Greetings! My name is Meigo Märk and I wish to share with you a story, photos and videos of how I was walking 20,000 kilometers or 12,427 miles in 22 countries which took me total 4 years and 3 months.
Please ask me anything! proof

📷 PHOTOS
🎥 VIDEOS

On May 11, 2014 I started a very long walk from Estonia in Northern Europe. 4 years and 3 months later I completed walking total 20,000 kilometers or 12,427 miles in 22 countries and had arrived to Sumatra Island in Indonesia.

To cross some rivers, seas and an ocean I also used some ferries, ships and planes.But 20,000 kilometers or 12,427 miles is the distance that I covered 100% by only walking!

The 22 countries where I walked were ▶ Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia , Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

PLEASE LOOK THE DETAIL ROUTE ON THE MAP 🌍

The longest distance I walked in India - over 3,600 kilometers or 2,236 miles which took me 7 months.

SOME FACTS AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES

  • I slept and lived shortly in over 220 local homes together with local families. Home is the most private place – a holy place. To be inside a local home together with a local family is surely one of the most special, interesting and enriching experience that can happen to any traveler.
  • The longest time that I stayed in one home was over 3 months. I became very close with one family in the mountains of Nepal and helped them to build a new house after the big Nepali earthquake.
  • I slept alone in a tent for over 650 nights.
  • I used total 24 pairs of different shoes.
  • When I started this long walk the total amount of money that I had in my pocket and in my bank was 8 euros. I even collected, washed and ate some edible leaves from the roadside. Later I rented out and sold my house which made the journey a bit easier. I also started to earn some money by writing travel articles, selling my travel photos and with YouTube videos
  • All my travel expenses for 1 full year were average 3,000 – 3,600 euros which is 3,245 – 3,785 US dollars $.
  • Over 2,200 kind people stopped me on the road and asked me many questions. They gave me a lot of free drinks and food, invited me to their homes, gave me many gifts and even money!
  • In 1 day I normally walked 25 - 35 kilometers. My daily record was 64 kilometers or 39 miles. I was going very slowly and I did not want to break any records.
  • The weight of my bag varied a lot from from total 8 kg to 23 kilograms.
  • For many weeks I was walking and camping in the snowy mountains of Turkey with even -17 degrees celsius or / 1.4 °Fahrenheit.
  • And for many weeks I passed some desert areas in Iran and in India where the temperature rose every day to +40 to + 42 degrees celcius or 107.6 °Fahrenheit.
  • For many months I walked in the monsoon rains of Asia. In Cambodia I once walked quite a long distance on a very remote road with the water over my knees.
  • Once I crossed alone a hilly jungle in Laos where on day 3 I finished all my food and I started to eat fresh bamboo leaves.
  • 2 times I was bitten by dogs (India and Thailand) and once needed to go to a hospital because of that.
  • Over 1 week my walking was escorted by heavily armed police forces of Northeast India and in Myanmar.
  • In different countries I was invited to visit over 45 schools and universities to share my travel experiences and photos with ten of thousands of students.
  • For 1 month I lived a zen monastery in the mountains of Vietnam.
  • My dear mother came to meet me and to travel together with we in Greece, Turkey, Nepal and in Vietnam. In Vietnam we had an epic trip together where we bought one bicycle, my mother was riding the bicycle with our bags and I was running (not walking) near her for over 220 kilometers in 2 weeks.
  • Together with my older sister Kadi we went to conquer the highest mountain in Greece - Mount Olympos
  • I was learning taekwondo with a 5th Den Black Belt Master while living the master's home.
  • Many people joined my walk in different countries. The biggest group I had in Vietnam where 13 people joined the long walk for 5 days. Amazing group walk!
  • I found new homes to 3 dogs and 4 cats that I found abandoned in very remote roadsides. The longest time one dog walked with me was exactly 10 days.
  • And I gave over 140 international media interviews. My biggest interview was a long TV interview for 'Talk Vietnam'.
  • After I had walked 13,000 kilometers I had arrived to Vietnam where I met a girl named Sâm. She was a marathon runner and wished to join my walk for few days. In the next exactly 1 year Sâm came to meet me and to walk together with me exactly 10 times – 2 times by bus and 8 times by airplane in 5 different countries! Together we walked over 750 kilometers. In October 2018 we got married and last year in March we became parents of a baby girl! We are dreaming and making plans to continue traveling around the world all 3 of us. Waiting for the global pandemic to end! I would continue walking and my wife and daughter would move on the same route with a small camping car.

My dream is to walk in different countries at least +20,000 kilometers more to complete walking the total distance of planet Earth’s Equator which is 40,075 kilometers or 24,901 miles.

PLEASE READ MORE 📰
BEST PHOTOS 📷
AND VIDEOS 🎥

Thank you very very much for your attention!
I wish good to you!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

🌍✨🙏🏻💓😇☀️🌠

Meigo Märk
Facebook YouTube Instagram

Comments: 848 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

TriggerEatsTheWolf445 karma

Well, let's start with the question on everyone's mind: why?

That's quite an undertaking. Did you have experience with this type of long distance walking? Do any training?

What was the plan for sustainment after the eight Euro ran out?

Amazing, crazy thing to do! And congrats!

meigom450 karma

Hello TriggerEatsTheWolf! How are you? Thanks for writing! Uhhh...good questions!

Why?
In early 2014 I saw a TED Talk of Jean Béliveau who walked around the world for 11 years over 75 000 kilometers. I was very very impressed about his crazy achievement and stories!Before hearing his talk I could have never even imagined that it would be possible for a human body to walk continuously so much!?!Something changed inside me.

Then I found a list of over 10 people who had walked or ran tens of thousands of kilometers in different countries around the world! I was totally in shock!!!Why and how they did it?

Some days passed and I started to feel that I also have A LOT of energy and I could also do it - to walk tens of thousand of kilometers in different countries.This idea and feeling started to grow and grow and grow until it became a really really big and true dream for mine to walk in different countries as much as I can!

To meet different people in different countries and to learn about their cultures and lives. To make a lot of travel photos and videos. To see and experience different natural landscapes and different climates. To camp in the nature. To visit historical and popular tourist places. All this seemed very interesting.

Everything else in my life was also naturally moving towards that direction of starting a very long walk. It felt like the only right way for me to continue on with my life and I should really start - at least try!I was deeply in peace with all my family members, neighbors and friends who were all supportive of this dream.A start of a new period in life...

Any previous experiences with long distance walking? Training?

Before I had only done some short hiking trip maximum 2-3 weeks.But before the long walk I had been running for over 2 years 3-4 times per week 5-10 kilometers or 3-6 miles. This running was not a conscious preparation for the long walk. I just loved the joy of running and it helped me to sleep better.

What was the plan after the last euros ran out?

I had my own private house in my home country Estonia in Northern Europe.Just before the start of the long walk I had rented it out and I was waiting for the first rent money.

Thanks a lot TriggerEatsTheWolf!
I wish you good!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

extremeskater619339 karma

I like simplifying this to “Man watches 14 minute video and decides to spend the entire next 4 years walking”

blurmageddon172 karma

"I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go home now".

meigom24 karma

Hahaaa...that's funny blurmageddon!

Frostgen392 karma

Were there moments that you felt that you were in real danger? What was the hardest country to travel through if ignoring heat and cold?

Absolutely amazing journey. Watched your intro video with disbelief. A total inspiration.

meigom288 karma

Hello Frostgen! Yes, there were moments when I was scared. When I was camping alone in the snowy mountains of Turkey and hearing a lot of wolves howling in many directions. The wolves are very hungry in the winter and in the daytime I saw the local men wearing big guns to protect themselves.
Once in India exactly 1 AM I heard a very loud roar just only 2-3 meters away from my tent. My first feeling was - a tiger! My tent had 2 layers of doors - one plastic and one web and only the web was closed to have some fresh air. So my first instinct was to close both doors. The wild animal did not touch the tent but walked around it. This happened also in the hills just next to one very small Hindu temple. In the early morning 3 men came up the hill to wash the temple, make some tea and do some rituals. When they saw me they were really worried and told me that one leopard in living here in the mountains near this temple and very few people are coming up here.

Another area in India once at sunset time I got surrounded by a group of 8-10 young men. Their shirts were all very very dirty with some holes, their teeth all red and half disappeared from eating betel nuts and their eyes all very red. One guy opened the clips of my bag and my tent fell down. And then he started to open the zips of my backpack. Luckily I had not shaved for many many weeks, also not had any shower for many days. My yellow t-shirt was very very dirty, my skin very dusty covered with a dark layer from walking and sweating all day long. My sandals had just broke!! So our clothes looked a bit similar. At that time I had a very very small bag. Together with food and water only 8 kilograms. I was just standing there. My passport, mobile and the small pocket camera were hidden very deep in the bag. At one point I just took off my small half open bag, closed it, attached my tent, made a bow with my head and continued to walk.

I also crossed on foot and camped in some areas with tigers and elephants in Nepal, Malaysia and Indonesia. Never saw them. Only heard the sounds of elephants from the distance, saw their trails and poo. And heard some gunshots, probably wild hunters?

Saw many spiders and big snakes. Once in Malaysia a black cobra was just one meter away from me.

The area in Northeast India where I had a heavily armed police escort walking with me in one morning I walked by a still hot car that had just exploded from a car bomb last night.

I also try to avoid walking in the dark. Always trying to find a place to sleep before the sunset.

And in different countries the local people have helped me A LOT by telling me what kind of area is ahead of me and few times advised to strictly walk around some areas because of higher criminality rate.

Those were the moments of fear that I can remember now.

I did not feel any country especially hard to walk through.
Most probably it is still ahead of me!

NeedHealth155 karma

These people never answer this question, and if they do, they always swear they never felt danger at any point, whatsoever, in any location anywhere in the globe. It’s asinine. I can easily walk 5 miles in several directions and be in some incredibly dangerous / hostile neighborhoods and I live in a very safe immediate area in a nice town in the US.

I’ve had sketchy as hell scenarios just in general vacations in my life, going down a weird road in the Dominican Republic, or Nicaragua, etc. And that’s just from general wandering outside the beaten tourist path. And that’s ok. That’s life. Life’s pretty grim and volatile. It’s also great. And everything in between. That’s called reality.

But these travel-as-a-lifestyle promoters are individual businesses unto themselves, and part of that business is selling the mystique at all costs, and not upsetting locals from any area they passed through, because their target customer is ‘everyone’, and you can’t be a truly authentic and honest person while also being a business that needs to make money. You certainly can’t promote yourself onto 140 different speaking appearances by giving an honest account about something negative you experienced.

meigom17 karma

Hello NeedHealth! Sorry for the late answer! It was a night here in Vietnam after which I stayed home alone with my 1 year 1 month old daughter taking care of her and playing. Now back online typing, typing, typing...

sexyunicorn7307 karma

What shoes did you wear?

meigom352 karma

Hello sexyunicorn7! How are you? Thanks a lot for a good question!

I used total 24 pairs of shoes.

VIDEO
PHOTOS

I did not have any very expensive shoes except only for 1 pair that was sent to me as a sponsor gift by one hiking company. It was written that those very expensive shoes are waterproof and I used them with waterproof trousers but when walking over 9-10 hours in the rain they still got very wet.

When I was walking in the snow then I used some high hiking boot but too high boots can make the ankle very tired.Also some hiking boots can be a bit heavy which is not the best for a very long walk.

When it was raining and very warm like tropical monsoon then I mostly used some good strong sandals. Walked many thousands of kilometers only with sandals. I felt it to be a good choice in a period when it is raining almost every day for many months.Of course on a dry day the legs will get very very dusty and dirty.

I have to be very honest that I have never focused on the inserts too much although considering my walking distances I should really do it!

My very very favorite shoes were some very lightweight but very strong sport shoes.

Any recommendations?

Thanks for writing sexyunicorn7!
Wishing you good!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

SulkySquidward226 karma

Which country did you enjoy walking around the most?

meigom290 karma

Hello SulkySquidward! How are you? Thanks for writing!That's a very tough question Sulky!!!I really loved to walk in Nepal. Beautiful nature and very very hospitable, helpful and giving people!!! Sooo many people invited me to their homes just from the road. Amazing! Although some mountain areas can be a challenge for walking because of the narrow curvy roads and traffic!

I also loved to walk though Vietnam over 3,100 kilometers. Loved it a lot!!!Amazing helpful people and beautiful nature!!!One of the greatest joys for me was to complete walking through India.Over 3,600 kilometers or 2,236 miles in 7 months! It was soooo diverse and colorful journey and I remember exactly arriving to the border of Myanmar thinking - WOW!!!

And I have very very warm feeling and memories with Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran and Myanmar.

But that was already my TOP 8 now!

Thanks for your question SulkySquidward!
I wish you good!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

blageur156 karma

Is Meigo your actual name, or just a play on words?

As in: Me? I go.

meigom207 karma

Hello blageur! How are you? Yes, my actual name is Meigo Märk.
That's very funny blageur!!! 😅 Really sounds like a good name for me going. 😂 My parents surely did not know any English at the time of choosing this name.

jostlol102 karma

"Meigo" means something like "kind", "gentle", "cute" in Portuguese and after reading everything it really suits you. :) (Source: I'm Brazilian)

ElAdri19997 karma

Meigo means witch guy or sorcerer in Galician (I think same in Portuguese)

meigom4 karma

Hello ElAdri1999! Hahaaa! Yes, I can be a kind gentle cute witch. Like that.

meigom3 karma

Hello jostlol! That's very nice to know. Thanks a lot!!! I will inform my parents that the name they chose has a meaning in Portuguese.

mccannr1140 karma

Would you walk 12,427 more

Just to be the man who walks 24,854 miles

To fall down at my door?

framabe38 karma

And I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more,

and I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more,

and I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more,

and I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more,

and I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more,

and I will...

meigom4 karma

Hello framabe! That is very funny. Like gramophone LP with some scratches.

meigom7 karma

Hello mccannr1! Where is your door? Maybe we can organize that.

inspired77096 karma

What was one of the scariest moments you had out there?

Did you train for this? How was your body prepared to deal with all that strain?

Any epiphanies you can share?

meigom26 karma

Hello inspired770! Please read one earlier comment for the answer about scariest moments.

Before starting the long walk I had been running 3-4 times per week 5-10 kilometers for over 2 years. But that was not a conscious preparation for the walk. I just loved to go for a run, helped me to feel lighter, have more energy and sleep better.

When starting the walk the most difficult thing was the backpack which felt very very heavy. But after 3 weeks my body was already very used to it and every single morning my bag felt tooo light and I was sure that something is missing from the bag. I also had many many resting days and periods to rest, recover and to gain some weight.

I did not know the meaning of the world epiphanies - like realization?
Maybe the moments when I have seen and felt more deeply, intensely and clearly my inner selfish and negative stuff and the ways to overcome them.
Also some experiences with the connectedness, unity and oneness.
Like the quote from the famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson: “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”

Every heartbeat, every breath, every blink of an eye is an unrepeatable gift!

eatdrinkdrink90 karma

What was your beginning and end weight?

meigom36 karma

Hello eatdrinkdrink! Great question. My maximum weight loss was 7 kilogram or 15 pounds. I started with 74 kg. Lost some weight. Rested few days and got it back a little. Walked and lost, rested longer got it back a little...
I have been a very strict vegetarian now for over 13 years and managed to keep it that way in all my travels.

rebelolemiss10 karma

Definitely interested in this.

meigom5 karma

Please see above

DFW_throwaway_Monste61 karma

Would you have considered RUNNING this route to save time or did you think it would be too stressful?

meigom92 karma

Hello DFW_throwaway_Monste! How are you? Thanks a lot for writing! I always wanted to walk. I love the smooth tempo of walking - entering a new village or city by walking and meeting with the local people with a natural walking tempo.I did some running in Myanmar when for my walking was escorted by local policemen with motorbikes and they carried my backpack on their bikes.I was also running for 2 weeks when I traveled together with my dear mother in Central Vietnam - she was cycling with our luggage and I was running nearby her. Few weeks of running nice but I still prefer walking.
Wishing you good DFW_throwaway_Monste!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

DFW_throwaway_Monste34 karma

How much pot were you able to smoke in India/Nepal?

meigom92 karma

DFW_throwaway_Monste a bit 🍀 Mostly with some sadhus who are smoking a chillum pipe just all day long - it is part of their spiritual practice. I slept many times in some hindu temples and those years of stoned sadhus were mostly very excited to host me.

cline1058 karma

what was your scariest experience while traveling?

Dark_Link_199645 karma

If you could visit any of these place again, which place would you go to again?

meigom102 karma

Hello Dark_Link_1996! Great questions! I really want to go to Nepal again. I felt very very natural and close with the great Nepali people and I totally fell in love with snowy Himalaya mountains and those views!!! For 2 weeks I was able to stay there in Tibetan Monastery with over 100 monks just on the foothills of the Himalaya. Longing to go there again...

How about you? Do you have some country you would like to go again?

Wishing you good Dark_Link_1996!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

Dark_Link_199632 karma

I'd love to go visit my family in Mexico again. It's been so long since I've been there

meigom27 karma

Dark_Link_1996 How long?

LouQuacious13 karma

Japan, go walk around Japan been wanting to do this myself.

meigom15 karma

Hey LouQuacious! Yes, the Islands of Japan is on the 'high priority' list for me! Hope we can do it Lou!!!

LouQuacious10 karma

Known a couple people that did this walk they loved it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikoku_Pilgrimage

I used to enjoy random Tokyo walks I'd let the street lights guide me, when I got to a corner I just crossed in direction of the greenlight.

wishthane3 karma

I love just walking anywhere in Japan. It's pretty much impossible to end up somewhere with nothing interesting to see. Go toward the lights, go toward the alleyways, follow other people, you'll find interesting things for sure. Especially at night it's just so much brighter than what I'm used to at home, and feels so nice. Wandering aimlessly is just absolute bliss.

meigom2 karma

Thanks a lot wishthane! Your messages gave new excitement in terms of future!

Shnoochieboochies41 karma

Hey u/meigom you strike me as a very humble, honest person, thanks for taking the time out to do an ama and congratulations on completing your world tour, must have been quite a trip. For someone who has a really upbeat, optimistic view on things ,what moments were the real downside of your travel? What moments made you feel like you could not carry on??

meigom6 karma

Hello Shnoochieboochies! I have to be honest and tell you that there has not yet been an moment when I felt I could not carry on. Not yet! I always have an attitude and a feeling towards challenges that they are here only to help me to become better and stronger.

FallingSpear39 karma

Are you a fan of Emojis? Just curious.

meigom4 karma

Hello FallingSpear! Yes I like emojis. I am sorry if they are annoying!

ToxicSatan30 karma

Hi Meigo, fellow Estonian here.

Out of the 22 countries you've passed through, which one stood out the most for you and which one in your personal opioion resembles "Eestimaa" the most ?

All the best!

meigom15 karma

Hello tere ToxicSatan! From the countries that I have traveled up until now my favorite is Nepal with it's amazing people that I felt very close to and the natural landscapes that I fell in love.
For me there is no other country that would even closely resemble Estonia or the Estonian people. For me my home country and it's people are the one and the only without resemblance. "Ei leia mina iial teal see suure, laia ilma peal..."
What are your feelings about that?
All the best to you too!!!

Sark_mints30 karma

Amazing achievement, I'm curious about two things: How did you communicate with the people you met? And What did you carry with you?

meigom21 karma

Hello Sark_mints! Before entering every country I already started to learn the local language myself from the internet. Wrote out many words and basic sentences into my notebook and downloaded some offline language packs.
I tried to learn every language as much as I could. Many times I used Google translators voice mode - no need to waste time of typing, just talk and hear the translation. Of course sometime the translations are not totally correct but the main point can be understood and few times I ended up having half an hour long conversations with voice translator.

The weight of my bag varied a lot. Depending from the weather from 8 - 23 kilograms.
And all my stuff changed many times even my passport became totally full. So what was usually inside my bag? I always carried a tent, sleeping bag, small mattress, hat, few t-shirts usually 3-5, 2 pairs of short trousers, 1 pair of long trousers, underwear, socks, washing stuff like toothbrush, paste, soap, a small very strong plastic covers for washing things, small tower, toilet paper or tissue paper, nail cutter, sometimes shaving stuff sometimes not. Some bandages to cover wounds, some oils and creams to heal bug bites and muscles pains, a needle and a thread to fix stuff, some tape, some small ropes, mosquito spray if they were around. What else? Very well packed passport, bank card, Id card, money, the flag of Estonia, a notebook and pencil, mobile, small pocket camera, small mp3 player with a very good battery, earphones, charges for the mobile and camera, a very big world map not for navigation but to show my route and the location of my home country, some very small lucky gifts that people gave me, usually a book or even 2, later I had a kindle reader which was a gift for me and also 2 water filters with bottles. When I started I had a small lap top but later I managed to do everything with a mobile and I was given a small external bluetooth keyboard for faster typing. A lighter, a knife to cut tomatoes and stuff, sometimes small foldable scissors, a foldable silicon bowl and a cup, fork and a spoon. When I was colder or raining I had a jacket, raincoat, or even thermo clothes and thermo socks. I was gifted a bamboo flute which I learned to play and carried.

Cannot remember more things now.

KoreanJesusPleasures29 karma

I've been planning a lightly similar trek, though starting in remote northern Inuit communities in Canada (having been to many already) and working my way down to the most southern tip of South America.

No matter my trek, my concern is always food supply. How do you cope with this stress? Do you purchase it or ask for food when stopping in villages? What if you're out of money, do they often accept working aid in exchange? Do you forage? This is really the only obstacle that's halting my progress, and I'm wondering how you manage this issue in your treks.

meigom8 karma

Hello KoreanJesusPleasures! Almost always I had some peanuts in my bag. I ate a lot of peanuts - very very high energy. I was looking the map every single day for what is ahead of me. If there were no villages or cities and vast natural landscaped then I prepared and carried more food in my bag. I have never asked food from people. Only to fulfill my water bottles but never asked food. I always paid for the food I ate unless the local kind people gave it for me as a gift which happened a lot especially in smaller places and non touristic areas.

Your trip from Inuit communities of Canada to South America feels very intrueging!!!
There have been many times when I was counting my last coins and felt very hungry and was carefully considering which food item would be best for me to buy with the last coins.
I did a few helpx exchanges on the way. Helped some families to do their everyday works for shelter and food.
It is totally impossible to plan and see everything ahead.

Devonmade25 karma

Was there ever a point when you questioned what you were doing? What have you the motivation to keep going?

meigom15 karma

Hello Devonmade! The real and the big dream to walk at least the distance of the Equator was and still is for me so true and powerful that the dream itself gives me enough energy to fulfill it. I never felt that it was a waste of time. The more I questioned and analyzed my journey the more beneficial it felt. I really did not need to motivate or push myself to do it. I would say that over 95% of the time I felt very inspired, motivated and excited to continue. Many morning my brain was confused because it could not imagine where, what and how would happen today. Moving and the change of natural landscapes, people, villages, cities, appearances, cultures...the constant change of the environment forced me to pay more attention to understand what was happening and this kept it always fresh. I really wanted to do it, didn't need motivating - just could not hold myself back...The times when I felt very very tired I looked back of some of the past experiences, the photos, videos and the people that I met and that always gave me new hope!

Socrates_Burrito3 karma

Ahh I hope this is answered. It’s always so insightful to see the different ways people can push themselves to such extremes.

meigom2 karma

Hello Socrates_Burrito! Please look the comment above.

gymgal1923 karma

How come you had to be escorted by armed police?

Fascinating story, thanks for sharing!

meigom25 karma

In Northeast India in Assam state the head of the local district was worried about my safety in his area and organized for me many teams of armed escorts for few days. Only once I saw a still hot car that had just exploded by a car bomb last night.

In Myanmar the local police in that area seemed to have nothing else much to do. One time I was escorted by 6 men with motorbikes. They were also carrying my bag so for few days I ran over 40 kilometers per day - a full marathon. They paid for all my costs - all the drinks, food, few batteries...and even helped to organize sleeping places.

zowhat20 karma

Did you encounter any bandits or other bad people that you felt might harm you?

meigom4 karma

Hello zowhat! Only 2 times - once in Europe and once in India. But I never got robbed or beaten up yet.

Geltar19 karma

Did you learn any languages on the way to talk with the locals in the countries you visited?

meigom4 karma

Hello Geltar! Before entering every new country I already started to learn the local language myself from the internet. Wrote out many words and basic sentences into my notebook, tried to memorize those and downloaded some offline language packs into my mobile.
I tried to learn every language as much as I could. Many times I used Google translators voice mode - no need to waste time of typing, just talk and hear the translation.
Of course sometime the translations are not totally correct but the main point can be understood and few times I ended up having half an hour long or longer conversations just with voice translator.

Communicating with emotions, smiling and body language helps a lot.

DumbBrownie17 karma

Were you ever sore and didnt walk a day ? Or like when you stayed with someone did you go and walk throughout the day and then come back ?

meigom72 karma

Hello DumbBrownie! How are you? Good questions! Yes, I had many many resting days. When I walked over 50-60 kilometers in 1 day thats 31-37 miles then the next day my legs hurt a bit and usually I made a resting day.

The longest time I did not walk much was in Nepal when I became very close with one family living in the mountains and I lived with them for 3 months helping to build a new house for them after the big Nepali earthquake.

Also I became close with many other families and many times they asked me to stay few days longer in their homes and sometimes I really really needed to rest, eat a lot to gain some weight and keep my health balanced.

And yes, when I stayed in one place then I had many short walks around the neighborhood and came back to my host's home. Most of the times I did not record every step around the neighborhood. Like 150 meters to the market and back - 15 meters to the bathroom...

Thanks for writing DumbBrownie!
I wish you good!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

Samantion2 karma

So how did you get to know so many different and exciting people? Did you just start talking to strangers or are even people in Nepal using backpacker apps?

meigom6 karma

Hello Samantion! Because I was moving in walking tempo I naturally was greeting and greeted by a lot local people whenever I passed any village or town and also on the road. Usually the local people stopped me to invite to drink some tea or coffee or other drinks. Or eat. If the spoke English it was amazing if not then I used the local language that in every country I tried to learn as much as I could. I also used a lot of Google voice translator - no need to waste time for typing, just speak and hear the translation. Sometimes I got into half an hour long conversations with the voice translator, not always correct grammar or words but will understand the main point. Yes, even in Nepal for example couchsurfing is very popular. I don't know about other apps. In Nepal the highest number of people invited me to their homes just from the street after talking with me for 10-20 minutes.

BadNraD13 karma

How did you afford it?

meigom7 karma

Hello BadNraD!
Before I started this long walk I had my own house in Estonia in Northern Europe. I rented out my house and the monthly rent money started to help a bit.
But on the starting day the amount of money that I had in my pocket and my bank account was total 8 euros. I filled up my water bottles in the petrol stations, found some public water pumps and asked water from my fellow countrymen like a beggar.
Bought some very cheap breads and I was even collecting, washing and eating many big bags of edible leaves from the roadside.
Those were the very first weeks before I received the first rent money.
After 1 year of traveling I sold my house!

All my travel expenses for 1 FULL YEAR (foods, drinks, accommodations, some new shoes, clothes, travel and hiking equipment, few new mobile phones and cameras that broke on the way, all the visas and tickets for popular touristic places and all the other stuff) were average 3,000-3,600 euros which is 3,245 – 3,785 US dollars $ for 1 full year.

For over 650 nights I slept alone in a tent and I also slept in over 220 local homes together with the local families who invited me to their homes. Almost every day I was helped by many local people in different villages who were very surprised to see me, asked many questions, were inspired by the long walk and offered me free drinks, food, new shoes and many other gifts. So many kind and helpful people in the world! Specially smaller places were tourist normally never go. I was helped by over 2,200 kind people on the way and many people around the world were also inspired and really wanted to send me donations.

Almost every weeks I counted my very last coins!

I was also asked to write some travel and news articles, gave some international interviews and earned a bit money with my travel photos and YouTube videos

religionofpeace7868 karma

What are some of your special memories from the time in India?

meigom5 karma

Hello religionofpeace786!
To walk over 3600 kilometers in India in 7 months was truly amazing!

I slept and lived shortly in over 35 local homes together with local families,
was invited to visit many schools and universities to inspire thousands of students.

Had a very inspiring meeting with the Six-time world boxing champion MC Mary Kom and met the members of the famous Shillong Chamber Choir who sang 3 songs just only for me.

I walked many weeks in Rajasthan – the desert state of India with over +42 degrees Celsius and many weeks in the monsoon rains. Camped a lot, got attacked by a dog, felt an earthquake from Myanmar and was escorted by a heavily armed police force.

Swam alone in the Ganges River, celebrated many big festivals like Diwali and Navaratri and others, was invited to few weddings, hanged out with many sadhus and smoked their chillum, went illegally into Bhutan. For many weeks walked to Ambaji together with 2 million walking Indians. Visited the Gandhi Ashram, Barefoot Collage, Om Ashram and many more interesting touristic places.

I also gave many interviews and press conferences to local newspapers, television and radio. Some people on the road recognized me stopped their car and wanted to touch my feet to receive blessings. Saw the inside life of a drug dealer in Ahmedabad.

Waited in the middle of the night some of my new Indian friends outside of a big prostitution house in Mumbai. They wanted to take me to have fun but I felt better to stay outside and sleep on their bikes.

Lived few days in a very big slum area where people share the wall with neighbors, don't have windows and the "toilet" in one big open field - men on one side, women on the other. One of the most respectful and humble amazing people there that I have ever met!!!

Had a leopard just 2-3 meters away from my tent making loud roars. Received a very very big and warm welcome in Haflong. Stayed in a military camp. Was helped by a local mafia. Probably some things more that I cannot remember now.

Felt very proud after arriving finishing walking through India and arriving to the border of Myanmar.

Please look some of my BEST PHOTOS from India

Yogi_Bay7 karma

What would you say was your favorite dish through this journey?

meigom4 karma

Hello Yogi_Bay! For over 13 years now I have been a very strict vegetarian and managed to keep it while travelling. I really loved some home cook meals. Some of my favorite dishes were Indian - although many of the Indian foods are very very oily, salty, spicy, sugary but I enjoyed them a lot!
Here are PHOTOS of some Indian dishes that I really enjoyed.
And HERE are almost all the other food photos that I took in different countries.

fraterfamilias1237 karma

Hi there! Such an interesting thing to hear about! Can you tell me what was the craziest story or experience of the whole trip? Or one of?

meigom3 karma

Hello fraterfamilias123! I was thinking and I don't really have a clear answer to what was the craziest story or experience. But up until now the craziest period of the journey was surely to walk 7 months in India. Very crazy period full of very unexpected event, environment and meetings.

adognamedpenguin6 karma

Favorite insoles?

meigom2 karma

Hello adognamedpenguin! That is a really good question! I really have to admit that I was never thinking or focusing on insoles. Some of my favorite shoes did not have any special insoles.

johnoleary5 karma

Did you shave? And what was your mental health like along the way?

meigom3 karma

Hello johnoleary! I did not shave regularly. When I walked in the snow I had a very long beard which was practical like a warm keeping scarf. Also while walking in the some desert areas the beard helped to protect the skin.

I feel my mental health was very good. Probably for many people who are "looking from the outside" that conclusion would be different.

therealcaptaincrunch5 karma

We’re there parts of your trip where you were in fear for your safety?

meigom2 karma

Hello therealcaptaincrunch! Please see the answer to your question in an older comment HERE

mrjake1185 karma

It all sounds incredible and I'm sure overall it was a great journey for you but I'm sure there were parts that were just awful. If you were to break up your whole journey into positive and negative moments or experiences, what would the ratio be? Like, would you say half positive, half negative? 10 to 1 positive to negative?

meigom5 karma

Hello mrjake118! I would say about 95% positive and 5% negative. And most of that negativity was my own creation like getting upset and angry about someone and keeping it. Or being too prideful and arrogant and treating others not well. I always have an attitude and feelings that all the different inner and outer challenges are here only to help me to become better and stronger!

dickinthedirtt5 karma

Other than your wife, is there anybody that immediately comes to mind that made a significant impression on you?

Could you tell me a funny story that took place during your travels?

meigom7 karma

Hello dickinthedirtt! The first person that came to my mind and made a very amazing impression on me was MC Mary Kom who is a 8 time female World Boxing Champion. I am not a fan of boxing but meeting with her in her hometown was very very nice. She is very very humble! We made some nice photos of pretending how she is hitting me in my face.

One funny story happened in Myanmar. I have a one male friend Rob from the Philippines who came to have a weekend holiday with me in Myanmar. I wanted to introduce him to another Filipino girl whom I met.

So we met and the 2 of them got along very well. I felt very satisfied to connect my old and new Filipino friends. My male friend really liked the girl and was very attracted to her. We drank some local beers and they got along very well.
Then we started to talk about tolerance and how tolerant someone is.
Suddenly the Filipino girl told that it is very nice that we are very tolerant because she wants to tell us that she was actually not born as a girl.

Boooom!!!! Silence.
My friend Rob had suddenly totally sank under the ground! Very deep!
I tried to make this situation a bit more relaxed and told "her".
Really? To me you look totally 100% girl. Walk like a girl and talk like a girl!

She said: thanks, it means my doctor did a really great job.
After few minutes "she" started to feel very uncomfortable and left us 2 guys just sitting there wondering...

justsimplethoughts5 karma

What's the worst thing you stepped in?

meigom8 karma

Hello justsimplethoughts! I remember exactly. It was one very nice, big and fresh cow dung in India. Stepped into it perfectly centered and deep with my sandal.
And the real reason was that across the road there were some women with their very colorful sari dresses and I was just staring at them.
I don't remember what was my reaction. Maybe: Oouu sh*t?

ElDiabloDe943 karma

Why did you stop?

meigom5 karma

Hello ElDiabloDe94! I stopped because my wife got pregnant and at the same time I started to have some back nerve problems from carrying a heavy backpack for many years. I was also very tired and really wanted to pause. Dreamed of being peacefully in one place, make videos from old travel clips, sort photos and write a bit. Take a very good care of my wife, cook for her etc...Now my health is good and I have a very good bag with wheels that I can pull behind me or push in front without feeling much weight or pressure.

FatherSquee3 karma

Hello miegom and congratulations on your epic journey! I hope you have the chance to finish the second half of it and complete your goal of walking the length of the equator!

Looking at the dates, it seems like you were just starting your journey just as I was finishing mine; a round the world trek to escape the Canadian winter. These adventures change you fundamentally, but I don't think I need to tell you that. I too found my wife while traveling and we now have a son of our own, which truly changes things.

So now, you're not the man you were when you set off on your journey in 2014, and you have new and important responsibilities. Would you say you're prepared to handle the new levels of hardship that will come with trying to complete your goal? It'll take longer than 4 years to get the next 20,000km, and your wife and daughter will also need you there for support and growth on their own journeys. Do you think you can make the sacrifices needed to balance all that will be asked of you?

Good luck, and happy travels!

meigom3 karma

Hello FatherSquee! Wow! Thanks a lot for writing so beautifully! I really appreciate!!!
Yes, you are totally right! I am a different man with new important responsibilities.
To continue traveling is also my wife's very very big dream. Already years before our meeting one of her biggest dreams were to travel around the world and she has been exploring a lot. And she is very tough! Very very touch! We could take the time. Going slowly go from home to home from hotel to hotel...
I can only walk 30-40 kilometers per day and would have many resting days.
Even weeks of staying in one place, learning and playing together.
It's ok for us even if it could take 5,6,7 years - it's ok.
No matter the time but the quality of the experiences.
My wife really loves to meet new people and visit new places and especially to stay in local homes together with local families. She is really great in that.
I have met many young couples traveling around the world with a very young kid - even 3 kids.
Surely there would be many challenges but challenges are everywhere no matter where we are or what we do.
Currently we are still very confident, excited and hopeful about our common dream.

Thanks so much for writing!!!
Wishing you good FatherSquee!
Please be safe, healthy and happy!!!

McJumbos3 karma

Can you recall the first time meeting Sâm and in retrospect, what was going through your mind during that time?

And, how did you propose?

meigom3 karma

Hello McJumbos! The first time I met Sâm we talked very very shortly. I felt that she is very short, has a lot of energy, is very cute and polite. She do not like to wear any make up at all or any jewelry.
I proposed her in the Central Highlands of Vietnam on top of Lang Biang Mountain (2,169 meters) with the rings I made myself from bamboo. Just 2 of us on top of the mountain. She loved the rings A LOT!