Five years ago I left my home in New Jersey to embark on a twenty-five thousand mile, seven continent, walk around the world. After four months of walking I adopted a dog, Savannah, and since then we've covered 16,500 miles across thirty-three countries together.

When Savannah was a pup I pushed her in my cart. Now she’ll walk thirty miles a day and still be running circles at night. We’ve spent nearly every minute of every day together and from navigating chaotic cities and strange new environments Sav and I are totally in sync. She’s my best bud and absolutely rock solid. (The Dodo recently did a video on her.)

I'm walking around the world because of a friend who died at seventeen. Her death led me to understand how fleeting my life was and that I needed to make the most of the short time I had. When I discovered Karl Bushby the idea of walking around the world stuck in my head as a way to live a full life.

From seventeen to twenty-six I went to college, worked, paid off loans, saved, then set off before I had too much responsibility.

During the first two years of this adventure I walked from New Jersey to Uruguay. I was held up at knife point in Panama, did ayahuasca in the Amazon, and climbed 15,000 feet over the Chilean Andes. The three years since walking The Americas, I was almost taken out by a bacterial infection, needed seven months to recover, then walked Europe, North Africa, across Turkey and into Georgia. I peregrinated The Camino in Spain, had a twenty-four hour police escort through Algeria, visited the village of my family name (Turčić) in Croatia and became the first private citizen granted permission to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot (the Istanbul bridge crosses from Europe to Asia).

After flying home this winter to obtain extended visas for Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan Savannah and I returned to the road this March but were promptly forced to put our walk on hold. Currently we're in lockdown in Baku, Azerbaijan so I thought this would be the perfect moment for an AMA.

This infographic on my site provides a great visualization of our walk.

And this video from Sunrise Australia provides the best summation of our journey.

If you'd like to follow along I do my best to post photos daily and write a weekly(ish) blog post.

Proof

It's late here in Azerbaijan so I'm signing off for the moment! Thanks for all the great questions, I'll answer some more tomorrow morning!

Comments: 951 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

FuckedUpRhino901 karma

So I'm a footwear designer, I'm interested in what some of your favorite shoes along the way have been? The pitfalls and advantages of them? I've been following your travels for years and it's incredible to see the world through a road less traveled perspective. Keep it up and stay safe!

Theworldwalk571 karma

Hmm...that's a tough one...haven't put much detailed thought into that. I love Brooks Cascadia, they're my favorite. I've tried a bunch of shoes but those just fit my feet right. They have a loose structure around the sides and mesh on top so I suppose there's a good balance between stability and flexibility. Their sole is also very thick. But not sure I can go into much more detail than that!

Wakborder517165 karma

How long does a pair of shoes last for you?

Theworldwalk345 karma

Depends how long I need to make them last. Changing shoe brands has given me nightmarish blisters in the past so now I do my best to somehow get my hands on Brooks Cascadias. I used the same pair of shoes across Algeria, Tunisia and up to Florence, Italy because I had a friend meeting me and bringing me a pair. In general I'd say they can be really solid for a month and half, so maybe 750-1000 miles.

hinktech146 karma

What about socks? Any preferences on style, material or brand? I own a small sock company that has had many thru-hikers on the PCT test socks for us.

Theworldwalk203 karma

Smartwool PHDs are incredible. They last forever and I rarely get blisters with them.

catlan672 karma

Hi Tom, I have been following your walk for a while now and I love your photographs. I enjoy seeing Savannah pictures and videos the most though. Is she always as well behaved as she seems?

Theworldwalk786 karma

Thanks Catlan!

She really is haha. Especially on the road she listens to every little thing I say. You figure she grew up on the road with me and we've spent nearly every minute of every day together so we're very much in sync.

Thinkclass536 karma

Besides the challenges of the journey itself, how has it changed your life? (relationships, opportunities, etc.)

Theworldwalk1022 karma

Hey Thinkclass!

Man, it's changed beyond recognition. I'd say the largest change is simply my understanding of the world. I didn't realize how naive I was before beginning this. The journey has given me a much better grasp of the world and how people exist within it. When I read about a country now I have a good context of how to place that information. I'm much less likely to generalize or unknowingly blow things out of proportion.

The other major thing is all the people I've met. Not to say my circle wouldn't have expanded or changed if I had stayed back home, but the variety of people I've met from this walk has been astounding. I have friends all over the world, living all sorts of different lives. That's an incredible thing.

bobhwantstoknow435 karma

how many foreign firehydrants does your dog own?

Theworldwalk728 karma

She's got her scent all over the world, leaving all those foreign boys dreaming.

JohnxStark424 karma

Just the one everyone is thinking at the minute: in what ways has coronavirus affected your trip, and in what ways do you expect it to affect the remainder of your journey?

You're an inspiration, I hope things continue to go well!

Theworldwalk467 karma

Coronavirus has thrown this entire year off track, that's for certain. But this was a pretty tenuous year to begin with, I needed to balance a couple large scale things for it to go as planned. First, My goal was to reach Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. But because Ulannbaatar is very far north I needed to get there before winter set in. Now that's impossible. I'll also be crossing Uzbekistan this year which doesn't offer extended visas for US citizens but which will take about 50 days to cross. The only option is a visa in which you receive 30 days to spend within a 90 day window. Before coronavirus I had it timed out where I would be able to put two of those 90 day windows back to back and walk Uzbekistan mostly uninterrupted. But that timing has been thrown off so most likely I'll spend my thirty days there then have to move on to Kyrgyzstan (or otherwise wait two months to reenter Uzbekistan).

Overall I'm just playing things by ear like everyone else. I'm constantly checking embassy websites. When countries reopen we'll move a little more and stop if needed. But Sav and I are doing fine in our lockdown for the moment!

clubcar331 karma

How did you afford to travel the world?

Theworldwalk835 karma

Hey Clubcar!

Multiple ways. Firstly, walking is probably the cheapest mode of travel. I camp most nights. I'll go weeks at a time where the only thing I pay for is food. Depending on the country this can be as low as a few dollars a day.

Second, I worked, lived at home, and saved for seven years before beginning. When I thought I had enough saved that I could walk the two years to Argentina, I left.

Third, Philadelphia Sign stepped in. Once I really began putting things into motion to begin this journey there were a few stories in my local newspaper about me. The owner of Philadelphia Sign saw them. He saw my inspiration for this walk was the death of my friend Anne Marie. He knew Anne Marie and so wanted to support me somehow. Philly Sign decided to give me some steady support and donate a dollar a mile into Anne Marie's scholarship fund.

Fourth, the two years down to Argentina were very tight, even with Philadelphia Sign giving me help. So when I got to Europe I started a Patreon. The people who support me there have taken an enormous amount of pressure off.

JustAnOldRoadie284 karma

Hey, fellow wanderer. As one who walked across America solo, do you prefer tent or hammock bivouac?

*I chose to sleep in trees, because no one ever looks up. Much safer for female.

Theworldwalk173 karma

Wow! You're amazing! Good on you!

I used a hammock for some hiking trips, but a tent is the only thing that makes sense for me. I need shelter in too many varied situations - sometimes this means freestanding.

dccthereal207 karma

I love what you two are doing, I'd love to do something similar (though on a smaller scale) with my dog. I'm wondering, how/what do you feed your dog? Do you carry a load of dog food on you all the time or find food as you go? Do you need to make special plans through places to be able to include her?

Theworldwalk315 karma

Thanks! I would definitely recommend it, it's an incredible way to travel with your dog, feels like what we're meant to do. Food has been pretty easy. Because I push a cart I can bring a decent amount of weight with me. I usually buy a few pounds of dog food whenever it's available. And I've been able to get dog food just about everywhere. The only place where it was difficult to find was in Morocco and Algeria. Because I couldn't find any I fed Sav canned tuna and beef. I'm sure she preferred that diet but it's much heavier.

superbadonkey175 karma

This question if for the dog:

Woof woof woof, grrrrr, wooof?

Theworldwalk181 karma

I'll ask her...

Sav says, 'Grrrr, humpf, grrrr, humpf, woof.'

relishldm170 karma

Thanks for doing this Tom! Are there any strangers youve met on the road with whom your encounter stands out compared to the rest?

Theworldwalk588 karma

There have been so many memorable encounters. That's one of the wonderful things about traveling this way - I'm perpetually open to serendipity. I'm out in the world colliding with new people. In Scotland I had a cop find me sleeping at a bus stop then come by in the morning to give me coffee and danishes. In Turkey a fruit vendor saw me on the news and proceeded to load me down with fruit. In the Argentinian summer I walked four hours through a downpour, staggered into a church, and was welcomed by a priest who brought me to his parish and gave me a bed for the night. Lots of great moments.

CandyHeartWaste68 karma

What was the strange encounter you noted in the US?

Theworldwalk174 karma

Wrote a story about it here!

ttgogog44162 karma

Hey Tom. I’m Spencer and I’m 16 years old. I have the same exact dream that you once did, before making it a reality. Hopefully by age 22, I will start traveling the world on foot. The only difference is I want to fly all the way to Japan, as the start and work my way back to the US. I wanted to just ask what are some valuable tips for doing it? Things that are easily missed when traveling.

Theworldwalk204 karma

Hey Spencer!

That's awesome! I have no doubt you'll get there. I would say where you're at right now the most important thing is to work and save as much as you can. I worked like a dog for years to save enough to give myself the chance to begin. I'd also go on some hikes. I didn't do a great deal of hiking before beginning, but the first leg of my trip was five months in the US so I had time to figure things out in my own country where I knew the culture and norms. You'll want some experience finding places to sleep and sorting out what you need to bring and what you don't.

Good luck!

heftytrust121 karma

I know you got sick just as you arrived to Scotland but would or could you ever return? This is biased but you missed out Tom.

Theworldwalk125 karma

Absolutely. I didn't get to Glasglow or Edinburgh. Definitely want to see them.

butchpudding114 karma

Sorry if you already explained, and I missed it. Have you run into any roadblocks that would prevent you from bringing Savannah into a country? I’ve looked into moving with my dog before, and some places require them to go through quarantine, and I was wondering how you navigate or avoid those situations.

Theworldwalk231 karma

Hey Butchpudding,

There hasn't been anything close to insurmountable. Quarantines, in most cases, are only required when arriving with an animal without the proper paperwork. Also, when flying into a country the restrictions for animals are much more strictly enforced than when entering overland.

However even then, most countries simply require proof of an up to date rabies vaccine. Some will require a recent health certificate too. Both of those are easily obtained.

The strictest places are island countries (because without wildlife crossing political borders they can effectively keep rabies out). To get Savannah into Ireland it took about a month to get an 'International Health Certificate' from a USDA vet. That requires going to a USDA certified vet then sending the paperwork to be approved by the local USDA office. Once in Ireland however I was able to get Savannah an EU Pet Passport which holds her entire medical history and makes crossing most borders seamless.

To reenter Spain from Morocco, and Italy from Tunisia, I needed Savannah to have a rabies titer test. This took about two weeks and I got it in Spain before entering Morocco. In the end neither Spain nor Italy even asked for Savannah's paperwork though. In The Americas I only had about every other country ask to see Savannah's paperwork.

All this just comes down to doing research ahead of time then allotting whatever time necessary. I'm in no rush and I'm not going anywhere without Sav so even an extra week or two to sort out paperwork is no bother.

Zekabur96 karma

Hi Tom, been a big fan for the past years or so- keep up the good work!

My question is this:

What country has defied your expectations the most and why ?

Theworldwalk262 karma

Turkey! Because of the star and crescent on the flag I thought Turkey would be a much more religious state than it was. In Algeria I had a twenty-four hour police escort and was told not to photograph women. I thought Turkey would be similar. Instead it felt more like Europe than Algeria. Walking Turkey it was clear there was such an incredible crossroads of cultures - Christianity, Ottomans and post-Ataturk. Wonderful architecture, warm people, the friendliest street dogs I've ever encountered and great infrastructure.

colabucks992 karma

This is very cool!

How much did you initially save for the trip and do you make any new income along the way to sustain?

Theworldwalk133 karma

In total I'm not even sure to be honest. For years I was putting all my money towards paying off my student loans. When I thought I had the loans low enough (to about nine thousand) I decided I could pay minimums on my loans and bleed out the remainder of my savings (twenty-ish thousand) while I walked to Argentina over two years.

Thankfully I got a sponsor, Philadelphia Sign, before even beginning. The owner knew my friend who passed away. I get some money from them.

Now I do the occasional photography job (I've worked for Google, Smartwool and Oyster Hotels) and have a Patreon as well. A sort of smattering of things to make it work.

chatendormi69 karma

Hi Tom! How do you stay grounded with all the set backs you have experienced in the last 5 years? You seem so easy going!

Theworldwalk163 karma

I think a lot of that is just in my personality. I've never been one to blow things out of proportion or become overwhelmed. The other thing is I try to remember how small I am, and how little I know about anything. I wasn't given any guarantees when I was born, saying life would be such and such a thing, so I try to look at everything that happens as a sort of curiosity. I think, 'Oh, so that's what life is...'

kellylyn61263 karma

Jersey girl here. Super proud of you! Where in jersey you from and what keeps you going throughout all this craziness??

Theworldwalk89 karma

Hey! Jersey proud!

I'm from South Jersey, Haddon Township. And honestly, I just love it out here. I think it's the best lifestyle. I love the mixture of adventure and routine. I don't want to be doing anything else.

stressedalmostwriter57 karma

Hello Tom! Big thanks for doing this, I have been following your Instagram account for over a year now and I am a big fan of your photos, philosophical captions and adventure in general. In fact, you’ve actually inspired me to (hopefully) do something similar (although not so grand!). Also hope you are doing well in Baku.

  • Question 1: Which country have you enjoyed walking through the most, and why?

  • Question 2: What do you think has been your hardest experience so far?

  • Question 3: Do you think you could have done this trip without Savannah’s companionship?

  • Question 4: Your photography is some of the best I’ve seen on Instagram. Do you have any technique or style you would like to share? And bonus: where can I buy your Indian photography book?!

Hope you don’t mind answering so many questions! Stay safe and well.

Theworldwalk78 karma

Hey there! Thanks for following! Good luck on your trip!

To answer your questions:

1) Tough one. Each has a unique feeling which makes it appealing. Perú holds a special place for me. I spent months walking in the desert where towns were about two or three days apart. I loved the isolation and sleeping under the stars each night.

2) Probably coming back from my bacterial infection. I returned to the road before I was 100% physically recuperated and far from mentally recuperated. From being in agony for months my thoughts had a dark tinge to them. I was very negative and being on my own all the time made for poor company. It wasn't until some point on The Camino that I was able to move past that.

3) I would be doing this if I had to claw my way forward, but Savannah definitely makes it. Nothing better then setting camp at the end of the day with her.

4) Thanks! Hmm...I really admire Steve McCurry. He has a wonderful way of capturing ordinary humanity in such a beautiful way. I'm trying to do the same thing. (Message me on Insta!)

All the best!

the_ronnows41 karma

Have been following you for quite some time now. Wanted to know if the corona crisis have you truly worried about the end of this trip?

Theworldwalk50 karma

It's thrown this entire year off track, that's for certain. This year was pretty tenuous to begin with. Because I was planning on walking to the capital of Mongolia, which is very far north, I needed to get there before winter set in. Now that's impossible. I'll also be crossing Uzbekistan this year which doesn't offer extended visas for US citizens. The only option is 30 days to spend within a 90 day window. I had it timed out where I was going to put two of those 90 day windows back to back and walk Uzbekistan mostly uninterrupted. But that timing has been thrown off now so most likely I'll spend my thirty days there then have to move on to Kyrgyzstan. I have no doubt I'll finish this walk, but it's getting tricky diplomatically.

maverickf1128 karma

So you like walking, huh?

Theworldwalk26 karma

It keeps things moving

H-Elle2227 karma

I read your blog post about your encounter in rural Georgia, and I was struck when you said, “this is what girls must feel like.” I appreciate your compassion and empathy for what women go through and feel on a near daily basis. So, because as a young woman (around your age), I often get asked, “when are you gonna settle down/get married??” (despite being fully independent with a career) — have you thought about, or is settling down with someone/having a partner something you want one day? And, how do you think this journey living independently has changed or affected what you want in life? Thanks for your vulnerability and thoughts in advance :)

Theworldwalk32 karma

That was definitely a growing up experience. It was the sort of thought that as I was having it I was amazed I hadn't had it before.

I've definitely put a lot of thought into settling down. I would love a family. The odd thing about what I'm doing though is that I'm almost not permitted to grow a strong relationship with anyone. I meet a lot of people in passing, but I'm always on the move, and will be for the foreseeable future. For now thoughts of settling down and who to settle down with are far removed. They're something I'll consider more as the walk nears its end.

Living independently has made me more independent. I've developed into good company for myself so I don't find much of a need to find satisfaction in others. If someone is pleasant to be around and makes for interesting conversation then I probably want them in my life, otherwise I'm just fine on my own.

Short-System26 karma

have you felt your friends prescence along the way, and/or have seen signs of her letting you know that she is with you?

Im sorry for your loss, but grateful it has led you to where + who you are now

kisses to Savannah

Theworldwalk51 karma

I'm constantly thinking about how fortunate I am to have known her, but the most poignant thoughts of her were resolved earlier in the walk. The most lasting impression I have of Anne Marie is the odd sort of feeling that her death struck me with a piece of shrapnel. It's as though her death gave me a bit of extra life.

ResistMuch25 karma

Hey Tom (and Savannah)! Y'all are a big inspiration to me, even if it's been quite some time since I've done much traveling. I have a couple questions, or rather categories of questions:

  1. I'm a photographer, so watching your photography evolve has been immensely motivating for me. I've had the idea in my head for a while now that I'd like to take photos of the world (or at least some of it) as seen on foot, similar to what you've done. How do you handle your workflow while on the move, especially in rural or less developed areas? Are you going through a particular publishing company for your upcoming photo book (which is looking great by the way)? And lastly, do you foresee yourself continuing on with photography in the future? OH and can you explain your rationale for choosing your kit (camera, lens, etc) and any photographers who have inspired you?

  2. I'm about to turn 26, and am significantly behind you in terms of savings, planning, gear, etc., when you started this at the same age. Can you imagine having done any portion of your journey for less money than you have (I recall you saying it costs you roughly $12,000 a year), or having started later than you did? I try to live a relatively unconstrained life, but it seems harder and harder to imagine undertaking a journey like yours as I get more invested in certain people and places. I'd like to think I could just make the leap but when I think about how you spent years preparing for this, I feel a little hesitant.

Thanks so much for doing this, and good luck with the lockdown! Give Savannah a pat on the head for me!

Theworldwalk28 karma

Hey ResistMuch!

Part one: My photography workflow out here is balanced on a fine line. I carry a laptop which is getting old and increasingly losing battery capacity. When it gets cold it simply turns off. But when my laptop is working (which really is most of the time), I edit my photos using Lightroom in my tent at the end of the day. I try to fly through my edits to save battery life. Usually I can get four nights of editing on a full charge. When I stop for lunch I'll try to charge the laptop. If the laptop is dead, I'll search for a place to charge it obsessively. But sometimes even this isn't possible. If that's the case I take all my photos on my phone - make it work whichever way needed.

I'm self-publishing this photobook though have had publishers reach out to me about doing a larger book once all this is said and done!

Most likely I'll continue with photography simply because it's a skill I've developed. But oddly enough it's not something I have a great passion for. I think it could be a wonderful profession, I love that it gets me interacting with new people and that it could potentially keep me traveling after the walk. But photography itself doesn't necessarily do it for me. My photography improved because I want to share the places I'm passing through. But in a way it photography feels too easy. Ideally, I think I'd be a writer. It seems a much greater challenge, I like that about it. Writing a great novel seems much more of an accomplishment than taking a great photograph.

And as far as kit, I replaced my old one when it had nearly died! Then I jumped on the mirrorless bandwagon because they're light and portable!

Part two: I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed the first two years. I think it was just pure determination. I almost never got hotels. I was walking twenty-five miles every day no matter the weather. I spent three months walking Mexico and stayed in a hotel for a single week. So I think if you're determined enough you could do it on a few dollars a day. But I totally agree with you, as I get older that single-mindedness feels further and further removed.

But as for you, I'd go for it! It's amazing what we can adapt to.

trainsacrossthesea20 karma

Have you tried to maintain a routine? Or, does the length of day, terrain, or logistics determine your schedule? Your story makes me happy and I wish you and Savannah many more safe travels.

Theworldwalk20 karma

Thanks for the well wishes!

I try to maintain a routine as much as that is possible, but of course a myriad of external forces always interrupt that. One thing that is constant when walking is I'll always wake up early. From there, the day sometimes takes over. Some days I'm simply sore. Other times a day is hotter than expected so Sav and I find a place to siesta. Maybe a piece of my cart breaks and needs repair.

So it's a sort of constant battle to maintain normalcy.

Strayed9517 karma

Hello Tom! First of all I want to say that you're a true inspiration.

So, I've been traveling for the past 2 years in Europe, flying around, working at a place for a few months and then moving to another country. I really like it so far but I feel like I'm playing the game a bit safer that I would like it to be. I'll be straightforward, I have 2000 euros in my pocket, do you think that with these money and the whole mindset of working at one place for an X period of time to save up for the next destination, will get me somewhere? My plan isn't to travel everywhere, but to travel and connect with people, so it's not like I have to worry about the time that I'm staying in one place.

Thank you!

Theworldwalk16 karma

Hey Strayed95!

That sounds like a great life! I don't see why it wouldn't get you somewhere. If you want to meet people and move locations every once in a while that's totally attainable. There are jobs everywhere, especially for someone who speaks English. Work, live, save, then move on. Seems very doable to me.

linkelle17 karma

How is Savannah handling lockdown?

Theworldwalk47 karma

She wants to get walking so badly but she's being a total lady about it. I know she's ready to go for eight hours at a moment notice, but she never whines. We get out for two decent walks a day. That seems to be staving things off.

shesagoatgirl17 karma

May be a silly question, but why doggles for Savannah?

Theworldwalk32 karma

Two primary uses:

1) Gnats!

2) When the wind is roaring and the sand is flying!

NinjaMostaPie16 karma

How was the ayahuasca experiance?

Theworldwalk41 karma

You know that period when you're laying in bed nearly asleep but not quite there yet? Ayahuasca is like that for three hours. You're totally yourself but your thoughts are hyper-visualized.

The next day was almost more amazing though. It felt like ayahuasca had momentarily loosened the strict neural pathways I'd built up. For a few hours I could see more possibilities, as though I had a wider field of view. It was like I was fifteen again.

how_do_you_reddit16 karma

Tom, as the owner of probably the most well traveled Eagles hat, what are your thoughts on the Eagles draft picks thus far?

Theworldwalk15 karma

Haha almost definitely!

Man, that second rounder just saps the logic and upside from all the other picks. But we've made the playoffs three years in the a row so I'll keep the faith in the FO. Glad we got some speed. If nothing else the offense should be more aesthetically pleasing next year.

geo_duck_HI15 karma

Do you pick up Savannah's poop when you are in populated areas?

Theworldwalk16 karma

Yup

GoneInSixtyFrames14 karma

Have you been accused of being a spy yet?

Theworldwalk31 karma

They didn't outright accuse me, but I did have a twenty-four hour police escort through Algeria...

Dr_TattyWaffles13 karma

From my own travels I know many countries have stray dogs which can be quite dangerous. North Africa and the middle East especially. Did Savannah have any issues with the locals?

Theworldwalk14 karma

Oh yes, The Americas were brutal. I've gotten very adept at detecting and deterring territorial strays. The Americas were the worst of it though, it's been much more manageable since then.

DirtyPrancing6513 karma

Was it hard walking across the Atlantic ocean when you decided to go to Europe?

I mean, even Jesus must get tired, ya?

Theworldwalk22 karma

Brutal, no town for miles.

thequirkyquark12 karma

I read Walk Across America some years back and that seemed extraordinary, but I've never heard of anyone attempting the whole world. I hope you finish it! I wonder two things, one is how often you have had to explain to people what you're doing? I imagine you've told that story so many times that it's fairly well honed by now. Secondly, do you study each language before travelling into that country, or just hope you run into some English speakers if you need help?

Theworldwalk18 karma

1) Constantly haha

2) I learned Spanish as I walked The Americas. In Europe English was enough. Through North Africa I got by with English/Spanish and a little French. Now Russia is the base language so I'm learning a little of that. I only need to learn a bit for it to be functional. There's almost always someone who speaks a little English. And if there's internet I can use Google Translate.

FrostyShow10 karma

Do you hear much music? Where is your favorite?

Theworldwalk37 karma

Before walking I listened to a lot of electronic music. Now it's lots of folk, old-country and soul - those song generally seem to fit the mood better nowadays.

Iguessimonredditnow10 karma

How did the travel in Antarctica go? I imagine much was by boat. Who did you meet with there?

Theworldwalk26 karma

Amazing! Yes, it was essentially all by boat. I didn't trek to the south pole, that would be a whole other trip in and of itself. I was basically a tourist. Got in a kayak a few times, walked around on some beaches, said hello to the penguins and seals and jumped in the water.

What made the trip really special though is that due to how extreme it is it turns away a lot of less traveled people. That means the boat is packed with interesting, worldly people. Made for great conversation!

life_pass9 karma

Interesting. Did you walk over the Bering Strait and through Russia? Did the officials give any difficulty?

Theworldwalk9 karma

I haven't crossed that, but Karl Bushby has! He's the baddest 'world walker' out there.

W_1oo1019 karma

What skills should one acquire before embarking in a journey like yours? How did you prepare?

Theworldwalk27 karma

Honestly, I barely prepared at all. I went for a few multi-day hikes and I've always been athletic so I had that as a baseline. But the brunt of what I'm doing was learned on the fly. I'd say the best thing to do would be to start walking in your own country. Walk two days to a town 70km away. That way, while you're in familiar surroundings you can learn to find places to sleep, how much food to bring, how much water to carry, how to take care of your body, etc.

chickenhugsforu9 karma

Hi Tom - Sav is adorable and I’m amazed by both your attitude and commitment. It’s truly spectacular! One thing I wondered about is relationships. I assume that living a constantly on-the-move, essentially nomadic lifestyle doesn’t exactly allow for dating. Or does it?

Theworldwalk11 karma

Unfortunately, you're correct on that point. This is certainly not a lifestyle conducive to romantic relationships. I've learned to bury that part of me for the time being.

moxie20909 karma

What online/offline resources do you suggest to someone who is interested in doing a similar walking journey?

Theworldwalk15 karma

Before beginning had this incredible book on everything you could possibly need to know for walking long distances. It covered gear, stretching, catching food. But I can't remember the name! It was something like 'The Ultimate Guide to Walking; Fourth Edition.' I know this doesn't help but maybe someone else knows what I'm talking about. It was a tome of a book. White with red text on the cover.

sarahcochran9 karma

Do you do anything while walking (podcasts/audio books/music/prayer etc) or do you typically just walk and mind-wander?

Theworldwalk22 karma

Podcast and audiobooks all day! Love them.

moxie20908 karma

How do you plan where you are going? Day by day and overall?

And how do you figure out where to stay/ Do you and Savanah always sleep in a tent?

Theworldwalk18 karma

Overall I planned my route on two things; I wanted to hit every continent and I wanted to require as few visas as possible.

Day to day is something I've honed through lots of trial and error. Roads end up making the most sense over long distances. I rely a lot on Google Maps and Maps.me. And thankfully gps works everywhere. It's a matter of finding the most peaceful, smallest road possible that takes me in the direction I want to go.

Finding a place to sleep is very much the same as figuring out where to go - trial and error. I try to find places tucked away where we won't be seen, but the ease of finding those places changes a lot depending on the country. People have different habits and there's different population densities. So a lot of finding a place to sleep is feeling out a country and knowing what I can get away with. Sometimes I really need to hide away, in other countries I know I can simply set camp in a field and no one will stumble upon me.

We don't always sleep in the tent. In desert I sleep on the tarp since there's no bugs and no chance of rain (that's the best sleeping). Savannah likes to sleep outside the tent, though if it's raining or too windy she'll come inside.

pure_vengeance8 karma

What would you say is the stupidest thing you've done during your journey so far?

Theworldwalk19 karma

Walked three days into Mexico without a visa stamp. It was my first foreign country and no one checked me when I crossed the border. I didn't find out for 100km that American citizens can enter visa free for a short distance. Had to go back to get the stamp haha

PirateBarHooker8 karma

Hi dude, I'd nearly forgotten about you, was following you on facebook from the beginning. I've had to delete facebook so haven't been keeping tabs. My question to you is, have you managed to red the incredible voyage by Tristan Jones yet? Glad you're keeping well. Safe travels!

Theworldwalk9 karma

I haven't! I'll put it on the list though!

bml32448 karma

What is the most unexpected benefit you’ve found during your journey that you didn’t originally set out looking for?

Love seeing your pics on Instagram and following along!

Theworldwalk27 karma

Peace of mind. I'm so much more assured of my place in the world. I've had so many strange interactions, seen myself reflected in so many different situations, that I think I've gained an understanding of who I am faster than most.

Empathy. Experiencing so many different cultures has gone a long way. I know I owe a tremendous amount of who I am to the situation I was born into. People are the same everywhere, but situations vary immensely. I could have just as easily been born in a windswept village in the Peruvian desert. I have no illusions that I would not be walking around the world if that were the case (if only because of such a simple thing as passport strength)

RY020168 karma

Hey Tom! Love your page, been following for awhile. I’m actually from a couple towns over from you in NJ originally. I’ve already seen you do a couple of these, so I’ll keep my questions to recent events. Firstly, how does the quarantine seem to be effecting Savannah? I’m sure she misses her long walks. And second, what are your thoughts on the Eagles draft? Keep your spirits up! Baku seems beautiful btw, I probably never would have known it existed if not for your page, so thanks very much for expanding my world view 🙌

Theworldwalk7 karma

No way! Cheers!

Sav is very well behaved indoors, but I know she'd love to have a yard to be running around in at least. When we get back to it she'll be a happy pup.

Oof. The second round is clouding my judgement on it as a whole right now. I'm glad we have some speed, but it finally started to feel like Wentz's team and then they go and get a 2nd round QB? I don't get it.

And totally agree! Baku has made for a lovely stay. Very unexpected for me as well!

simsso8 karma

I assume you meet a number of people on the way, some of which you might feel a closer bond with. How do you keep in touch? Do you make "real" friends on your journey? How about dating?

Theworldwalk23 karma

Whatsapp is the go-to as far as staying in touch.

I have undoubtably made some 'real' friends. I meet a lot of people, but there are some you meet who you just have more of a connection with. And somehow because I'm passing through and that's understood, it's easier to maintain a connection.

Dating is tough/non-existent. I have to be in one place for a while to make any sort of romantic connection. It does happen, but then I'm gone and I still have two more years of walking so it's tough.

soapbowl7 karma

Would you still keep doing this if you couldn’t share it with the world? How much joy comes from doing the walk, and how much from sharing it with people?

Stay safe!

Theworldwalk17 karma

I would be doing this hell or high water! My natural inclination is to lean away from social media anyway, but I've learned there's something nice about having an audience that inherently pressures me to take photographs. I wouldn't be taking photos otherwise and I love looking back and recalling the stories behind each of them.

browlowski7 karma

Wow, this is absolutely amazing. Any plans on coming to India after this madness is over?

Theworldwalk21 karma

I actually got to India this winter to put a photography book together. What a place! Absolute whirlwind and crush of cultures. I don't think I've ever learned more from a place. I'll certainly be back.

RarelyAquatic7 karma

Would you ever make recap videos? Like highlight reels.

Theworldwalk13 karma

I don't think I'd ever make one, but I'd love to unload all my footage and have someone else put one together!

slinky_o7 karma

Hello Tom, a couple years ago I did a thru-hike of the PCT and when I finished it seemed to me the journey wasn't long enough, that is when I started following you. I have a few questions regarding your finances if you don't mind:

What are your various income sources that you set up while walking? How do you currently maintain these sources? Do you have sponsers and if so how did you go about approaching them?

How much money would you recommend someone budget per year as a minimum to do something like you are doing?

What platforms do you use for media purposes and how do you go about building an audience?

You really do inspire me everyday and I appreciate your help with these questions, Thank you!!

Theworldwalk7 karma

Hey slinky!

Congrats! That's an incredible feat! I'd love to hike the PCT one day. And I'm already dreading this walk ending!

As for income sources, Patreon, a sponsorship through Philadelphia Sign, and the occasional photography job. Patreon is by far the largest. I send out postcards and give high resolution images to supporters. With Philadelphia Sign I was very fortunate, they essentially found me after an article was written on my plans.

I did The Americas on roughly 12k a year and no doubt it could be done on less, especially if you don't have a dog.

I don't think directly about building an audience. I just try to take good photos and tell compelling stories. Fortunately, this walk is long enough that I've had a decent amount of exposure from simply being out here for a while. But my growth has been very, very gradual. So if you're looking to build an audience rapidly I wouldn't look to me for advice. Though I do think if you have an interesting enough story people will find you.

samzplourde7 karma

Have you read Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford? If not you would absolutely love it.

Theworldwalk5 karma

I'll check it out!

ITS_MR_JIGGLES7 karma

What's the best place you have spent your night at during this journey?

Theworldwalk12 karma

There have been so many memorable campsites. I've slept next to a castle in Italy, under a million stars in Chile, in a tiny church in the Argentinian Andes, in mescal distillery in Mexico, a high-altitude hotel in Guatemala...lots of great memories.

LatrellSprewell887 karma

Why did you need a police escort ?

Theworldwalk9 karma

Algeria is a very closed off country. It's difficult to get a visa for and they don't permit a great deal of tourists. Beyond that there's strong culture of hospitality, this is true of all Muslim countries, but especially true of Algeria. There's an expectation upon entering Algeria that someone will host you and in hosting you they take responsibility for your safety. However, since I was walking across alone I became the responsibility of every municipality I passed through.

barleyqueen6 karma

What do you plan to do with your life when this is over? Seems like it would be extremely challenging to go back to an office after this experience.

Theworldwalk9 karma

I think I've developed enough as a photographer that hopefully I can find some work in that field that keeps me outside. Maybe I'll have enough interest in the walk by the end that I'll be able to publish a book on it too - that would keep me occupied. I'll definitely do everything in my power to stay out of an office. I have so much freedom out here, I have no doubt it will be a challenge adjusting to life back home.

duhast45 karma

As an American, presumably accessing health care via the NHS in England, has this had any impact on your view of the US health care system, socialised medicine in general or changed/re-enforced any ideas you may have had in the first place?

Theworldwalk14 karma

The American system is a shame, that idea has definitely been reinforced. This is a very small anecdote, not directly related to universal coverage, but I have to buy levothyroxine often. It's a generic that's been around for decades. In the US a month supply costs me about $15. Everywhere else it costs $3 at most.

Bear-Zerker5 karma

How do you keep the dog’s pads healthy?

Theworldwalk13 karma

I have booties I can put on her if the road gets too hot, but she grew up on the road and her pads are like stones. It blows my mind how tough they are actually. Through all the walking we've done the only time she injured her paws was when a spear-like seed poked it's way between her knuckles in Spain.

Soft_Impression4 karma

Hi there, I love your story. I have been traveling long term on a bike before, so I kind of have a feeling how cool this adventure must be for you. I love nature trails and paths off the road but in some countries, the only option is to go alongside big roads with (sometimes) lots of traffic. Especially going into the city can be difficult and dangerous, when the infrastructure and the drivers are not accustomed to bikers.I wanted to ask whats your experience with navigation? Do you use paper maps or digital? Did you have to walk alongside big roads with much traffic often? Or do you just venture offroad if you see some nice trail on the map? Did you ever take the wrong turn, having to walk back the same way for hours?

Thanks for the AMA!

Theworldwalk5 karma

Hey!

You know the struggle. As I'm sure you know there's a balance. I try to keep to the smallest roads possible, but sometimes there's no option other than the large road with lots of traffic.

To navigate I stick to Google Maps and Maps.me.

I've lots my way many times. Usually it's from taking the wrong fork in the road or just daydreaming. I've lost a few hours here and there, but nothing too dire!

Life-Is-Cheap4 karma

What was your favorite country in Europe?

Theworldwalk8 karma

That's a tough one, I could see myself living in Denmark, France or Italy easily.

teadorable3 karma

On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you to come back to Revolution?

Theworldwalk4 karma

I have good friends in Georgia, maybe I'll hang around the Caucasus a few more years...

milkandgin2 karma

Do you use edible and/or medicinal weeds you find walking? Cool journey, friend!

Theworldwalk2 karma

Weed stopped doing it for me years ago. I get way to in my own head and stop enjoying things. And thanks, bud!