Mike Snowden, of Gadling.com, drew my attention with his find of possibly the least practical map of a round-the-world trip using only surface travel. It’s from Reddit user e80die, who posted it as a thought experiment while he was laid up with a broken leg. He wanted to work out a path to visit the all countries in the world a single path.
As e80die writes in his original post,
there were many many edits via r/MapPorn‘s suggestions, but i eventually got it how i wanted it (yes, i’m well aware Greenland and Western Sahara are left out). and lastly, to appease the other very common comment that came up on the OP: this isn’t intended to be an actual “trip” that follows roads or boat paths or visits significant cities; it’s just supposed to be one particular near-shortest possible single path
Sounds challenging, right? You don’t know the half of it. His path, which starts in Cuba and ends in New Zealand (or vice versa) crosses several borders and ocean patches that are either impractical, extremely dangerous or — frankly — asking for a gruesome death. For instance, Snowden notes:
1. Darien Gap The route takes you from Panama to Colombia by plunging into the Darien Gap, a sprawling mat of swampland and forest that was described by the journalist Robert Young Pelton as “probably the most dangerous place in the Western Hemisphere”. Expect such life-affirming delights as virtually impassable jungle, drug traffickers, kidnappers, understandably trigger-happy paramilitary troops and a truly profound lack of good roads. It’s perfectly possible to visit the Darien Gap, but crossing it? Have fun.
4. Israel to Lebanon Welcome to the Rosh HaNikra border crossing, administered by the United Nations and the Israel Defense Forces. Are you a diplomat or UN official? Do you work well in conditions of extreme diplomatic tension? Can you run faster than Usain Bolt? If your answers to all of these questions aren’t “yes,” stay clear.
Snowden doesn’t mention the extremely dangerous movement up West Africa’s coastline nor the challenging Timor Sea, which is awash with pirates, refugees and patrolling Australian naval vessels. Interestingly, I was originally considering going up though China into Eastern Russia to catch a boat across the Bering Strait when I was conceiving the Truly, Nomadly, Deeply itinerary. Navigating the Darien Gap also was especially intriguing to me when I was crossing the Pacific and considering how to get from Panama to Colombia. Alas, events got away from me and here I am in Colombia.
But if you feel like making this trip, good luck to you! And bring a big budget.