Thor Pedersen arrives in Australia without a flight after eight years of traveling around the world

Torbjørn “Thor” Pedersen has traveled to almost every country in the world, with one important caveat: he’s never arrived by plane.

The Danish adventurer has an ambitious mission to become the first person to cross the world in one uninterrupted journey without air travel.

“About 200 people managed to reach every country in the world, but then I found out that no one has managed to go completely without flying,” he said.

Mr Pedersen spent two weeks on a cargo ship traveling from Hong Kong to Australia. (delivered)

Mr Pedersen arrived in north Queensland on Friday after more than two weeks aboard a cargo ship from Hong Kong.

He plans to spend about a month in Australia – his 196th travel destination – before visiting the last seven countries on his list.

The Red Cross Ambassador, who left his home in Denmark in October 2013 and has not returned since, has spent the past eight years on an average budget of $20 a day.

“Some days I spend $100, some days I don’t spend any money at all.”

Bearded Thor, wearing a hat, smiling and holding a US $20 bill with a sunlit river behind.
The Danish adventurer has traveled the world on a budget of $20. (delivered)

pandemic problems

Like the rest of the world, Mr Pedersen’s travel plans have been ground to a halt in 2020.

“Before I knew it, it was declared a pandemic and I was stuck in Hong Kong,” he said.

He decided to wait and ended up spending two years in Hong Kong, where he lived and worked.

Wearing a face mask, blue t-shirt and hat, Thor poses with his hands on his hips on a Hong Kong street.
Mr Pedersen was stuck in Hong Kong for two years during the pandemic. (delivered)

“It’s been tough mentally, thinking it’s just a week away … maybe it’s just a month away, and pushing and pushing and pushing for something that I believe in,” Mr Pedersen said.

He eventually negotiated a trip to Palau and now Australia where he is being visited by his family including his wife.

The kindness of strangers

Mr Pedersen was collected from the Port of Townsville by Kara Pendergast, who offered him her guest room during his time in North Queensland.

She never met the Danish traveler but has spent the past five years following his journey on his social media page, Once Upon a Time.

“I just saw him on Facebook. He said he was going to Townsville so I texted him and here he is,” Ms Pendergast said.

Thor in a passenger seat in the car, without a hat, smiling and waving, a woman in a yellow and blue t-shirt is driving.
Kara Pendergast has offered Mr. Pedersen a place to stay in Townsville. (ABC North Qld: Lily Nothling )

Mr Pedersen said he expects to return to Denmark next year after the experience of a lifetime.

“The motto of this project is that a stranger is a friend you’ve never met before,” he said.

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