Record rejected: traveller's visit to every country in the world

A man who completed a unique journey to all 201 countries in the world without flying needs to retrace part of his journey if it is to be recognised as a record.

Graham Hughes, whose entry into South Sudan last November completed a voyage to every country in the world recognised by the United Nations, is currently en route to Russia.

Although he crossed into the country from Estonia in spring 2009, he went over the border illegally, the only country he did not enter officially. For this reason, Guinness World Records is refusing to ratify his journey as a record.

"The visa into Russia cost about 150 quid and I was on a shoestring budget, and travelling to as many countries as possible, very fast," Mr Hughes explained. "It [the Guinness World Record's decision] is completely understandable, because they don't want to encourage people to do illegal things."

Since learning of the obstacle, Mr Hughes has adopted the same phlegmatic approach that allowed him to visit all the world's countries in the first place.

"I can solve the problem. I came back from South Sudan overland, so I can pick up the journey at any time," he said. "It's quite a funny coda to my travels – I am just glad it's not Bangladesh, that it's somewhere that's only 24 hours away on the coach."

Mr Hughes has paid £100 ($A150) for a return coach ticket to Gdansk, where he will arrive on Tuesday local time. From there, he will travel to Kaliningrad a Russian exclave bordering Poland and Lithuania, this time with a €75 ($A97) visa, and is due to return to Britain on Thursday.

Asked whether he was tempted to fly back this time, he said he remained determined to travel in the same way. "It is one of the things I want to keep doing for the rest of my life. Whenever a new country gains independence, I want to head there overland from the UK, and continue the journey."

- The Telegraph, London