Incredible World Records Set by Real-Life Travelers

Records are made to be broken, right? Well, if so, best of luck to you if you attempt to overtake these current record-holders – what they’ve accomplished is nothing short of superhuman.

Matthew Ferisi and Chris Solarz
Their record: Visiting all New York City subway stations in the shortest time
The NYC Subway Challenge is such a well-known undertaking that it boasts its own Wikipedia page. And according to the record books, Matthew Ferisi and Chris Solarz are the challenge’s reigning champions. In 2009, this pair of New Yorkers successfully navigated the Big Apple’s entire metro circuit – that’s 468 different stations – in 22 hours 52 minutes 36 seconds – more than two hours ahead of the previously existing record. Ferrisi told The New York Times that the two men only made two coffee stops during the entire duration of their successful attempt. 

Graham Hughes
His record: First to visit all sovereign states without flying
Visiting every nation on Earth is an impressive feat, but not exactly an earth-shattering record. Many have completed this worldwide trek; the last record-holder, an Indian businessman named Kashi Samaddar, visited all 194 U.N. nations in 6 years and 10 months. But in November 2012, Englishman Graham Hughes managed to record a uniquely extraordinary feat: he visited all 201 of the world’s sovereign states in just under four years – and he did so without flying on a single airplane. Instead, he got around by bus, taxi and train, as well as on foot. “People asked me how I was going to get to Afghanistan or Iraq or North Korea, but they were the easy ones,” he told Christian Science Monitor, adding that the really tough countries to hit were archipelago nations like Nauru and the Maldives.

Vaidehi Thirrupathy
Her record: Youngest person to visit all seven continents
Visiting all seven continents during one’s lifetime is a badge of pride for any world traveler – provided he or she remembers the journey, or even understands what a continent is. Most likely that will not be the case for young Vaidehi Thirrupathy. At just a few days shy of seven months old, she became the youngest person to visit Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. If you want to get technical, she probably did not actually set foot on any of these continents – but who are we to rob a baby girl of her world record glory?

Edwin Shackleton
His records: Most types of aircraft flown and most modes of transportation driven/operated in one year
In 1943, Edwin Shackleton of the United Kingdom (then 16 years old) piloted his first aircraft – a De Havilland DH 89 Dominie. Over the next 64 years, he flew 841 types of aircraft, including planes, helicopters, seaplanes, airships, microlights and balloons. He didn’t stop there. In December 2009, Shackleton notched a second Guinness World Record after driving or operating 136 different modes of transportation in the course of a single year. These included hovercraft, gypsy caravan, lifeboat and an amphibious six-wheeler.

Emil and Liliana Schmid
Their record: Longest distance driven
In 1984, a Swiss couple named Emil and Liliana Schmid packed a few belongings in their Toyota Land Cruiser and set off on a road trip. Twenty-eight years later, they’re still driving. The Schmids have traveled more than 413,000 miles, equivalent to more than 50 trips around the planet’s entire diameter. During their epic journey, the couple has visited 172 countries and territories, incurred 166 flat tires, and burned through 54 shock absorbers.

By Brad Nehring

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