HomeTravelThis man and his dog spent seven years walking around the world

This man and his dog spent seven years walking around the world

Editor’s Note — Monthly Ticket is a CNN Travel collection that spotlights a few of the most fascinating matters in the journey world. In July, we’re hitting the trails to discover the world’s biggest hikes.

(CNN) — Very few folks try to stroll around the whole world, and even fewer really handle to finish the journey.

On May 21, 2022 Tom Turcich, from New Jersey, turned the tenth individual on document to realize this outstanding feat, whereas his four-legged companion Savannah was the first dog to take action.

The pair have been greeted with an enormous homecoming celebration attended by lots of Turcich’s associates and household, together with nicely wishers.

The triumphant second caused the finish of a seven-year, 48,000-kilometer (29,826-mile) journey that he’d spent even longer working towards.

“It was very surreal,” Turcich tells CNN Travel from his dad or mum’s house in Haddon Township. “I had imagined what the ending would be like for a long time. And when it happened, there were people lining the streets and walking with me.

“The major emotion was simply reduction. This had dominated my life for 15 years, and to lastly have the ability to sort of put it behind me was superb.”

Inspirational walk

Tom Turcich, from New Jersey, and his dog Savannah spent seven years walking around the world collectively.

Tom Turcich

The inspiration for the journey stemmed from a tragic loss in 2006, when his long-time pal Ann Marie died in a jet ski accident at the age of 17.

“It [her death] was very formative for me,” he explains. “She was a a lot better individual than me. And it sunk in that I used to be going to die [one day] and it might occur at any second. And I began re-evaluating every thing.”

Turcich, who has been compared to Forrest Gump, the character Tom Hanks played in the 1994 movie, decided he needed travel and adventure in his life and began looking into all the different ways he could

After reading about Steven Newman, listed by Guinness World Records as the first person to walk around the world, and walking adventurer Karl Bushby, who has been circumnavigating the globe on foot since 1998, Turcich became set on taking on this challenge himself.

“It [walking] appeared like the finest solution to perceive the world and be compelled into new locations,” he says. “I did not simply wish to go to Paris and Machu Picchu, I actually needed to grasp the world and see how folks have been residing day after day.”

Once he’d committed to the task, Turcich started planning out the route, while also trying to raise funding for his travels.

He managed to save enough to last him around two years on the road by working during the summer while he was at college, and moving back in with his parents after he graduated.

However, shortly before he was due to leave, the owner of a local company, Philadelphia Sign, found out about his plans and decided to sponsor his trip.

“He [the businessman] occurred to know Ann Marie and her household,” he says. “And he simply needed to help me nonetheless he might.”

Almost nine years after he first came up with the idea, Turcich took the first step of his walk around the world.

He set off on April 2, 2015, just before his 26th birthday, pushing a baby stroller containing hiking gear, a sleeping bag, a laptop, a DSLR camera and a plastic crate, which he used to store his food.

Turcich says he devised his route with two major factors in mind — he wanted to “hit each continent and journey with as little bureaucratic bother” as possible.

“I believed it might be about 5 and a half years,” he says. “And that proved fairly correct for the precise walking.”

Loyal companion

The pair in an orange discipline in Valencia, Spain again in 2018.

The pair in an orange field in Valencia, Spain back in 2018.

Tom Turcich

The entire journey ended up taking seven years, mainly due to two significant delays. The first occurred when Turcich fell ill with a bacterial infection, which took him several months to recover from, and the second was due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He inevitably experienced various highs and lows along the way, including being invited to local weddings in both Turkey (or Türkiye) and Uzbekistan and being held at knife point while in Panama.

Before he began the walk, Turcich had done very little traveling other than visiting England, Ireland and Wales during a high school exchange trip, and he’d also holidayed in Canada and the Dominican Republic.

He also wasn’t hugely experienced in hiking, although he’d previously completed a 10-day hike with a friend, as well as a few weekend hikes.

The first stage of the trip saw him walk from New Jersey to Panama. Around four months in, Turcich acquired his walking companion, puppy Savannah, from an animal shelter in Austin, Texas.

While he initially had no intention of getting a dog, Turcich struggled to relax, particularly while bedding down at campsites, and would constantly wake up during the night convinced he could “hear one thing coming.”

He felt that having a furry friend beside him who could “preserve watch” at night would make all the difference, and this has proved to be true.

“She’s been unbelievable,” he says of Savannah. “It’s simply good to have somebody to share some moments with.”

Once they reached Panama, the pair flew over the Darien Gap, a treacherous stretch of jungle between Panama and Colombia. After that first year on the road, Turcich set up an account with donation platform Patreon so that his followers had the option to help fund his travels.

Much of year two was spent walking from Bogota, Colombia to Montevideo, Uruguay, where they took a boat to Antarctica.

Around this point, Turcich briefly returned home to acquire the paperwork required to travel to Europe with Savannah.

After arriving in Europe, the pair walked across Ireland and Scotland, but were forced to take an extended break when Turcich became too ill to continue.

“I sort of threw in the towel there [in Scotland] and went to London,” he says, explaining that he was in and out of hospital for weeks while in the UK and eventually returned home to the US to recover.

Challenging times

Turcich and Savannah walked between 18 to 24 miles (around 29 to 38 kilometers) on a typical day.

Turcich and Savannah walked between 18 to 24 miles (around 29 to 38 kilometers) on a typical day.

Tom Turcich

Turcich, who documented his journey on Instagram and his weblog The World Walk, resumed the walk Copenhagen in May 2018, but it would be a while before he was back to his usual self, both mentally and physically.

“When you are out walking, and you are spending all this time alone, you actually should be good firm [to yourself],” he explains.

“Especially whenever you’re uncovered to the parts all the time. And so it actually was not enjoyable for me in any respect.”

Although Turcich admits that he started to question whether he could keep going, he says he never seriously considered giving up.

“There have been undoubtedly occasions once I was simply actually not in place,” he says. “And I used to be considering, ‘what am I doing out right here? I may very well be with my household and my associates, and as an alternative I’m walking by way of this chilly rain in Germany.

“But I don’t think I ever would have stopped. I’d been thinking about the walk for eight years before I even began it. So it just would be insane to give up after a couple of years.”

It wasn’t till he walked the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage that encompasses a number of routes in Spain, France and Portugal, that he began to really feel “fully remembered” and able to immerse himself into the voyage absolutely once more.

He and Savannah then crossed over to North Africa, the place they walked by way of Morocco, Algeria, the place he had a police escort, and Tunisia.

From right here, they moved by way of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece. After Greece, they headed to Turkey, the place Turcich turned the first non-public citizen to be permitted to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot.

Then they traveled to Georgia, located between Russia and Turkey, in the Caucasus Mountains, and onto Azerbaijan, a transcontinental nation situated at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, simply as the pandemic hit. This finally meant they have been compelled to stay in Azerbaijan for no less than six months.

Road again house

Turcich took countless images, including this photograph of Cappadocia, Turkey, to document his journey.

Turcich took numerous pictures, together with this {photograph} of Cappadocia, Turkey, to doc his journey.

Tom Turcich

“Then it was just kind of waiting until we could get into any of Central Asia,” says Turcich, who’d initially aimed to journey by way of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, earlier than flying to Australia, and then again to the US.

Unfortunately, the strict journey restrictions in place at the time meant Turcich needed to abandon plans to go to Australia and Mongolia — each locations have been closed to worldwide guests for around two years — together with Kazakhstan.

After walking throughout Kyrgyzstan, a small nation in Central Asia bordering China, he and Savannah flew to Seattle in August 2021, and started making their manner house to New Jersey.

Of all the locations he traversed throughout the voyage, Turcich says that Wyoming, the least populated US state, was the most tough.

“It’s desolate out there,” he says, recalling how he and Savannah walked for a complete weekend with out seeing a lot as a retailer or perhaps a individual, earlier than lastly coming throughout a tiny fuel station.

“That totally caught me off guard. I came back to the US thinking, ‘I’m back home. It’s so developed. This is a piece of cake.’ But I may as well have been in the deserts of Chile or Peru.”

During their world stroll , the pair walked throughout six continents and 38 international locations collectively, spending most nights tenting.

Guinness World Records units the necessities for a circumnavigation on foot as touring 18,000 miles (around 30,000 kilometers,) and crossing 4 continents — a aim surpassed by Turcich.

On a median day, he and Savannah walked between 18 to 24 miles (around 29 to 38 kilometers).

“The thing about Savannah was that she had so much more energy than I did, always,” he says. “This [walking from country to country] is all she’s ever known.

“There have been occasions once we have been going by way of the desert and I’d collapse at the finish of the day and she’d come over with a stick and wish to play.”

Once they were firmly back on US soil, Turcich was more eager than ever to complete the lengthy trek and get back to normal life.

“Seven years is a very long time,” he says. “Once the finish was in sight, I simply could not wait to be again. I used to be simply able to be hanging out with my associates and household once more, and not be packing up my tent each single morning.”

Staying put

His late friend Ann Marie’s family were among those there to greet him at his homecoming celebration, and while Turcich stresses that he doesn’t want to speak for them, he’d like to think that his voyage and the attention that it’s garnered may have helped in some small way.

“I wasn’t essentially doing it for Ann Marie,” he says. “But she was the catalyst and the inspiration behind it.

“Her death really inspired me to live. And once I finished it [the walk] and I was there with her family, it felt like they had a little bit of closure too.”

Now that he is again in his hometown, Turcich is having fun with reconnecting with his associates, spending time with his household, together with his girlfriend, who he met throughout the remaining part of the journey.

Although he’d like to go to Mongolia, one in every of the locations he could not journey to because of Covid-19 restrictions, at some stage, Turcich has no intention of bringing Savannah with him.

“The flight is insanely long, and she [Savannah] doesn’t care about Mongolia,” he says. “Maybe we’ll get there one day, maybe not.”

For now, he is targeted on writing a memoir about his voyage, whereas Savannah is adjusting to being in a single place all the time.

“My dad takes her for a four-mile (around six and a half kilometers) walk around the river every morning,” he says. “So that helps get out some of her energy. She comes back, jumps on the sofa and takes a nap. She seems pretty content here.”

When requested if he is itching to get again on the highway, Turcich says that it is the furthest factor from his thoughts. In reality, he has no plans to go wherever for a very long time.

“I want to enjoy life without walking and even traveling,” he says. “I’m so over it right now. I just want to be in one place and get into a rhythm.”

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