A Danish man who traveled the world in 10 years left his heart in Istanbul, saying Türkiye is an amazing country with beautiful landscapes, ancient culture, and history.
Torbjorn Pedersen, nicknamed “Thor,” was working in the shipping and logistics industry when his father sent him an article by e-mail in 2013.
Nobody had ever traveled the world without taking plane trips, according to the article – a piece of information that inspired Pedersen, then 34, to embark on the adventure on Oct. 10, 2013.
His only objective was to achieve the world tour without going to Denmark anytime or taking planes. He also planned to stay at least 24 hours in every country.
Pedersen had $20 per day on average for food, lodging, and travel. Throughout his journey, he was supported by personal donations and sponsors.
Pedersen, who began his journey from Europe, and traveled to South America and then Africa, finally arrived in Türkiye in September 2017 before heading to the Middle East.
In an online interview with Anadolu from Denmark, he noted that he had visited Türkiye many times before embarking on his epic journey in 2017, and added: “I think Türkiye is amazing. I think it’s such an exciting country, such a large country and so full of beautiful landscapes, and ancient culture and history.
“The food is amazing. I’ve been from the west to east of Türkiye, and I’ve been treated with a great deal of kindness in many different ways. People that take me into their homes, and give me hugs and kisses and serve me food and bring me around and show me whatever they have in their hearts.”
Istanbul is by far one of his favorite cities, he said.
“I feel like I can stay in Istanbul forever, and keep discovering new streets, and new neighborhoods, and all sorts of old, old old history. It’s a remarkable city. I love Türkiye,” he said, vowing that “I’ve been to Türkiye so many times, and I will definitely come back to Türkiye again.”
– Plans went wrong
Pedersen had initially planned a four-year journey but was caught in Hong Kong when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020 with only nine countries remaining to end his journey. He achieved his target in May of this year, after a two-month voyage on a ship from the Maldives to his home country.
He traveled for 3,576 days in total, taking 37 container ship trips, 158 train journeys, and 351 bus traveling to see 203 countries over 382,083 kilometers (237,415.3 miles) – the equivalent of going around the world more than nine times.
He married his then-girlfriend Lee in Jan. 2022, who had visited him 27 times in 10 years.
– Family support, hardship
Pedersen enjoyed his family’s support for his world tour, particularly his mother and wife when he decided to begin this journey.
He recalled that he left home in 2013 and in 2015, he was ready to return.
“I didn’t feel there was enough appreciation in what I was doing,” Pedersen said. “Plenty of reasons to give up… there’s been a lot of hardship along the way. And I kept fighting for what I believed in, hoping that it would get better, that it would get easier, and sometimes it did get easier and sometimes it got harder again. When the pandemic struck, that was definitely time to pause and reflect and think about going home, but I didn’t,” the traveler explained.
He said $20 did not cover his expenses in some of the countries, particularly the more expensive ones.
Pedersen, in this context, explained that he sometimes traveled for free aboard ships and stayed for free in the houses of families who invited him and cooked for him.
He said now is enjoying his return home, and looking forward to seeing friends and family members he has not seen in years.
The Danish traveler is also planning to write a book and produce a documentary about his decade-long journey over the next year.