How long would it take for someone to walk around the world?
It is close to 25,000 miles (circumference) around the Earth. The average walking speed for most people is about 3 miles per hour. So we’re looking at 8,300 hours of walking. Let’s figure a 10 hour walking day. That puts us at 830 days of walking, or about 2.7 years.
Such a feat (no pun intended) would require about 50 million steps, many pairs of shoes, good health, determination, and stamina. It would be an epic demonstration of human endurance and courage.
But a walk around plant Earth is complicated. There is no path entirely on land that would permit a 25,000 mile continuous trek. One would have to take a boat or plane for a substantial part of the trip.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the first verified walk around the Earth was made by Dave Kunst. It took four years, 21 million steps and 22 pairs of leather shoes for Kunst to complete his record-making 14,450-mile walk in 1974. His brother John accompanied him, but he was killed by bandits in Afghanistan. Dave Kunst completed the journey with another brother, Pete.
Kunst and his brothers hiked across Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East, and back to Europe.
The Guinness Book of Records lists Steve Newman as the first do walk around the world solo. It took Newman four years to cross 20 countries for a distance of 15,000 miles.
Jean Beliveau, a neon sign salesman from Quebec Canada, started his walk in 1998 at age 45. He hiked 45,000 miles through 64 countries in 11 years.
George Meegan holds the record for the longest unbroken walk. From 1977 to 1983, he walked 19,000 miles from Tierra Del Fuego, the southern tip of South America to the northernmost part of Alaska. Meegan covered the entire Western Hemisphere and the most degrees in latitude ever on foot.
There are ways of getting around the Earth besides walking. Some notable circumnavigations would include the Magellan-Elcano voyage. Magellan set out from Seville, Spain in 1519 with 5 ships and 270 men. One ship, the Victoria, with 18 men returned 3 years later. Four ships were destroyed or lost and Magellan himself was killed by hostiles in the Philippines.
The first airplane circumnavigation was carried out by the United States Army Air Service in 1924. The team of fliers took 175 days to go 27,340 miles. Four Douglas built aircraft were used and three finished the journey.
One of the most remarkable trips around the globe was the nine day 1986 non-stop, and non-refueled flight by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. Their composite (fiberglass, carbon fiber, Kevlar) aircraft, Voyager, had 17 fuel tanks. Their Voyager aircraft can be seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. A replica is on display at the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum at OshKosh, Wisconsin.