Around the World in 80 Ways
A circumnavigation of the globe using as many different methods of transport as possible.
In the summer of 2005, my friend Thom and I completed a journey around the world using eighty modes of transport.
The result of a brain storming session in a remote wooden hut in Bolivia, high on expedition-related endorphines and low on blood sugar, this was my third and final consecutive “summer holiday” at university.
Thom and I set ourselves the goal of getting all the way around the world without using the same method of transport more than once. That didn’t include buses around town and that sort of thing. We did stretch the rules a bit though by including an electric train, a steam train and diesel train…
Nonetheless, in time for the very definite deadline of my brother’s wedding, the two of us stormed our away across the globe at speed, racked up our “80 ways” and had some wonderfully odd encounters en route.
Diaries from the Road
During the trip I was sponsored by the travel website Igo Ugo to maintain a diary. Several of the pieces were voted for ‘Best of Igo Ugo’ awards. Here are some of the entries:
- An Idea Is Born – How the plan was first formulated
- The Embassy Run – Dashing around London trying to obtain the necessary visas
- Telegraph Photo Shoot – An entertaining day spent blagging photo opportunities for a newspaper
- The Launch – The expedition begins with a pedal-powered hovercraft on Gower Street
This project also features in the following posts:
- Matt Baker Rickshaw Challenge (and other celebrity expeditions)
- Top 10 Expedition Dramas
- Some Touching Expedition Memories
- Freedom (Or: Why cycling to work is the answer to all of your worries)
- Top 10 Expedition Highs (and Lows)
- 5 Tips on Fundraising (RGS Explore Conference Special)
A wonderful slideshow put together by Offbeat London. The facts are a little fuzzy but that shouldn’t get in the way of a good story.
[Video above not displaying? Watch here instead]
You can also read my Off-Beat interview here.
Below original is the report I wrote after the trip.
In the summer of 2005, two University College London (UCL) students, Tim Moss and Thom Allen, attempted to circumnavigate the globe using eighty different methods of transport. They gave themselves seven weeks to do it in and were restricted to using each mode of transport only once. They were funded primarily by a UCL Expedition and Travel Committee grant of £3000 and were raising money for the TreeHouse, an educational charity for children with autism.
Since we were aiming to attract attention for the trip, we decided to raise some money for charity while we were going. Tim was working as a tutor for a boy with autism and through his family we were put in contact with TreeHouse – a specialist school for children with autism that’s based in North London.
From the offset to our departure and even during the trip, we were relentlessly pursuing help from various different sources. We wanted free rides and free gear. We received rejection after rejection but we eventually made some progress. We didn’t get Richard Branson to pay for everything but we did get a lot of help on our way – see the full list in the ‘Supporters’ section below.
Are there eighty different methods of transport?
One of the first things we did was to confirm that there were in fact eighty different methods of transport but we didn’t stop there. We encouraged people to look at the list on our website and contribute ideas. At the last check we had about 300!
T-Shirts, Badges and a Top Hat
It was always our plan to wear home-made 80 Ways t-shirts around the world but when people kept asking if they could get one, we went public and sold our t-shirts for charity. We also ran off a batch of 80 Ways badges to give to everyone that helped us out on the way. Robin Dunseath, who led a far more impressive team than ours around the world in a similar ilk, also challenged us to wear a Phileas Fogg style top hat wherever we went (as if we didn’t stand out enough already).
Our route was only half planned when we left London. We had a train booked from Moscow to Beijing and a flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. Other than that, we had a map of the world and a compass.
We ended up hitch-hiking from UCL Quad in London to Southampton where we took a catamaran to the Isle of Wight (to stay with Thom’s dad). A hovercraft took us to Portsmouth and a ferry took us across the Channel where we hitched in a van and a lorry to Paris. An electric train took us up to Berlin and a bus took us to Moscow. The Trans-Siberian took us to Beijing, via Ulan-Bator. With boats unavailable, we took a first-class train to Shanghai, a domestic flight to Guangzhou and a hydrofoil to Hong Kong. Our international flight took us to San Francisco (via Manila) and then we drove to Montreal. A freight ship sailed us to Antwerp and the EuroStar brought us home.
My account of the journey is in the full report below. You can also read the sponsored diaries I wrote for IgoUgo as we travelled.
To read the rest of this report…
You can read the whole report by clicking the display above or you can download the PDF.
- Steam Boat Willy, human-powered hovercraft
- Mobility Scooter
- Red London Bus
- Pogo Sticks
- Shoe Skates
- Toy Car
- London Underground
- Car Hitchhike
- Catamaran Ferry
- 4×4 Jeep
- Catamaran Sailing Boat
- Cessna Light Aircraft
- Sinclair C5
- Fire Truck
- Dumper Truck
- Ferry-port Shuttle Bus
- Cross-Channel Ferry
- Big Green Hippy Van
- Human Wheelbarrow (in the Louvre)
- Novelty Bike
- Watering Machine
- Dotto Train
- Diesel Train
- Conference Bike
- Free Running
- Velo Taxi
- Forward Rolls (in front of the Reichstag)
- Trolley Bus
- Piggy Back
- Trans-Mongolian Railway
- Hopping (past a Ger hut)
- Steam Train
- 3-Wheeled Pickup Truck
- Cable Car
- Pigeon Steps (inside the Forbidden City)
- Battery-Powered Bus
- 1st Class Train
- Evil Henchmen Shuttle Pod
- Elevator (to Cloud 9, Shanghai)
- Domestic Flight
- Funicular Railway
- Pedestrian-Powered Rickshaw
- Escalator (World’s Longest)
- Double Decker Tram
- Leap Frog (in front of the Hong Kong skyline)
- Coast-Guard Caterpillar Rescue Vehicle
- Star Ferry
- Airport Golf Buggy
- Mobile Floor Polisher
- Boeing 747
- Bicycle Sidecar
- Horse & Cart
- Cartwheels (in Paco Park, Manila)
- Hire Car
- Freight Ship
- Moon Walking
- Channel Tunnel Train
- Army Crawling (past the House of Parliament)
- Black Cab
- Mobile Dustbin
- Walking (back into the Quad)