As the title states, in about three months, I will become the tenth person to have walked around the world and my dog will become the first dog to have done so.

Seven years ago I left my home in New Jersey to embark on a twenty-five thousand mile, seven continent, walk around the world (which didn’t go entirely to plan due to covid). After four months of walking, I adopted a dog, Savannah, and together we've covered 22,500 miles across thirty-five countries.

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. 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 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 is and impressed on me the need to make the most of the short time I have. 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 knifepoint in Panama, did ayahuasca in the Amazon, and climbed 15,000 feet over the Chilean Andes. They were incredibly clarifying years. The endless hours of walking allowed me to reach a profound acceptance of my life, my choices, and my idiosyncrasies.

During the three years after 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 Azerbaijan. 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 which crosses from Europe to Asia). These years nurtured in me an appreciation for how history, geography, and circumstance affect everything from culture to the economy in different countries. People are the same everywhere. It's the greater and often uncontrollable forces that affect their and their country’s fate.

Since getting caught in a covid lockdown in Azerbaijan two years ago, the walking has become immensely more challenging. My planned route from Kazakhstan to Mongolia, then walking the coast of Australia, became impossible due to border closures. I made due by walking more of Turkey while waiting for the world to reopen, then walking Uzbekistan and the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. But by the time I finished walking Kyrgyzstan, much of the world remained closed, so Savannah and I flew to Seattle and began the last leg of our journey; a three thousand mile walk back home to New Jersey. Strangely enough, this walk across my home country has proved the most difficult section of the journey. With the end in sight, I feel like it's taking every ounce of effort I have just to finish this thing.

When this is all over I plan to write a memoir and a children's book, but The World Walk has been my life for so long that I'm certain my transition back to normal life won't be easy.

Currently, Sav and I are posted up in Kansas waiting out a winter storm so I thought this would be the perfect moment for an AMA.

This infographic on my site provides a great visualization of most of our walk. And this video from Sunrise Australia provides the best summation of our journey. Also, there's this great article AFAR wrote on me and Savannah. If you'd like to follow along I do my best to post photos, film short videos, and write the occasional blog post.






Comments: 1456 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

andrei_grim71376 karma

Do you worry at all about Savannah having to adapt to the more stationary lifestyle since she has basically been on one long walk her whole life?

Theworldwalk1917 karma

I know she's highly adaptable, but I'm still worried about the adjustment. We're walking six to eight hours a day now and she still has energy when we set camp. I'll be going on some long walks when I'm done just for her sake.

But also, she's seven now and I think it's probably good that we're going to slow down. Seven is a good time for a dog to retire to a life of leisure.

mysterychallenger878 karma

How many pairs of shoes/boots did you go through? And how did you take care of your body after walking for so long each day? Obviously, traveling on foot around the entire earth must do a number to a guy

Theworldwalk1067 karma

I've probably gone through about forty-five pairs of shoes, but I stopped counting a long while back. At the end of each day, I do as much stretching as the weather permits. Sometimes it's just a little hamstring stretch in the tent, but the more I can do the better. I definitely feel the effects of a long day more if I don't stretch. Overall though, my body feels good! No lingering injuries or aches!

Whorax123760 karma

What country was the most challenging to walk through?

Are you now well versed in international bureaucracy and paperwork? How did you handle all of that with language barriers?

Did you find love on the road at all?

Theworldwalk1669 karma

Algeria was the most challenging not because of the terrain or the weather, but because I had a police escort with me 24/7. At first, it was nice to feel protected and have local guides whenever I hit a town, but after about two weeks it started driving me mad. I was used to lots of solitude, and now I was being fretted over every time I paused to make sure I was okay. All the officers were immensely friendly, but simply having eyes on me all the time wore on me. And towards the end of Algeria, because the police wouldn't let me camp, there were about five straight days I had to walk from sunup to sundown in order to reach a hotel.

Temperature-wise, Costa Rica was the most challenging country. It was so hot and humid that in order to get any sort of mileage in I began waking at 4am, then stopping at 10am because it was too hot to walk after that. At one point, the soles of cheap sneakers I bought there literally melted off. Not fun. I was sweating day and night.

And yeah, I'd say I'm pretty deft at managing least when it comes to wrangling visas and sorting out Savannah's paperwork.

I did! Right at the end. Met a girl in Washington state, we've been dating since.

Lewisham389 karma

What happened to make the Algerian police escort you? That can't have been cheap for them. Did you ask them or what?

musickismagick756 karma

How did you pay for the travel?

Theworldwalk1223 karma

I worked summers through college, worked after college (sometimes two jobs), lived at home to save, paid off most of my loans then readied myself to leave when I thought I had enough to make it the two years down to Argentina. Before leaving, however, Philadelphia Sign, a hometown company, the owner of which knew my friend who passed, offered to sponsor me and donate a dollar a mile into her scholarship fund. They give me a bit of money every two weeks. That enabled me to throw the rest of my savings at my loans and pay them off. Through Central and South America I basically only paid for food and the very infrequent motel. When I reached Europe, I started a Patreon to get me through the higher cost of living. Now I'll also do the occasional photography job as well.

damelosfrijoles475 karma

Other than getting sick, what were the physical effects of this journey on your body?

Theworldwalk1134 karma

Other than that infection, I'd say all of them have been positive. The main thing is probably just the general physical stamina I've developed. I've had friends and family visit, most of who are fairly physically active, but when we go for a hike or spend all day walking around a city, I'm never remotely tired before they are. But who knows how much that would translate to running or swimming...

Separately, the walk has given me a profound appreciation for my body. I've seen where it's capable of taking me, so keeping myself in shape one way or another will be something I'll do for the rest of my life. One of the best feelings I've consistently had is exhaustion. It helps me appreciate the smallest things...water and a bowl of pasta become a Michelin star meal, a tent becomes a mansion, and laying down on an air mattress may as well be paradise.

justz00t435 karma

How difficult is it to walk across the ocean?

Theworldwalk733 karma

Only accessible to God-mode players, unfortunately...

MPaW380 karma

How did you keep enough dog food? I’ve been wanting to backpack with my dog who LOVES to hike but am not too sure what the most efficient way to carry dog food!

Theworldwalk620 karma

Oh yeah...that's a tough one with a backpack! I push a big baby carriage which makes more sense than a backpack for the very extended walking I'm doing. That has enabled me to pick up six pounds of dog food and load up on water before crossing stretches of the desert (or Wyoming! yeesh).

In your case I can only say bring some high-protein dog food. I find Savannah eats a lot less of that than the less-filling cheap stuff.

The_WacoKid120 karma

Which food are you using (if there is one consistent brand?) Very curious on this one.

Theworldwalk193 karma

It's all over the place, depends on what's available. But I'll usually grab whatever is grain-free.

Paradise7D290 karma

Did you ever have any problems with water or electricity?

Were other dogs sometimes a problem for sweet little Savannah?

Did you always have internet? Took it all day to upload videos or did it go quickly?

Did you cross the super dangerous Darién Gap by foot or did you avoid this particular area?

Have you experienced anything spooky or paranormal along the way?

I'd want to ask you a million questions!!! But I'll better leave it at those five. :D

Theworldwalk451 karma

I've definitely been in some tight spots when it comes to water. There are a few instances that come to mind. One of them was in northern Perú where the desert and the lack of infrastructure caught me off guard. I had just descended from the mountains of Ecuador where water and public infrastructure were plentiful so I was accustomed to easy access to water. It was one of the starkest transitions between countries and I had no time to adjust. I had to ask a few locals for some large bottles of water to get me through.

In Central and South America especially Sav and I had frequent run-ins with territorial strays. There were times I'd be stressed out for hours because dog after dog would charge out of their home at us. I've become very adept at fending them off. Most strays just bark until you get out of their territory. There were only two instances that come to mind when I was genuinely worried that a dog would rip my leg off or kill Sav if it had the chance.

I don't always have internet, but whatever country I'm in I'll buy a local sim card. Uzbekistan had very sparse internet, as did stretches of desert in Perú and Chile, and there was no internet in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. In those cases I just enjoy being disconnected and post whenever I get back into reception.

Didn't cross the Darien Gap! But Karl Bushby did! He's a bad dude.

Lots of spooky moments at night when your sense are playing tricks on you!

Azrael35180 karma

What were some of the best things and worst things that you ate during your travels?

And was traveler’s diarrhea ever an issue?

Theworldwalk166 karma

One of the great things I've found from walking is that when I pop into a random restaurant, I never know how it might be. Sometimes it's mediocre (rarely it's bad), but occasionally I'll be in a middle-of-nowhere restaurant and be cooked up an incredible meal. I've had great meals all over the place, but a particularly bad meal that stands out was from a chicken cart in Guatemala. I bought fried chicken and fries from them, took a few bites of the chicken, and discovered two staples in it. From then on I was far more circumspect about my street vendor purchases.

And yeah, Montezuma caught me deep in was a rough week.

Devleugels283 karma

I followed your journey on Facebook, read all your updates, you and savannah are an inspiration to many. I enjoyed all the beautifull pictures and such. As a question, what are you gonna do now? Dont see u doing a 9 to 5 job 😁

Theworldwalk278 karma

Thanks for following! It's a question I'm asking myself and something I'll need to figure out over the next few years. When I stop I'll definitely be writing a memoir if for no other reason than to process everything I've gone through.

ittozziloP247 karma

Imagine walking the entire planet just to end up back in Jersey?! Jk I’m from Bergen county, what part of jersey are u from??

Theworldwalk138 karma

Haha I love Jersey! I'm from Camden County.

Slothnazi209 karma

Can you explain the police escort in Algeria more?

Theworldwalk828 karma


Following a coup, an extremely violent civil war engulfed Algeria from '91 to '02. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, many of them civilians. In '99, Bouteflika was elected with the promise of bringing peace to the country. An amnesty law was introduced and many people gave up their arms. Since then, security has remained a priority. And Bouteflika remained in office until only a few years ago.

Algeria is also a petrostate. It's a fairly closed country and has close trade relations with few countries and only permits visa-free entry to the citizens of a handful of countries (five, I believe).

For a US citizen to enter, they need a letter of invitation from an Algerian stating they take responsibility for US citizen's safety. My ex-boss's mother did that for me. But after I entered, and I told the police my intentions, they thought it best that my safety become the responsibility of each township I pass through.

So about three times a day, a new set of officers would accompany me.

Today, Algeria is a very safe country. Whether that's because of the sprawling police presence, I can't say. Worked for me though.

ItsTheNinja200 karma

Hi Tom! Thank you for doing this AMA. I’ve been following you for years and you’ve inspired me to travel more so thank you for what you do. My question is what will be your plans once you are done with your walk? Will you settle down permanently or do you plan to do shorter trips?

Theworldwalk213 karma

Hey! Thanks for the question.

The plan right now is to take at least a year to settle in somewhere, not travel and work on a memoir and children's book. I'm sure I'll continue traveling in the future, certainly some hikes, but I doubt I'll be walking across any more countries. It's so demanding on the mind and body. I'm really looking forward to not living out of a baby carriage and actually having friends around for a bit!

blasphemique150 karma

how much time and money went into planning out and preparing yourself before the adventure?

Theworldwalk244 karma

There wasn't much money put into planning the walk. Mostly it was a lot of reading, the occasional two or three-day hike, and a conversation with Karl Bushby which help tremendously.

On a large scale, there were a only few criteria that went into planning my trip.

I knew I wanted to hit every continent and I wanted to do that with as little stoppage due to visas as possible. I researched visa requirements for American citizens then drew a rough route.

Then I created my timeline by figuring I would average fifteen miles a day. That allowed me to walk through some fairly mild weather, avoid a North African summer and reach Uruguay by the end of their summer to catch a boat to Antarctica.

On a day-to-day basis, it took me a while to figure out what roads were best to walk. In the beginning, I walked these winding PA roads that nearly killed me. I learned to prioritize farm roads or those with a shoulder. For the Americas, I basically followed the PanAmerican Highway and Europe has an amazing network of bike routes. I wouldn't say my route planning is day-to-day, but maybe week-to-week.

ooru134 karma

How much has this trip cost you (whether from your own pockets or from donations)?

Theworldwalk373 karma

The first two years about twelve thousand dollars a year (maybe less), plus intercontinental flights. The remaining years, probably thirty thousand dollars a year.

Through Central and South America I was young and on fire. I would have done just about anything to make this walk happen. The first year I walked from NJ to Panama City and slept in a bed I paid for maybe three weeks total (two of those weeks were in a hostel on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala so I could study Spanish).

In Europe, money was very tight. My Patreon was a supplement to my sponsorship but I only paid for food, the occasional hotel, ferries to and from Africa, and Savannah's paperwork for crossing borders. I was stuck in San Sebastian, Spain waiting for a visa extension and was only able to stay in the city because the guy who rented a room of his Airbnb to me for a bit told me he'd let me stay for free.

From Turkey on it's been cheap again, the cost of living is low in Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. My main expenses have been flights because covid stopped land border crossings in those countries.

It's a cheap life! I'm basically only paying for food and the occasional hotel and rare flight.

swampmilkweed41 karma

Logistically, how did you access your money to pay for stuff in more remote countries? I assume your bank is in the US? Did you use a debit card or credit card? Did you go to local banks and withdraw cash?

Theworldwalk86 karma

In most countries it was as simple as bringing along a debit card. Ally Bank allowed me to use ATMs without a fee. Algeria was the only country where I had trouble withdrawing money. There were only three or so ATMs in the country that accepted Mastercard. I had to withdraw huge amounts of cash. Even still, at one point I ran out and a friend of a friend called another friend to drive out to me a give me some cash.

Egeozel108 karma

I started following you when you were crossing the Bosphorous Bridge. You were on almost every news channel that night. Your experience made me realize how fleeting the time is, really. For the question, do you have any fun memories while you were in Turkey?

Thanks for the AMA, I wish the best of luck for the rest of your journey!

Theworldwalk134 karma

That was such an incredible experience! One of the highlights of the entire trip. I still can't believe I was granted permission.

Turkey is easily one of my favorite countries, the entire country is fantastic. I have so many good memories there - crossing the Bosphorous, eating at the local cafeterias, talking to the shepherds with their massive kangals. But when I arrived in Trabzon I was given a royal treatment so that in particular stands out for me. A local caravanserai turned woman's art center gave me a tour and classes in some traditional Turkish art forms. They also gave me a silver bracelet which I cherish. Then I was taken to the Soumela Monastery - wild place.

Jakey279598 karma

Did you do any kind of training prior to starting the walk? Or did you gradually work up to the mileage you're able to do now?

Theworldwalk153 karma

I've always been an athlete. I played lots of sports growing up and tennis in college, but as for specific long-distance walk training, I actually didn't do much. I went for a few two and three-day hikes and worked out on the Stairmaster after work. But really, I just adjusted after I began.

It was tough too. It took about a month for me to build up to consistent twenty-mile days. Before that, I was constantly cramping and my calves, knees, and ankles ached viciously. Trial by fire, I suppose. Starting in my own country was definitely the right move, if only just to strengthen my body.

Responsible-Ad-780974 karma

Now that Australia has (recently) reopened its borders are you considering extending your walk?

Theworldwalk206 karma

I'm not sure honestly. I would consider doing it myself, but if I did I don't think I'd bring Savannah with me. The flight is maybe a day long and there's a mandatory ten-day quarantine for her. She doesn't care about walking Australia, so all that seems like too much unnecessary unpleasantness to put her through.

murgurdurth70 karma

Did you ever need to seek veterinary care for Sav when on the road? If so, what was the situation and how did it go?

Theworldwalk298 karma

Only twice. Once was in Spain when a seed somehow wedged itself between her knuckles (it ended up coming out on it's own in a few days).

The other time was far more harrowing. We were in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, hiding from the sun against a lane barrier when Savannah sneezed and her nose began pouring out blood as thin as water. I was able to wave down a car that took use to a town about forty minutes down the road. Then I cleaned her up enough to get us a hotel room for the night. She bled through the night. I bought a sedative from the local pharmacy, but there was no veterinary clinic there. She was losing so much blood she almost looked pale. The next day I convinced a cabbie to drive us four hours to Arica, a city on the northern coast.

The vet knew what she had immediately. Apparently, there's a tick in southern Perú that will pass on an infection that causes a dog's platelets to drop to zero. With some medication, Sav was back to normal in a week or two. But it was one of the more terrifying ordeals of my life.

You can read about it on my blog here:

Edibleghost69 karma

Did you find a specific strategy for quickly bridging the language/culture barrier across such a wide variety of places?

What's your favorite pair of shoes?

Theworldwalk198 karma

I do a lot of smiling and laughing, specifically when I don't speak the local language. When I was in North Africa, I also picked up the very useful gesture of putting a hand to my heart. That goes a long way as a show of gratitude.

Also, English is widespread. Not always conversational English, but a surprising amount of people around the world know at least a few words. That has helped me a lot.

Favorite pair of shoes are the Brooks Cascadia by a mile.

11-11001162 karma

How did you deal, or adapt to, the loneliness at times?

I’ve been following you for years and as a fellow new jersian, I’m just in awe at everything you’ve done.

Theworldwalk211 karma

Thanks! Glad to have had you along.

Hmm...that's a good question. The first two years I don't think I felt much loneliness at all. Every day was a wave of new challenges, and I was so on fire with the idea that I was actually living my dream that I didn't give thought to anything else.

But loneliness grew at a few points during the walk. After the bacteria infection was one. I had been in physical pain for so long, that when I started back up again I found my usual upbeat thoughts had a dark bend to them. I kept thinking, 'What am I doing out here?' The days felt pointless. It wasn't until I joined the Camino in Spain that I got out of that darkness. On the Camino, I had a community in a way I never had before. I had people to eat breakfast with, to talk with while walking, and to expound on the beauty of simple living. That was enough to pull me out of my funk and get me back to enjoying the act of living free.

Recently, a different sort of loneliness has found me. It's not as painful as the other, it's more an eagerness to spend time with my friends and family again. With the end so near I can't help but think of the time I'll get to spend with all the people I've been away from for so long. I look back and see just how much emotional weight I've been carrying. I'm ready to set the walk aside, to set the solitude aside, and enjoy being part of a community again. I'm eager for simple things; sitting with a friend or sharing dinner with my grandparents. It amounts to a broader loneliness, one tinged with love and not bitterness.

chatendormi60 karma

What has been the hardest good to find on the road ?

Theworldwalk123 karma

A good sleeping bag. Not that I'm looking for them frequently, but I was in Algeria when I realized my first sleeping bag was shot (after three years of use). And it took me until Istanbul to encounter a decent enough hiking store with three-season gear to get another decent bag. I bought a summer bag in Florence, Italy, but that may as well have just been a blanket.

Otherwise, any sort of replacement piece I might need for my cart. I learned about two years in, when my first cart was breaking down, that I needed to bring lots of spare parts with me (for my tent as well). They're not the sort of thing I hopefully ever need to use, so sometimes the weight feels frivolous to carry, but when I need them, I need them. And there's no substitute.

Foodwise, I'd say protein. Maybe that's not entirely true, in cities and larger towns it's easy enough to find, but for me, when I'm between villages, burning calories and stressing my body, I need to consume a lot of protein to feel good day after day. And there's not a lot of ways in most countries to bring protein with me unless I stop at a restaurant and have them wrap up some cooked chicken.

evergreen_hilltopper50 karma

You can only eat one dish and drink one drink you’ve had on your travels for the rest of your life. Which do you choose?

Theworldwalk122 karma

Love this question.

Peruvian ceviche for the food - so light and packed with flavor.

Azerçay for the drink - a simple dark tea I could drink forever.

And Georgian orange wine for the inebriation - heavenly.

DownvoteEvangelist44 karma

What languages do you speak?

Theworldwalk84 karma

Only English right now.

I did speak Spanish, but it's been ages since I've needed to, so I've mostly forgotten it! I'm sure I could still get by though. I've also picked up a bit of French, Italian, Turkish and Russian - not conversationally though.

YungPlugg42 karma

What is the best pair of shoes you’ve had?

Theworldwalk67 karma

Love me some Brooks Cascadias. Fit my feet perfectly, they last for hundreds of miles and never give me blisters.

GrabApprehensive42 karma

Are you the guy who had an interview on Polish TV a few days ago? I watched that interview and was really impressed ;)

Theworldwalk44 karma

Yeah! That was me! Marcin was a great conversationalist, we got along really well.

ShellOilNigeria40 karma

Can you expand on your Ayahuasca experience? I would love to know your thoughts on it and if you feel like it is a net positive experience that should be offered up to humanity like beer/cigarettes/food/etc.

P.s. I have followed you from the very beginning and I am proud of you an Savannah. I don't want you guys to stop haha, love the pictures.

Theworldwalk75 karma

Sure thing.

I did Ayahuasca in the jungle near Iquitos, Perú. This guy I met in Guatemala was studying to be a shaman there (Iquitos) with a local shaman. He was one of those people I trusted immediately, so when I reached Perú and he offered me the option to piggyback an Ayhausca retreat with a group that was coming out, I took him up on it.

I did Ayhausca three times in a week. The first two times I threw up fairly quickly, so I didn't have a profound experience, but the third time I kept the Ayahuasca down. The best way I can describe the experience itself is that it was like being on the edge of sleep for three hours. Your thoughts are hyper-visualized which gives you a sort of third-person separation from them.

But the next day is when the true potential of Ayahuasca struck me (and why I'd gladly do it again). That morning, it felt as though I was fifteen. My mind was flexible, nimble. My vision seemed to expand in a way that I could see possibilities I'd previously blocked out.

I'm not sure it should be completely legalized, but then again maybe it should simply so there's some quality control. There's a lot of counterfeit Ayahuasca going around Iquitos.

Browserperson6938 karma

Which place had the best tasting/most memorable tap water?

Theworldwalk61 karma

Ooooo Turkey is great for this. They have public fountains everywhere, some of them for ablutions, others just for freshwater. The water from them is almost always amazing.

the_tza38 karma

Were you ever robbed of any of your equipment/belongings?

Theworldwalk133 karma

Amazingly, no. I was held up at knifepoint in Panama City and had my backpack stolen, but by some amazing stroke of luck, the police happened to be right there and grabbed the thief immediately! It was a good thing too, my backpack had all mine and Savannah's paperwork in it.

Jimlad7330 karma

Will you ever come back to walk the UK?

Theworldwalk32 karma

Ah man, I sure hope so! That would be a pleasant walk.

GuaranteeCheap491929 karma

What is the most annoying thing to deal with? Do you think a woman can do it safely?

Theworldwalk77 karma

I would say probably making and breaking camp every day. It's not so much that it's annoying, but I have to do it every day. And it takes a while! But then again, there are few things better than a good campsite.

Angela Maxwell walked around the world so it's been done. No doubt the world is a more dangerous place for a woman than a tall white male though. Sure she had her head on a swivel.

SonOfZaknafein28 karma

This is really cool, man. Thanks for sharing. Savannah looks like a great dog.
My question is , have locals invited you in for any interesting, regional-specific meals and are there any memorable ones?

Theworldwalk55 karma

Yes, countless times! One of the most memorable was a seafood meal I had in a fisherman's shack on the Black Sea in Turkey. Another was eating sardines freshly pulled from the ocean, grilled and salted on a warm Moroccan morning - to this day one of the best meals I've ever had.

MelonicMan25 karma


I've followed your story through instagram for two years now and I am so happy you have documented your amazing journey for the World to see - pleeeease write a book!

I have a few questions:

How have you prepared food? (carried it with you, kept it from spoiling and not running out?)

Do you have any plans after you reach your goal?

Do you think you'll ever go to Mongolia? IIRC you were supposed to go but were forced to stay in Turkey? I'm going there next autumn if the Russia situation doesn't escalate...

I love your journey and someday hope to do something even remotely close. I even wrote about your journey for my final exam!!

Thanks and good luck!

Theworldwalk24 karma

Woah! That's amazing, I'm honored!

I mostly carry dry goods; pasta, granola, peanut butter. Also, canned tuna and sardines and some bread for sandwiches. I supplement that and try to get fresh food when I'm in town.

The plan is to relax for a while, write a book and enjoy being in one place!

I would love to get to Mongolia and walk across it specifically. I think it's something I'll get to eventually. That's exciting you'll get there! Look like some truly expansive vistas!

Tooempty719 karma

Hi Tom

Love your journey and your pictures!

What do you think will be the biggest challenge when you settle down?

And could you tell a story of a kind person you encountered?

Theworldwalk70 karma


Oddly enough, I think sleeping inside every night will be a tough adjustment. There's a very subtle feeling of liberation while sleeping/camping outside. I'll miss that. I'll need lots of camping trips.

While on the mountains of Guatemala it was difficult for me to find a place to sleep. The ground was steep and dense with growth. Near dusk one day, I was sitting on the edge of town, covered in sweat and exhausted. After a little while and man and his son walked by. He struck up a conversation and without any prompting on my part he invited me to come to stay in his house with his family. He saved me a lot of trouble, cooked me a big me and gave me a bed for the night. Some incredible generosity when I was very much in need.

blackeyedtiger17 karma

When you first set off, did you intend on doing the whole thing alone, or were you always planning on adopting a dog somewhere along the way? Did the walk get lonely before that? Are there still points where it's lonely now?

You and Savannah make a great team, she's probably seen more of the world than any dog in history. (And she's very adorable.)

Theworldwalk42 karma

I was intending to do it on my own, but after a few months of camping and constantly waking up thinking I'd heard something, I thought a dog would make for a good companion. I knew she would hear something before I did so I could sleep in peace. In a way, I sought out Savannah for the original reason our ancestors took in dogs.

kaest16 karma

What was the strange encounter marked on your map of the first 186 days?

Theworldwalk59 karma

That was a very creepy guy I met in Georgia that I should have just walked away from immediately. I was a bit naive at the time though.

I wrote about here on my blog:

pauliesfreakin15 karma

What a journey. Congrats. What has been your favorite soup/broth based dish?

Theworldwalk28 karma

Great question :)

Borscht is amazing. So hearty and full of flavor.

BonetaBelle14 karma

Congratulations! I’ve been following your journey for years, very inspiring.

Have you been able to see family or friends during your journey? For example, have they been able to come visit you?

Theworldwalk36 karma

Yeah! I've had friends visit me in Houston, Bogotá, Lima, Barcelona, Florence, Croatia and Instanbul! Seems like a lot, but once a year or so sure hasn't felt like it!

I've also met up with friends or family living in Colombia, Perú, Uruguay, Ireland, UK, Denmark, Spain and Croatia!

LakesideNorth14 karma

Obviously, the way you travel doesn't mix well with collecting souvenirs (personally, I would have jumped hard on one of those spiked wolf collars in Turkey) but you must have collected a few over the past years? What's caught your eye that's been worth it to carry with?

Theworldwalk21 karma

Dead on. There have been so many times I've found something that I've wanted to send home but just couldn't. One of my prized possessions is an alpaca wool blanket that I was able to send home with a friend visiting me in Perú. What I've carried with me has been a few things from Turkey. I have an intricate silver bracelet that was gifted to me, a beautiful knife gifted to me as well, and a tobacco pipe I bought in the antique section of the Grand Bizarre in Istanbul that I love.

hpdk13 karma

in what country did you experience the greatest hospitality? what person had the biggest impact on you?

Theworldwalk29 karma

I've been shown incredible generosity just about everywhere I've went, but Turkey comes to mind when the word hospitality comes up. I have rarely felt safer on my walk. The people are incredibly warm and kind. I was given shelter so many times and even brought to a Turkish wedding!

Hmm...that I met during the walk? Probably a Georgian man I stayed with in Tbilisi who was a professor of Economics and ex-economic adviser to the government. He was friends with many of the MPs. I had some really amazing conversations about how to grow a country's economy and how to preserve a young democracy.

LakesideNorth12 karma

People were always giving you food! What kind of memories stick out from those experiences?

Theworldwalk27 karma

When I was following the PanAmerican down to Argentina, it was the only road on the coast, so a lot of truckers would see me day after day. So many of them would stop to give me fruit or water. It was never a surprise when another stopped to hand me something and wish me luck.

Dartser12 karma

Once you finish the walk do you have to continue another 4 months and redo the first part of the journey for the dog to count as having the record?

Theworldwalk42 karma

I think she'd still qualify without that because she'll have walked 25,000 miles on her own. And if not, that's alright. This has been about having an adventure, not setting any records.

anonskinz11 karma

How did you decide where to sleep at night? Did you plan to walk x miles knowing there was a specific place to sleep or depending on the time just nip into a random field and pitch your tent?

How did you feed your pup?

Theworldwalk32 karma

That's a good question. It varies a lot. Each country takes a bit of adjusting. I need to figure out how densely populated a place is, what the landscape is like and how long people are out at night (in Morocco there would be people out during the warm nights for ages so I really had to hide away).

Once I have the lay of the land, I'll generally give myself a minimum amount of miles I want to walk, usually twenty-one. After I reach that, I'll take the first campsite I find.

Ideally, I'm totally secluded and in a spot with no chance of someone stumbling upon me, but that only happens every so often. Some general thoughts are that I'm looking for a place that isn't private property, flat, out of sightlines, and depending on the country well-tucked away.

Once I get a feel for a place though, I can become pretty lax about where I camp. After I got comfortable in Turkey and knew that it was extremely safe and no one would mind me camping, I would choose my campsites somewhat lazily and not worry about being found. I met dozens of shepherds because of this...they were always super friendly.

I feed Sav with dog food. I carry a lot with me. In North Africa though I couldn't find any dog food so Sav was eating a lot of sardines and beef paté (which she probably preferred anyway).

stopitLook10 karma

As a WA state resident, how does WA compare to other places you've walked?

Theworldwalk21 karma

WA was outstanding. It surprised me how much variety in landscape there was. Each valley seems to have its own unique ecosystem. Pine forest, jungle, desert, river valley - a little bit of everything. Without a doubt one of the most densely diverse places I've ever been.

mrekted10 karma

Your infographic is great, but reduces some pretty amazing and wild stuff to a bullet point. Can you expand on the circumstances surrounding the homicide in El Salvador?

Also, paging /u/CanuckBacon - you guys should meet.

Theworldwalk20 karma

Yeah, it's very far from a complete representation!

And sure. I happened to be walking through El Salvador in what turned out to be one of the most violent months in one of the most violent years in its modern history. While walking, I passed by a group of police and journalists. I saw at the center of them were the bodies of a husband and wife. I hurried by as quickly as I could, but a journalist caught up to me. He knew I was a foreigner straight away and asked what I was doing in El Salvador. Then he filled me in on what had happened to the couple. Apparently, the husband owed a gang money, and after having not paid, he and his wife were executed. I didn't get any more details than that, and even what the journalist told me was conjecture.

Obviously, set me on edge for the rest of my time in El Salvador though.

ApexHolly9 karma

I remember seeing your story over a year ago! I watched some of your YouTube videos as well. I was especially touched by that mosque that let you take a nap and charge your devices in one of their back rooms. I wish I could remember the country.

My question is, out of all of the cultures you've met and interacted with, which one do you think was your favorite? And a follow up, if I may. Was there a specific place you just fell in love with during the trip?

Best wishes to you and Sav, and well done!

Theworldwalk17 karma

That was in Uzbekistan! On a very common 100°f day.

That's a tough question. There are aspects of each culture that I appreciate.

Colombia is vibrant and full of life, in some places people are literally dancing in the streets each night. Denmark is probably closest to my personality; a little subdued, mindful, and focused on the overall wellness of its people. Georgia is an explosion of creativity; the food and wine are as good as it gets, the architecture is gorgeous and the people are ambitious and democratic. Turkey meanwhile is a rush of historic crosscurrents, history oozes out of every town, and the people are good-hearted, even the farmers are somehow worldly in their warmth.

I would say I fell most in love with Georgia. It was just such a surprise! A little gem in the Caucauses.

lavahot9 karma

What do you do when you pull a muscle?

Theworldwalk10 karma

That happened often the first month, but I can't remember I time it's happened since!

Ateblade8 karma

Do you really want to go back to normal in the same place you left it? I can imagine you discovered so many wonderful places on earth that you must feel the need to settle down in one of those?

Theworldwalk14 karma

There are so many places I could see myself living, but I have a huge family and most of them live in the Philadelphia area. It would be hard to live anywhere else when almost all of the people who matter to me are there.

LakesideNorth8 karma

Hi Tom. Thanks for doing the AMA.

I've been following you on FB since Colombia and have been impressed with how you've handled yourself and managed your round the world project. I have a few questions that I'll add separately.

I've noticed that you posted about where you've been rather than where you're planning on camping, which seems very wise. What other security precautions or steps do you practice and\or would recommend for someone who travels like you do?

Theworldwalk20 karma

Thanks for following for so long!

I'd say the most important safety lesson I've learned is that if I don't get a good vibe off of someone, I just cut off that interaction immediately. I don't worry about how the other person may feel or if I'm missing out. I know there will be other people down the road that I trust immediately.

In more dangerous countries I would always be sure to find a well-hidden campsite. This meant really prioritizing the campsite over getting in more miles. If I thought I found somewhere I could hideaway for the night, but there were two or three hours of daylight left, I'd take the campsite.

shmaltz_herring8 karma

If you need anything, it looks like you are close to my area of Kansas. This cold snap has to be pretty miserable. How are you dealing with the cold?

Theworldwalk15 karma

Much appreciated! Yeah, this snap is brutal, the wind chill makes it bone-cutting. Thankfully Sav and I have posted up in a cheap motel. We'll get back to it on Friday.

Dealing with the cold begrudgingly. Can't wait for it to warm up!

torrerobob8 karma

Having encountered people from all over the world, what would you say are the most meaningful things you learned about us? What do you wish everyone could understand about people?

Theworldwalk22 karma

That we are small and limited. We control such a small amount of our own lives. So much of our lives are decided by forces much bigger than us. And each person has a limited amount of bandwidth. Most are busy trying to raise a family and earn a living. People can't and shouldn't be expected to understand all the minutiae of the world in order to live a safe and prosperous life. The world is complex, we are small, that's part of what makes life so much fun.

cantaloupemonster8 karma

Are there any types of situations where you often find yourself moved to tears?

Theworldwalk29 karma

I've been crying more and more these days. Mostly it happens after a long day when I'm wiped physically. I've been out here, on my own, exposed to the elements for a long time. I'm emotionally and mentally exhausted.

benderlicious548 karma

Any encounters with dangerous wildlife?

Theworldwalk12 karma

Nothing too wild. The occasional snake, tarantulas in Central America. In Europe, I encountered a lot of boars. Those guys are pretty terrifying, large and absolutely nasty looking. In Turkey, I'd hear wolves howling quite often, but never encountered any. They would generally stay away from villages as the Turkish people have a penchant for massive dogs.

Jekkelstein7 karma

Is there a song that you’ll play as you walk the last few minutes? Anything to celebrate?

Also are people following you like Forrest Gump?

Theworldwalk11 karma

Ooooo that's a good question! Haven't thought about it, but I'm going to now. When I'm low I'll listen to 'Go the Distance.' Maybe I'll listen to that.

No one following me like Forrest Gump, but I have had some people join me for stretches in the US.

Aly_gm7 karma

So far, what is the most eye-opening experience that has changed the way you view life?

Theworldwalk29 karma

Lying under the stars in the Atacama Desert. The stars were so clear and there were so many of them, that night after night they seemed to sit on my chest like an elephant. It impressed on me just how absolutely minuscule I am.

Beeblebroxia7 karma

You've set an impossibly high bar for future walkees. How do you intend to overcome what is likely an insurmountable expectation from your dog?

Theworldwalk10 karma

That's gonna be a tough one, I just have to hope she forgives me for only taking her for meager hour-long walks in the future.

Ethman2k97 karma

Do your legs hurt?

Theworldwalk10 karma

Sometimes, very much.

PoopPhorPrez7 karma

Heading through Omaha? If so, you and Sav have a warm bed and a meal, any hour of the day.

Theworldwalk9 karma

Too far north, unfortunately. Thank you though!

Revanclaw-and-memes6 karma

How has this affected you spiritually? You’ve been in many cultures and seen many things. How has this changed your world view and spirituality, if it has at all?

Theworldwalk17 karma

I've never been a spiritual person and that didn't change from the walk, but what it has given me is a much better understanding of how the world works. I have a far greater appreciation now than I did before for how much luck plays in deciding someone's life (and how fortunate I've been in mine). That has wildly expanded my empathy. Not only have I been the guy pushing through the rain and heat, so I empathize with anyone left out in the elements. I also recognize I could have just as easily been born in the deserts of Perú, ultimately working at a little windswept shop selling oil to passing trucks. Instead, I was born into a wealthy country with a strong passport. In its own way, that's been my spirituality; gratitude and empathy.

SlimJesusKeepIt1006 karma

I come from Mars and i'm wondering if the human becomes more unreliable after high mileage trips? What's the resale value on these things?

Theworldwalk8 karma

Sold for parts

Other_Exercise6 karma

What brand of socks do you wear?

Theworldwalk10 karma

Smartwool! Love them.

ten_cent_toaster6 karma

Are you considering "finishing" the walk once the world opens back up again? Do you feel like you've finished what you set out to do?

Theworldwalk19 karma

I might walk the coast of Australia or across Mongolia, but I imagine that would come about by me just wanting to go for an extended walk again. I feel very satisfied with what I've done. This walk was never about setting any records, it was just about going on an adventure. There was a period when I was pretty bummed I wasn't able to complete the walk how I imagined it, but I've accepted that and anyway, I've been at this for long enough, I'm ready for the next chapter.

niceypejsey5 karma

How do you feel about the solitude? Don’t you get lonely on your long walks just you and your dog?

Theworldwalk19 karma

Solitude can be beautiful. I spent months walking the desert in Perú and Chile and they were some of the more formative and reflective times of my life. They allowed me to see myself with a clarity I never had before. They helped me understand myself. But too much solitude isn't a good thing. We're social creatures. Socializing is good for us. And being with other people is what makes life worthwhile. I definitely get lonely or bored during stretches, but I'll always need a certain amount of solitude.

Littleballofdurr5 karma

You're amazing and your dog is lucky to have an amazing owner/life. So many active breeds sleep their day away in apartments while their owners work.

No real question here...just enjoying your story.

If I did have a question, it would be can I take you (and doggo) out to dinner when you're done?

And if you're interested in the New England area, spend a weekend at my beach house and let her frolic in the sand?

Theworldwalk7 karma

Sounds lovely! Would love to make it there.

faox55 karma

Have you ever had to protect Sav from territorial street dogs? Im impressed how it seems she gets along great with them in your IG stories.

Theworldwalk5 karma

Many times! Not a fun experience. But we're well through that now. So many friendly dogs in the US!

LakesideNorth5 karma

Did you get many comments or questions abroad about U.S. politics over the past 5-6 years?

Theworldwalk8 karma

Not very much honestly. Only if I was stopped in a place with a lot of Westerners.

frabjousdae4 karma

What cuisine have you found that you really liked that you weren’t aware of prior to your travels?

Theworldwalk19 karma


I never went near olives before this, but once I was in Spain and they were in a bowl at every bar, I fell in love with them. Good olives with a little salt can be transcendent.

sinapz4 karma

Did you ever encounter any creepy things at night time? Any ghosts or strange creatures?

Theworldwalk31 karma

When I was starting off, I had never heard a fox call before. I thought a woman was being murdered in the woods I was camped in.

In Turkey, I was camped deep in the woods on a rainy night. It seemed to be the ideal campsite; secluded and quiet. But around two a.m. a chainsaw starts not terribly far away. Intellectually, I knew it was someone doing some illegal tree-cutting, but emotionally I was having flashbacks to just about every horror movie. It went on for about an hour and it took me another hour to feel safe enough to fall back asleep.

ThePinko4 karma

Will you make an announcement on when and where you’ll be finishing your walk (somewhere in NJ I understand?) would love to see and cheer your finish!

Theworldwalk11 karma

Absolutely! There will undoubtedly be a homecoming planned, I'll keep everyone posted!

BearBong3 karma

What's the biggest surprise after your many years on the road? Any strong perspectives you've had change since the start?

Theworldwalk7 karma

I would say one of the most surprising things has been how amazingly normal everywhere is. It sounds obvious, but in my mind, before leaving, I would imagine walking across El Salvador and Perú and fantasize about how wild they must be. But then once I was there, they were just places with people living their lives like anyone else.

Haxorz71253 karma

As a fellow Jerseyan, what part of jersey? Taylor ham or pork roll?

Theworldwalk7 karma

Pork roll, my dude

JeffHall283 karma

What are your camera(s)?

Theworldwalk9 karma

Using a Pixel and Nikon Z7 with a 24-70 f/2.8