In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
British adventurer becomes first man to travel to all 201 ‘countries’ without flying
After 1,426 days, four full passports, one failed relationship and countless buses, trains and boats, a British man has become the first person to travel to all 201 ‘countries’ in the world without flying.
Early on Monday morning Graham Hughes was stamped into South Sudan, his last country, and the world’s newest, which did not even exist when he started out on New Year’s Day 2009.
Since then, Mr Hughes, 33, has visited all 193 United Nations member states and Taiwan, Vatican City, the Palestinian territory, Kosovo, Western Sahara and the four home nations of the United Kingdom.
The entire journey, which cost an average of £10 a day, was by train, bus, taxi or ship and at no point did he travel by air, meaning that he created a new Guinness World Record.
Mr Hughes, who presents the TV show Graham’s World for the National Geographic channel and charts his progress on his website The Odyssey Expedition, is even refusing to fly now he has achieved his goal, and will instead continue through Africa and across Europe by bus and boat, aiming to return home to Liverpool by ferry from Dublin in time for Christmas.
“The main feeling today is just one of intense gratitude to every person around the world who helped me get here, by giving me a lift, letting me stay on their couch or pointing me in the right direction,” Mr Hughes told The Daily Telegraph from Juba, South Sudan’s capital.
Mount Everest litter becomes art
Fifteen Nepali artists were closeted for a month with a heap of 1.5 tonnes of trash picked up from Mount Everest. When they emerged, they had transformed the litter into art.
The 75 sculptures, including one of a yak and another of wind chimes, were made from empty oxygen bottles, gas canisters, food cans, torn tents, ropes, crampons, boots, plates, twisted aluminium ladders and torn plastic bags dumped by climbers over decades on the slopes of the world’s highest mountain.
Kripa Rana Shahi, director of art group Da Mind Tree, said the sculpting – and a resulting recent exhibition in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu – was aimed at spreading awareness about keeping Mount Everest clean.
“Everest is our crown jewel in the world,” Shahi said. “We should not take it for granted. The amount of trash there is damaging our pride.”
Nearly 4,000 people have climbed the 8,850 metre-high Mount Everest, many of them several times, since it was first scaled by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.
Although climbers need to deposit $4,000 with the government, which is refunded only after they provide proof of having brought the garbage generated by them from the mountain, activists say effective monitoring is difficult.
Climbers returning from the mountain say its slopes are littered with trash which is buried under the snow during the winter and comes out in the summer when the snow melts.
Exclusive: Date revealed for first scheduled departure of Boeing’s 787 ‘Dreamliner’
The 787 promises a dramatic improvement in passenger comfort, with more space, bigger windows and air pressurised at only 6,000 feet rather than 8,000 feet.
The world’s most advanced plane is finally set to take off from Heathrow. Qatar Airways will announce tomorrow that the first scheduled departure of the Boeing 787 from Europe’s busiest airport is set for 3.05pm on 14 December.
The so-called “Dreamliner”, owned by Qatar Airways, will begin daily flights from Heathrow to Doha – but only on one departure a day. The remaining four are conventional aircraft. The launch had been set for September, but late delivery from the manufacturer delayed it. The plane is currently shuttling between Doha and Dubai four times a day, enabling crews to become familiar with the aircraft, with a special fare of £100 return on offer. Fares for the debut flight from Heathrow are much higher, as many of the seats are earmarked for dignitaries and media.
The 787 promises a dramatic improvement in passenger comfort, with more space, bigger windows and air pressurised at only 6,000 feet rather than the more usual 8,000 feet. The plane entered service in Japan a year ago, three-and-a-half years beyond Boeing’s original schedule.
The first advertised departure by a UK airline is on 1 May next year, when Thomson Airways starts flying from East Midlands and Gatwick to Cancun and Orlando.
500km/h ‘floating’ bullet train unveiled in Japan
Rail operators in Japan have unveiled a prototype for a “levitating” high-speed train capable of reaching speeds of up to 500km/h.
Designed by JR Tokai, the 28 metre-long Series LO “maglev” train would be able to cover 322 kilometres in just 40 minutes.
The company plans to use the train on one of Japan’s busiest routes from 2027 – between Tokyo and Nagoya. The service will be expanded to Osaka by 2045 at a cost of approximately $98 million.
The train doesn’t have wheels, instead using an electromagnetic cushion for levitation and propulsion. It is expected to be comprised of 14 carriages holding 68 people each.
It features a streamlined nose similar to its other bullet train counterparts, which reduces wind drag.
Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is examining the proposal.
There is a commercial maglev station in Shanghai, China, with the Shanghai Maglev Train or Shanghai Transrapid operating on the route between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of Pudong.