What's up Reddit?!

In April 2015 I left my home in New Jersey to embark on a five year, seven continent walk around the world. I wasn't a navy seal, park ranger or even an eagle scout, just a guy with a dream.

After a friend died at seventeen my understanding of the world was reordered. I had never been close to someone who died before. I suddenly saw life as something fragile. I realized needed to make the most of the short time I have - I wanted adventure and to see the world.

Karl Bushby that gave me the idea of walking around the world. Then from seventeen to twenty-six I kept The World Walk my aim. I went to college, worked, paid off loans, worked, saved, then decided to set off before I had too much responsibility. By twenty-six I had enough saved that if I lived frugally I could walk while still paying off my student loans for two years.

However, about a month before leaving, the owner of Philadelphia Sign reached out to me. He knew my friend, Anne Marie, and wanted to support my walk. Now, Philadelphia Sign gives me enough money to see this thing through and donates a dollar a mile to Anne Marie’s scholarship fund.

I’ve been walking for 1121 days and have covered 15,550 miles over twenty-seven countries. After four months of walking I adopted Savannah and we’ve been together ever since. Currently I’m in Ferrara, Italy, and my next country will be Slovenia.

During my first two years I walked from New Jersey, USA to Montevideo, Uruguay. I slept in orange groves, palm plantations and deserts. I saw the bodies of a gang execution in El Salvador, did ayahuasca in the Amazon, climbed 15,000 feet over the Andes, and stumbled upon the Argentinian Carnival. After South America I took a ship to Antarctica where I took a plunge in its icy waters and kayaked beside humpbacks.

After South America I was almost taken out by a bacterial infection from which I spent seven months recovering. This previous year, after regaining my strength, I walked from Denmark to Spain, then across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Italy. I peregrinated The Camino, lived on fresh sardines in Morocco and had a twenty-four hour police escort through Algeria and most of Tunisia.

As for Savannah, she was four months old when I adopted her. When she was a pup I pushed her in my cart. Now she’ll walk thirty miles a day and still be running around at night. In Central and South America it was fairly easy crossing borders with her. To get her into Europe we spent a month in New Jersey doing her paperwork. I’ve spent nearly every minute of every day with her since adopting her. She’s my best friend and a great watch dog at night.

If you'd like to follow along I do my best to post daily photos (and have recently been putting some videos together).

If you’d like to receive postcards from the road or simply support The Walk, check out my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/theworldwalk

Also, here's an infographic which shows some highlights of my first two years.

(For those of you wondering how I started walking four years ago when I say I’ve been walking for 1121 days, I only count the days I’m on the road and I was sick for nearly a year!)

Proof

Comments: 136 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

50_Fifty30 karma

Dude, love your story! Been following along since your first AMA.

What country's food did you find yourself most surprised by? (good or bad?)

Theworldwalk22 karma

Thanks so much! Your support means a ton!

Perú stunned me how even in the desert I could get a great, hearty plate of food (and the ceviche there is otherworldly).

And Algeria was a bit confounding in that they put french fries on EVERYTHING. Unless I was eating couscous, french fries were inescapable!

Kris-p-15 karma

that's like 14 miles a day on average, nice job dude. Was it hard finding accommodation for a dog at all on your journey?

Theworldwalk11 karma

That's better than I thought haha.

It has never been much of a problem actually, in the slightly less developed countries most of the hotels are just mom and pop places and they can be convinced. And in Europe there have been a ton of options so I've always been able to find somewhere.

crawfod415 karma

You once mentioned in South America that you started hallucinating in the Salt Flats because you hadn’t seen anything or anybody in such a long time. What was that experience like?

Theworldwalk23 karma

That was actually the desert in Southern Perú. I spent about three months walking in desert from Lima into Chile. Most of the time I'd only pass through a town once every three or four days. The walking was just so quiet and empty, I remember belting "Don't Let Me Down" because there wasn't a soul nearby. I never hallucinated, but my mind did sort of empty out and reflect the barren landscape. There were hours when I wouldn't think anything at all. My legs kept moving and I just floated along with them. It was immensely peaceful.

Skiie13 karma

Did ya ever miss wawa?

Theworldwalk11 karma

Missing those meatball subs

CalmEnthusiasm2 karma

Hell, I'm in the midwest and miss that jawn. Turkey Gobbler from Wawa during Thanksgiving is the bomb.

Theworldwalk2 karma

I heard that

mrcihandemir9 karma

did you ask your dog to come with you? how did you decide on behalf of it?

Theworldwalk39 karma

I said, you wanna go for a walk?

Mk5ive9 karma

Ive been following your journey for the better part of 2 years now.. your perseverance and mental fortitude is like nothing else I've ever seen! What is one thing that you miss about being home? Other then the obvious things like shelter and some more freedom (although I'm sure you enjoy the freedom of walking).. keep it up and give Savannah the good a scratch from me and my girlfriend- who is also in awe by your accomplishments! Keep it up!

Theworldwalk11 karma

The biggest thing by far is my family. I come from a huge family. I have a lot of cousins that I'm very close with who live in the Philadelphia area. Some of them are having kids now and I'd love to be there for that. I'd love to be having Sunday dinners with them.

Thanks for the support! I'll be sure to give Sav a good head scratch for you!

LarryLaSalle8 karma

Been following you and Savannah since your first AMA, How has your journey changed you as a person?

Theworldwalk9 karma

Oh man, so many ways. I was thinking about exactly this question the other day. I think the main thing is that before I started this, having traveled a little and having went to college, I thought I was a relatively worldly person. But looking back I'm amazed at how green I was. Now, I have a lot of traveling under my belt. I've been to strange and foreign places. I know how to handle myself in the those places. When I first entered Mexico all the new inputs were overwhelming, my mind didn't know what was important to focus on and what to filter out. Those initial cities were utterly exhausting to walk through. But now I know how to handle myself in foreign places, I'm more relaxed but less naive.

kaptainkouk8 karma

What has been the place that pleasantly surprised you the most so far (as in that it was something really unique)? Also, will you pass by Greece?

I am cheering for you mate!

Theworldwalk12 karma

I probably shouldn't have been surprised, but crossing over the Andes from Chile to Argentina was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I had really steeled myself for the difficulty beforehand because it would be five very long days at 15,000ft with no available water through altiplano to the first town. The climb and the walking were crazy difficult, but also the most rewarding section I've done. The final morning I was so exhausted I collapsed in the sand. Savannah sat beside me and I stared at this yellow-tufted mountain beside me and laughed. It was so crazy, where the hell was I? How had I gotten there? I knew I'd muster the energy to get to town so it was an incredible sensation to have pushed my body to the limit and be so far from everything.

RedditDMB7 karma

How hard is it to find dog food? Is Savannah able to handle other foods better, unlike our dogs here that don’t handle change in dog food brands/mixes?

Theworldwalk11 karma

Through The Americas it was a breeze. Even in the most remote places someone would have a forty pound bag of dog food they'd sell smaller bags from. The challenging places were the Muslim countries. There was a stretch in Algeria where Savannah was living off tuna and beef paté. I had to load up on dog food when I found some.

Sav switches foods seamlessly. Whether that's because she has changed foods a lot or she just has a strong stomach genetically I'm not sure.

canadiannoone5 karma

Do you get lonely?

Theworldwalk12 karma

Not too often surprisingly. The thing is each day I wake up with a very defined purpose and I'm constantly in motion. Unless I'm in one place for a long time and don't know anyone, I'm too busy and tried to be lonely.

poopsicle885 karma

Tom what country has the hottest babes?

Which country had the friendliest people?

Which country surprised you the most?

which country are you most looking forward to visiting again in the future?

Which country are you most looking forward to at the moment?

Theworldwalk9 karma

Colombia

Any Muslim country

Perú - amazing place.

Colombia - food, coffee, culture, landscapes, just about everything

Croatia! I have tons of family there!

poopsicle883 karma

Colombia eh? 😉

Croatia looks cool, will you hit Dubrovnik? Are you a game of thrones fan? If so are you watching the new episodes?

Theworldwalk1 karma

That's the plan! Also, Krk where I have cousins. Definitely watching GOT!

jb_master3 karma

Been following you for almost a year now, Keep it up!

What's the sketchiest situation you've been in so far?

Theworldwalk6 karma

I was held up at knifepoint in Panama City, but that only lasted a minute before the guy ran off.

The most tense was in the good ol' USA down in Georgia. Met a very, very sketchy man and I didn't have my six-sense honed like I do now. I wrote about it here. It's a long story, but it'll fly by.

accidentalpolarbear2 karma

I love the part where you wrote "I realized this is how girls must feel. How do you know I’m cool? You don’t know a thing about me. You just keep saying I’m good-looking."

As a woman who has been in some sketchy/terrifying situations, I wish more guys had this kind of awareness and empathy for what women go through.

Also, I think you're a great writer. I hope your book gets published!

Theworldwalk2 karma

Was absolutely a revelation

heftytrust3 karma

I've been following your journey since Chile and I love your insta posts, such an insight to different locations and cultures. Just wondering what country has surprised you the most or shattered the stereotypes it may hold?

Theworldwalk3 karma

Thanks!

Algeria was probably the most surprising. It was really hard to find any information on it and before entering I had people sending me all sorts of concerned messages, but once I was the there I found the people some of the most welcoming I've encountered. It was calm, well-developed, beautiful and so culturally different than what I grew up with.

Steve_Saturn3 karma

I've always wanted to hike with a dog, and seeing how well Savannah does on your Walk makes me want it even more haha. But I'm constantly terrified that a dog would run off and never come back, stray too far, get herself into trouble, etc.

What kind of training did you have to do with Savannah to make sure she wouldn't chase a porcupine or dash into traffic or just run away? Was she already pretty trained when you adopted her? Is it in her nature (I don't know what breed she is)?

By the way, huge fan. Been following you since you were in the 600s I believe. Your posts give me that jolt of inspiration to keep living. Kudos from Detroit, mate! ✊

Theworldwalk7 karma

The thing about Savannah is that she's never known any other life. I adopted here when she was just three months old. We were walking a month later. I remember in Mexico her yanking on the leash all the time to go after squirrels, but when we're walking together eight hours a day that's like eight hours of training, everyday, to stamp out that behavior. It's honestly unimaginable for me that she would run off. When we're walking we're like a finely tuned machine. We've just been side-by-side for so many hours.

And thanks for following! Awesome you've been following for so long! Cheers from Ferrara!

W_1oo1013 karma

What are the most important things you learned during this journey?

Theworldwalk9 karma

Lots and lots of things. For my own peace of mind I'd say the greatest lesson I've learned is you can't walk around the world in a day. Each day I do what I can and have learned to be content with that.

W_1oo1012 karma

I read somewhere that you are writing a book. How is it going so far?

Theworldwalk6 karma

I've been through a bunch of drafts about the first year. A few people have read it and it's mostly there, but publishing anything is a long way off I think. I want to do it right.

puga15053 karma

How many people do you talk to each day, on average? Do you miss any sort of ‘real’ connection and friendships?

Hope to catch a drink once you reach Croatia!

Theworldwalk3 karma

Lots of minor interactions, but I definitely reach points when I miss more profound connections. It's especially difficult in a country where I don't speak the language. I need to joke and that's hard to do when you don't know anyone or speak their language.

Can't wait for Croatia! Lots of family there!

mysticalmaybe3 karma

Do you listen to music while walking?

I know you explained how you can afford for everything, but I still don’t get it? How!?

Do you consider yourself happy now that you’re doing this?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Yes - big on Leon Bridges right now.

Saved for years, got lucky getting a sponsor/patreon.

100%. Very happy.

jordynorm2 karma

How are you getting visas when travelling between countries that don't allow the same type of visa such as Schengen zone? Do you visit Embassys on the way?

Theworldwalk2 karma

My route is purposefully chosen to make the visa process as simple as possible. So far I've needed to extend my stay in the Schengen region and obtain a visa for Algeria. For the first I waited in San Sebastian for a month while going back and forth with the embassy. For the Algerian visa I spent a month and a half waiting in Valencia, Spain. So thankfully I haven't had to wait around too much for visas.

jojakokabob2 karma

Adding onto this question, have you already researched visa requirements for the whole route? Or are you about one country or two ahead of your current position?

I also want to say that what you're doing is really cool, I've been following your Instagram for a while and it's pretty inspiring :) keep it up!

Theworldwalk3 karma

Researched all the visa requirements ahead! I'll only need a couple more for the length of the journey. The bigger challenge will be getting Savannah into Australia.

Thanks for following!

tarkinn2 karma

Following you since your first AMA. I wonder how much money you need to walk around the world?

Theworldwalk6 karma

Dope!

In my two years down the Americas I probably spent around 30k. This past year in Europe and Africa I probably spent 25k or so. It depends on what area I'm in, but the occasional hotel room is the main expense. If you can camp every night you can do this for a few bucks a day.

alltilagi2 karma

Why did you leave Africa while you were in Tunisia(not exactly sure on the correct country)?

Love your Insta btw

Theworldwalk4 karma

Just the route I'd planned based on the ease of visas. I'd love to see more of Africa, but it's an enormous continent and will be a great adventure in and of itself. I want to keep this walk to 5 or 6ish years. Also, Libya probably isn't a great place to be walking through right now and that would have been the next country after Tunisia.

BIGBOIIONGIB2 karma

What breed is Savanna?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Total mutt! Oddly mostly Chow-chow

AdminsFuckedMeOver2 karma

Are you planning on doing a before and after of your dog? It's gotta be ripped as fuck

Theworldwalk1 karma

She's ripped. The veterinarians always comment on it..."She must get a lot of exercise!" I'll trim her hair soon and once it's shorter you'll really be able to see her muscles.

Mauser98k982 karma

So do you have a shoe recommendation?

Theworldwalk1 karma

Brooks Cascadia...love em

pradhansangam12 karma

Is savannah vegitarian?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Not a chance, needs that protein.

The_Reddit_Jester2 karma

In regards to countries with, I guess, less law and order than others (like the bodies you found for example), how do you navigate them? Do you just mind your business for the most part and not stir up trouble?

That's the one thing I always wondered about, because obviously not everywhere is safe.

Theworldwalk1 karma

That's generally the idea. The main thing is to be hidden or in a hotel by night. Talking to locals is important too, they help refine my route, give me places to see and avoid. But even in the rougher countries there are people walking everywhere, I'm just one more person.

cheguevara92 karma

Wow with a dog, what’s the quarantine process like? That’s actually a more serious issue then most people realize.

Theworldwalk1 karma

I've never had to quarantine her, thankfully. Generally that's if you show up somewhere without out the proper paperwork. Also, crossing borders by foot makes it much easier, half the borders didn't even acknowledge her.

lostWabbit2 karma

Just stumbled upon your story today.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the next parts of your journey would be Turkey, Azerbaijan and then on to Australia. Just curious as to why you're bypassing a significant part of Asia?

Other than that, I'm in awe of your journey and experiences. May you have a safe and wonderful journey ahead!

Theworldwalk2 karma

Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia (more or less). I'd love to get to SE Asia but to get there I'd have to walk through China (which I wouldn't be able to get a visa long enough to accomplish) or walk through the Middle East. I'll be back to see more of Asia one day. Right now it's sort of "easiest" route possible.

Thanks!

Cobbmeister2 karma

Hi Tom, Firstly congrats on walking so far. That one hell of a mean feat by anyone and good luck with the rest.

My question is what kind of footwear are you using for yourself and if any for your dog. At the end of the day do you take your footwear off and have a sigh of relief ?

Theworldwalk1 karma

Thanks amigo!

I have Brooks Cascadia, love them! Savannah has some booties in case of emergency but we've only had to use them a handful of times. Her paws are like stones at this point. I take that sigh of relief each evening, one of them best feelings in the world is popping those shoes off.

KitemWorth2 karma

Favorite place in Italy so far?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Palermo. I could easily see myself living there. Not too big, not too small.

YeastyP1ssFlaps2 karma

What’s been you favourite country to walk in so far and why?

Theworldwalk1 karma

Loved, loved, loved France. Super nice bike paths the entire way and croissants to die for.

lululovesponge2 karma

I have been following you for a few years. Love seeing you and Savannah travel the globe. 1)I have always wondered, how do you decide what roads/routes to walk? Do you have a set route all the time? 2)How much research do you do on countries before going? 3)What is your game plan now? When will you "finish" your walk?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Awesome! Thank you!

Deciding on the routes really depends on the country. I always know what country I want to get to next, then it's a matter of figuring out the best way to get there. In South America it was the PanAmerican. In Europe there's a great network of bike paths so I just follow those. It's always a bit of trial and error when I get into a new country though.

I give a cursory glance at what the State Department says but that's generally about it. I do more reading on the countries once I'm in them.

Probably three more years until I finish! A long way to go yet!

jaimebIue2 karma

Hi! Did you visited Padua (Italy) ?

Theworldwalk2 karma

I will be in a few days!

exec7742 karma

what is your route looking like to the finish line? And what do you plan to do after the walk, just jump straight to regular life? And was there any country where you felt particularly unsafe?

Theworldwalk3 karma

For now it's towards Turkey, Azerbaijan, across the Caspian and towards Mongolia. Then across Australia and the US.

I'll probably keep going on some long walks haha

El Salvador was the most dangerous country in the world when I walked through it. I saw the bodies of a husband and wife killed in a gang execution. I was sure to be in a hotel room each night.

Tyler_of_Township2 karma

Hey Tommy, what country are you most excited to encounter next in your journey?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Croatia. I have tons of family there and I've heard it's a hidden gem on the Mediterranean.

wueleon2 karma

Hey, I’ve been following you and Savannah since your first Reddit AMA! So here are my questions:

Do you ever get lonely?

How do you manage your gadgets in terms of battery life?

Is there any gadget or technology that you miss when on the road?

Theworldwalk1 karma

Dope!

I don't get lonely too often. When I'm walking I'm constantly moving and occupied.

I carry a few external batteries with me. I used to have a solar panel but found it just not worth the weight. I keep my phone on battery saver or airplane made and recharge the external batteries in restaurants or hotels.

I'd love to play me some BOTW on the switch.

bimmere302 karma

What are your plans after you've completed the walk?

Theworldwalk5 karma

No idea just yet, maybe a photographer, maybe I'll write. Right now I'm just looking forward to being around family and friends.

chique_pea1 karma

What is your biggest fear and have you encountered it during your journey?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Not really sure what my biggest fear is. Someone coming across me at night would be pretty scary. It's happened a few times, but the scariest was in the deserts of Perú. I was in the middle of nowhere so for this SUV to pull up scared the hell out of me. We had a stand off - my flashlight and their headlights. Turned out to just be some kids riding through the dunes.

firstcitytrap1 karma

Hey Tom,

I’m sure because of your efforts you’ve seen and read about a lot of different geopolitical issues during your travels. Has their been any local issues or problems in a lesser known country that you have come across that might deserve more attention from everyone sitting in front of a screen?

Theworldwalk2 karma

Algeria is going through some stuff right now with Bouteflika. He helped stabilized the country after their civil war in the nineties and was/is beloved for that, but he's been clinging to power ever since. A couple months ago he announced he'd be running (staying) another term. The people weren't having that. He is believed to be very ill. He hadn't been seen for months. So the people protest peacefully. After that he said he says he'll step down and there will be elections, but those have yet to happen. The people are still protesting every Friday.

Dohrann1 karma

3 parter! Do your feet hurt? :)

How do you break the language barriers?

Have you ever been afraid or ran into a really dangerous situation that made you second guess your journey?

Theworldwalk2 karma

They're feeling good!

Languages are tough. I can almost always get the most basic needs across, but expressing good will it's just smiling and laughing, that's universal.

Nothing scary enough to second guess my journey, but there was a small stretch in Colombia where the locals heavily warned me off of. That was pretty tense going.

pradhansangam12 karma

What exactly... I am travelling colombia.. Thanks for reply

Theworldwalk2 karma

It was way in the middle of nowhere nearing the Ecuadorian border. Colombia is a great country, amazing people, you'll be fine.

altbiers1 karma

How much money does one need saved to do this?

Theworldwalk1 karma

Hmm...tough one, I saved about 20k for the first two years through the Americas

Elickson1 karma

Where did you adopt Savannah? She's a cutie!

Greetings from Argentina, I hope you enjoyed my country

Theworldwalk2 karma

Austin, Texas! Thanks! I loved Argentina! Jujuy especially was stunning!

MansaQu1 karma

Have you had any absolutely awful experiences at all?

Theworldwalk1 karma

Nothing absolutely horrible, there have been challenges of course. I've spent my fair share of days walking in the rain for hours on end, those are the greatest.

NewKerbalEmpire0 karma

Can I pet your dog?

Theworldwalk2 karma

She'll never turn down a good pet