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

Must Read

Editor’s note – Monthly ticket CNN is a travel series that focuses on some of the most interesting topics in the travel world. In July, we hit the roads to explore the world’s largest hiking trails.

(CNN) – Very few people try to travel around the world, and even fewer people actually succeed in completing the journey.

On May 21, 2022, Tom Tursich of New Jersey became the 10th person on record to achieve this remarkable feat, while his four-legged companion Savannah was the first dog to do so.

The pair were greeted by many friends and family from Turkey as well as well-wishers in attendance with a huge celebration of their return home.

The triumphant moment ended a seven-year, 48,000-kilometer (29,826-mile) journey for which he had spent much longer.

“It was very unrealistic,” Turkin tells CNN Travel from his parents’ home in Hayden Township. “I have long imagined what the end would be like. And when that happened, people lined the streets and walked with me.

“The primary feeling was just relief. This has dominated my life for 15 years, and it was wonderful to be able to finally put it behind me.”

Inspirational moves

Tom Tursich of New Jersey and his dog Savannah spent seven years traveling around the world together.

Tom Tursich of New Jersey and his dog Savannah spent seven years traveling around the world together.

Tom Tersich

Motivation for the trip came from a tragic loss in 2006, when his longtime friend Anne Marie died in a jet ski accident at the age of 17.

“That [her death] Was very creative for me, ”he explains.“ She was a much better person than me. And it sank that I was about to die [one day] And it can happen at any time. And I started re-evaluating everything. ”

The character of Tom Hanks in the 1994 movie, who was compared to Forrest Gump, decided that he needed to travel and adventure in his life and started looking for all the different ways.

After reading about Steven Newman and walking adventurer Carl Bushby, listed by Guinness World Records as the first people in the world to have been touring the world on foot since 1998, Turkich himself set out to take up the challenge.

“That [walking] It seemed like the best way to understand the world and force them to move to a new place, “he says.” I didn’t just want to go to Paris and Machu Picchu, I really wanted to understand the world and see how people live their lives. Day. “

Once he committed to the work, Turkic began planning the route, while trying to raise funds for his trip.

By working during the summer when he was in college and returning with his parents after graduation he managed to save as much as he could on the road for about two years.

However, shortly before he was to leave, the owner of a local company, Philadelphia Sign, became aware of his plans and decided to sponsor his trip.

“That [the businessman] Anne Marie and her family got to know her, ”he says.

About nine years after the idea first surfaced, Turkic took the first step of walking around the world.

On April 2, 2015, just before his 26th birthday, he hit a baby stroller with hiking gear, a sleeping bag, a laptop, a DSLR camera and a plastic crate, which he uses to store his food. .

Turkic says he devised his route keeping in mind two main factors – he wanted to “hit and travel every continent” with as little bureaucratic difficulty as possible.

“I thought it would be about five and a half years,” he says. “And it proved to be very accurate for real walking.”

Faithful companion

Pair in an orange field in Valencia, Spain in 2018.

Pair in an orange field in Valencia, Spain in 2018.

Tom Tersich

The entire journey took seven years, mainly due to two significant delays. The first incident occurred when Turkich fell ill with a bacterial infection, which took him several months to recover, and the second was caused by the Kovid-19 epidemic.

Along the way he inevitably experienced a variety of highs and lows, including being invited to local weddings in both Turkey (or Turkey) and Uzbekistan and being stabbed in Panama.

Before he started walking, Turkic traveled very little except on visits to England, Ireland and Wales during a high school exchange trip, and he also spent holidays in Canada and the Dominican Republic.

He also did not have much experience in hiking, although he had previously completed a 10-day hike with a friend as well as a few weekend hikes.

The first leg of the trip saw him fly from New Jersey to Panama. In about four months, Turkich recovered his walking companion, puppy Savannah, from an animal shelter in Austin, Texas.

When initially there was no intention of getting his dog, Turkich struggled to relax, especially while sleeping in bed at the campsite, and he was constantly awake during the night, making sure he could “hear something.”

He felt that having a furry friend by his side who could keep him “awake” at night would make all the difference, and this proved to be true.

“She’s been wonderful,” he says of Savannah. “It’s great to share some moments with someone.”

Once they arrived in Panama, the pair flew over the Darian Gap, a treacherous area of ​​forest between Panama and Colombia. After that first year on the road, Turkic set up an account with the donation platform Patrion to give his followers the option to help fund his travels.

Most of the two years were spent walking from Bogota, Colombia to Montevideo, Uruguay, where they took a boat to Antarctica.

Around this point, Tursich returned home for a while to get the paperwork needed to travel to Europe with Savannah.

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

“I threw a kind of towel there [in Scotland] And went to London, “he explains. He was in the hospital for weeks when he was in the UK and out and finally returned to the US to recover.

Challenging times

Turkic, who documented his travels Instagram And his blog The World WalkCopenhagen started moving again in May 2018, but it will take some time before it returns to its normal self, both mentally and physically.

“When you go out, and you spend so much time alone, you have to have really good company. [to yourself]”It simply came to our notice then.

Also Read  The traveler who's been globetrotting for nearly 10 years

“Especially when you’re exposed to the elements all the time. And so it wasn’t really fun for me.”

Although Turkic admits he began to question whether he could continue, he says he never seriously considered giving up.

“There were definitely times when I wasn’t in a really good place,” he says. “And I was thinking, ‘What am I doing here? I can be with my family and my friends, and instead I’m going through this cold rain in Germany.

“But I don’t think I’d ever stop. I’ve been thinking about walking for eight years before I started walking. So it would be crazy to give up after a few years.”

A pilgrimage involving several routes from Spain, France and Portugal did not last until Camino de Santiago until he began to feel “fully remembered” and ready to be completely immersed in the journey again.

He and Savannah then traveled to North Africa, where they traveled to Morocco, Algeria, where they had a police escort, and then to Tunisia.

From here they traveled through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece. After Greece, they moved to Turkey, where Turkic became the first private citizen to be allowed to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot.

They then moved to Georgia, located in the Caucasus Mountains, between Russia and Turkey, and to Azerbaijan, a transcontinental country located on the border of Eastern Europe and West Asia in the same way that the epidemic affected. This eventually meant that they were forced to stay in Azerbaijan for at least six months.

Road back home

Turkic took numerous images, including this photograph of Cappadocia, Turkey, to document his travels.

Turkic took numerous images, including this photograph of Cappadocia, Turkey, to document his travels.

Tom Tersich

“It was just a kind of wait until we could then enter Central Asia,” says Turkich, who aims to return to the US before and after leaving for the original Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Australia.

Unfortunately, strict travel restrictions at the time meant that Turkey had to abandon plans to visit Australia and Mongolia – both destinations were closed to international visitors for almost two years – along with Kazakhstan.

After passing through Kyrgyzstan, a small country in Central Asia bordering China, he and Savannah moved to Seattle in August 2021 and moved to their home in New Jersey.

Of the places he traveled during the trip, Turkic says the least populous U.S. state, Wyoming, was the most difficult.

“He’s desolate there,” he recalls of how he and Savannah walked the entire weekend without even seeing the store or even a single person, before finally arriving at a small gas station.

“I was shocked. I came back to the US thinking, ‘I’m back home. It’s very developed. It’s a piece of cake.’ But I’ve probably lived in the deserts of Chile or Peru. “

During their world tour, the pair traveled together on six continents and 38 countries, spending most of the night camping.

Guinness World Records sets the requirements for 18,000 miles (approximately 30,000 kilometers) of travel and trekking across four continents – a goal that has been surpassed by Turkic.

On an average day, he and Savannah walked between 18 and 24 miles (about 29 to 38 kilometers).

“The thing about Savannah was that she had a lot more energy than me, always,” he says. “This [walking from country to country] She is never known.

“There was a time when we were going through the desert and I was breaking down at the end of the day and she wanted to come and play with the stick.”

Once they firmly returned to U.S. soil, the Turks were more eager than ever to complete the long track and return to normal life.

“Seven years is a long time,” he says. “Once the end was in sight, I couldn’t wait to come back. I was ready to go out again with my friends and family, and didn’t pack my tent every morning.”

Stay put

The family of his late friend Anne Marie was there to greet him in celebration of his return home, and while Turkic insists he does not want to speak for them, he wants to think about his trip and the attention he has received. May be. Helped a little.

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

“His death really inspired me to live. And once I did that [the walk] And I was there with his family, it felt like they were a little off too. “

Now that he’s back in his homeland, Turkic is enjoying reconnecting with his friends, with his family, spending time with his girlfriend, whom he met during the final section of the trip.

Although he would like to go to Mongolia, one of the places where he could not travel due to Kovid-19 restrictions, at some point, Turkic has no intention of bringing Savannah with him.

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

For now, he’s focused on writing memoirs about his journey, while Savannah is always adjusting to staying in one place.

“My dad takes him for a walk four miles (about six and a half kilometers) around the river every morning,” he says. “So it helps to get some of her energy out. She comes back, jumps on the sofa and falls asleep. She feels very satisfied here.”

When asked if he’s itching to get back on the road, Tursich says it’s the farthest thing on his mind. In fact, he has no plans to go anywhere for a long time.

“I want to enjoy life without walking and traveling,” he says. “I’m pretty much on it right now. I just want to stay in one place and get in rhythm.”

Latest News

ETIAS EU entry scheme is postponed

(CNN) — Planning a trip to Europe next summer? The cost of living may be rising but there...

More Articles Like This