A pair of travellers have set a new Guinness World Record by visiting five continents in a single calendar day, which they achieved in 28 hours and 25 minutes using only commercial airlines.
Adrian Butterworth, a Bournemouth-based documentary filmmaker and Gunnar Garfors, a hobby traveller from Norway set out from Istanbul, Turkey in Asia and travelled to Casablanca, Morocco in Africa; Paris in Europe; Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic in North America; and Caracas, Venezuela in South America.
The attempt actually happened on 18 June 2012 and cost £1,000 in plane tickets, but the Guinness World Records association has only just approved their record this week after deliberating for 21 months.
Garfors, who travels frequently in his work for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, spent two years planning the trip and figuring out flight routes that would work before he asked his old Falmouth College of the Arts buddy Butterworth to join him on the adventure.
A real challenge
"I had the idea a few years ago while watching tourists cross from Europe into Asia by crossing a bridge over the Bosphorus River in Turkey, but that's too easy, and easy is boring. If we were going to do something crazy like this, we should at least do it properly," Garfors told IBTimes UK.
Butterworth decided to document their journey, so armed solely with two cameras and two tripods that were surprisingly allowed as carry-on luggage on each flight, he set off with Garfors from Istanbul at 01:00 on 18 June and arrived in the final location – Caracas, Venezuela – at 22:30 on the same day.
"We didn't want to just drop into the airport in each destination and then leave again, so we tried to pick somewhere famous to go to and film in each country," said Butterworth.
"We couldn't go through the US because customs takes two to three hours, so we had to pick countries whereby going through customs would take only 20 minutes."
The duo had between two to three hours in each country before they had to get onto another plane, so they made friends with people in other countries on the popular hospitality exchange website Couchsurfing, which is designed to let travellers find a place to stay with locals around the world.
However, in order to complete the challenge, Butterworth and Garfors didn't have time to stay over – so they asked their Couchsurfing hosts in each country to drive them from the airport to a location where they could film and back.
There were a few sticky moments in their journey, however, from being last to board on every single flight to getting into trouble for filming.
"We got to Casablanca at 04:00 and went to film outside the Hassan II Mosque, which has the world's tallest minaret, and a security guard called the police so we got into the car and ran away. Luckily no-one followed us," said Butterworth.
"We also almost got arrested for filming in the subway in Caracas, and Gunnar didn't tell me that Caracas is the murder capital of the world, which I didn't realise."
After their trip was complete, Garfors became an overnight celebrity in the Norwegian press, and in 2013, he completed a new quest to visit all 198 countries in the world, including war-torn countries like Syria where he couldn't get a visa.
Butterworth is in negotiations to sell his documentary of their record-making journey, while Garfors has written a book about his worldwide trip called simply "198" which will be released in Norway on September 18.
He is also planning to release an English edition of the book.
"We saw so many cultures [on the trip] and really got to see some of the different political situations around the world, and we spoke to students who were protesting in Istanbul and Caracas. It was quite scary really," said Butterworth.
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