This week we shift our #Focus towards British adventurer Graham David Hughes. In his early 30’s Graham has already visited EVERY country in the world. You may be wondering just how many airmiles he clocked up on this voyage? Well the answer is none, for Graham was the first person to visit every country in the world by land and sea! An amazing 201 countries (some of which in I have never even heard of) without stepping foot on a plane.
For his latest challenge Graham has set up camp on Samsung’s SOS island: Survival of the Smartest. SOS Island is a new interactive, online, survivalist reality series. Graham has joined contestants from across the world who are battling to win their own island through completing a variety of survivalist tasks.
Last week I caught up with the man himself to find out what a life of adventure was really like:
How did you get into all of this?
I’ve always had an interest since watching travel shows as a kid, I loved things like Michael Palin. I remember going on family camping holidays round Europe and really enjoying them. I just really wanted to see the world, try new food, learn about places and see things for myself.
Did you give up a 9-5 job?
I am a freelance film-maker, I still do that in my down time. I worked for around 6-7 years before setting off around the world. I still make TV shows for National Geographic too.
When you were travelling the world what was in your kitbag?
Besides my camera equipment, I had a small first aid kit with things like tablets, needles, threads, malaria pills – thankfully I didn’t need to use these. Also in there was my GPS, laptop and small army knife. The knife made it pretty far along the journey until I got to Egypt and they took it away.
Did you find yourself in any scary or ‘get me out of here’ type situations?
I traveled to Cape Verde with a group of African men in a legacy wooden canoe, it was terrifying. As we arrived at the port they thought I was a people smuggler and I spent 6 days in jail. I was also arrested in the Congo as they thought I was some kind of spy.
I saw some crazy stuff too like riots and natural disasters. I was in Kyrgyzstan just at the time of the revolution.
Iran surprisingly and Papua New Guinea.
In Indonesia there was a port where the fisherman bring in their catch, you pick what you want and they dish it up. I had the most amazing sweet and sour squid. I’ve eaten some really weird stuff along the way like bugs, octopus and guinea pig.
Ah that has to be the UK (as my girlfriend is in the room)
Have you faced any fears on SOS island or done anything new?
Starting a fire, I had not done that in years, Building a shelter completely from scratch. I can deal with spiders a lot more now. When you see some of them abroad you realise the one’s we get here in the UK ain’t so bad.
What do you miss most about home?
I don’t really miss much. Samsung provided us with wi-fi on the island so it is so easy to stay in touch with people. I can speak with everyone through Facebook and the internet, it helps you to share your experience. You can go months without seeing someone and still feel like you know stuff about them. I do crave things like cheese, ice-cold milk and digestive biscuits.
What is your fitness regime like?
Erm, playing computer games. I have never been to a gym. I suppose when I am filming it is fairly active and the long days on shoots help me to build good stamina, I have good determination and always want to finish something I start. Even if playing Grand Theft Auto I want to complete it with 100% rating.
Top survival tips?
Keep a cheery disposition. This always helps when dealing with people, especially Police and Customs. So often getting people to smile or laugh is such a help in making a tense situation much easier. Being from Liverpool helped with that, everyone always wanted to talk about Liverpool FC…although I am an Everton fan myself.
Never travel in a group of three.
Always let someone know where you are. If you have seen the film 127 Hours then you will know what i mean. These days this is so easy, you can send a message to twitter with your co-ordinates and that way if anything happens someone can come and find you.
Is there anything left on your bucket list?
Loads! I want to write and direct an Oscar winning film, win a Nobel prize, walk on the moon, visit more places and go back to some of the places I have visited.
Inspired by Grahams amazing story? Visit sos-island.com to watch videos from the island and to vote for Graham who is the only Brit left in the competition. He has so far made is down to the final 8 contestants but needs your support to win! Graham is also taking part in a live interview this Friday (22/11) on Google Hangout, so tune in for the latest on his adventure.