don’t treat ourselves too often. This is all we know at the moment, and we haven’t been training. But one thing we have learned is that there’s only so much planning and thinking you can do before you just have to go.
Chloe White