How to Walk Around the World

by Free Traveler on August 12, 2012

Walking was once the primary means by which people got around. Thousands of people have walked countless miles, from city to city and from nation to nation. Some such as the infamous Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta walked as much as 75,000 miles from Morocco zigzagging all the way to China. While you might be thinking that walking as a means of traveling is a thing of the past, there is no reason why it still can’t be done today. In fact, it is probably hundreds of times safer to do it today than in the times of Ibn Battuta.

Just recently, a French Canadian named Jean Beliveau just made the Guinness book of world records for the most comprehensive circumnavigation on foot. It took it 11 years and brought him to 64 countries. However, he is not the only one to complete such circumnavigations in the modern day. Countless others such as David Kunst, Steven Newman, and Ffyona Campbell have all made the journey.

Although walking isn’t for everyone as it requires lots of time, strong legs and a strong mental constitution, it is perhaps the most rewarding method of travel and not to mention completely free.

What to Bring: A long walk necessitates sufficient gear and something to carry that gear in. Since you may spend many nights outdoors, things to bring include all the usual camping gear. Most importantly, this includes a light weight tent and sleeping bag. Other useful items include a pocket knife, small supply of granola bars or other light weight energy sources for when you’re in a bind and a radio to help keep you sane. Finally be sure to bring a very comfortable pair of walking shoes. Preferably boots with a lifetime guarantee.

Backpack vs. Cart: There are two methods by which to carry your gear. The first way is to put it all in a comfortable backpack. Although this method will grant you greater freedom and force you to carry less, it can also reek havoc on ones back. A second and very common method amongst the world walkers is to put all your things in a shopping cart like push-able. While this makes carrying your gear a lot easier, if you leave your cart you risk it being robbed. More, it allows you to carry much more which might make it an even more tiresome option.

Crossing Borders: Almost every border crossing has section which allows people to pass on foot. And as long as you have your passport and don’t look to scraggily, you should be able to pass without question. However, your main hindrance will not be the borders, but rather the police check points in developing countries. Here, often power hungry police will often stop and question you. While some may be concerned with your safety and even provide you with an escort, others might take you in for questioning.

Staying Safe: No matter where you go, whether it be in the western world or developing countries, if you spend that much time on the road, you are bound to encounter thieves. To minimize your chances of being robbed, try to avoid walking at night and instead conceal yourself in the woods while you sleep. Another method and one that won’t be hard to achieve after a month on the road is to make yourself appear like a homeless person. If robbers believe you have nothing worth value they won’t try and rob you. Finally, try to emanate positivity instead of fear. While this sounds a bit hippie-ish, it really works.

Conclusion: Walking the world is no easy task. It physically grueling and mentally straining. However, while it may be tough at first, if you can stick it out, you will adapt to the walking life. More, you will meet countless and enlightening people from around the world. You will have an enormous time to contemplate life and you will surely become a wise citizen of the world. Last but not least, it is totally free.