Torbjørn C. Pedersen, a goodwill ambassador for the Danish Red Cross, has for the past five years used public transport to tour the entire world on a shoestring, without taking even a single flight.
Some may think the world is not safe and secure enough, but Thor Pederson has proved that it might be a much better place than they think. He has already travelled to 159 countries using cars, trains, boats, and ships, and without taking any flight.
In an interview with the Persian-language Ghanoon daily, he has talked about his goals, memories and experiences. He has also talked about his trip to Iran, as the 148th destination of the 203 states he plans to visit by early 2020.
Following you can find excerpts from the interview selected by IFP:
Q: How did you come up with the idea of travelling this way?
A: My project started in 2013. I read an article. In that piece, it was said no one had travelled the whole world without flying. I’m always interested in great adventures. I have always wanted to be the first to travel to the North Pole and the South and around the planet, reach the moon, walk on it or climb Mount Everest. Therefore, I thought it is the time to do a historic and very important job in my life and be the first person to travel without a plane.
Q: What is your purpose of making these trips? What do you do in the new countries you travel to?
A: My main goal is to reach most countries in the world on an uninterrupted and non-flying trip. I do my best to promote positive thinking in each country in the face of many negative stories we often hear in the news. As a goodwill ambassador for the Danish Red Cross, I have met many officials of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. I try to promote the need for uniting all members of the societies. I’m going to depict a world in which a stranger, who at first glance is considered an unknown person, can be the same friend we have never seen before.
Q: You have travelled to nearly 200 countries. Each of them is full of memories for you. Tell us one of the sweetest ones.
A: Let me tell you the story of Maria. She was a woman I met in Poland. Once, it was snowing heavily everywhere in Poland. She invited me to her home. She prepared a meal for me and gave me a bed, without knowing who I was. The next morning, she took me to a passenger terminal and wished me a safe trip. She taught me that a stranger, who at first glance is seen as an unknown person, can be the same friend we have never seen before. The second story is about my wife, to whom I proposed at the peak of a Kenyan mountain, which is the second highest mount in the world.
Q: What did you do in your trips to promote the culture of peace and tranquillity?
A: In all my trips, I share all the stories; the stories of kindness, culture, history, food, development, technology, incidents, and many other features of a country. I’m a living example of showing that the world is not a cruel, dark, and dangerous place. Certainly, living in this world may be painful to some people who believe the world is not safe and secure enough. However, over the past five years, I’ve travelled to 159 countries using public transportation, and did it on a shoestring. This proves that the world is better than what most people think; otherwise making all these trips could not be possible. I have not been killed, tortured, or plundered, and I have travelled more than 200,000 kilometres through land and sea. My story is a tough one; I have never quitted and I’ve always found a solution to my problems.
Q: How did you come to Iran and how many days did you stay?
A: I came to Iran from Kuwait on a boat and then I went to Dubai with a boat again from Bandar Abbas. I stayed in Iran for about 14 days.
Q: Which cities did you visit in Iran?
A: I had been to Iran once before. I’ve visited Tabriz, Qom, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kerman, Khorramshahr, Ahvaz, Tehran and Bandar Abbas.
Q: You have visited Iran twice. If you have an opportunity, would you travel to Iran again?
A: Sure. Iran is an original and rich country with good cities, delicious foods, ancient history, beautiful landscapes and many other things to discover. If I’m lucky, I will travel to Iran again as a tourist.
Q: You visited the Red Crescent Society of Iran. How do you assess the Iranian Red Crescent Society in comparison to those of other countries?
A: The Iranian Red Crescent Society is very strong and influential. It is quite organised and has unique facilities, such as helicopters, factories and newspapers. The Iranian Red Crescent has a long history and is of great significance due to its good international relations. The Society really impressed me. Honestly, I feel very close to the Iranian youths.
Q: For how long are you going to continue your trips?
A: As long as I can travel to my last destination in my project, which I expect to take pace by January 22, 2020. The last destination is the Maldives.