Lonely Planet Writer

10 people who went on epic journeys around the world in 2017

Here at Lonely Planet, we came across a host of people travelling around the world this year, using different forms of transport, for various reasons and taking all kinds of routes. The thing they had in common is that we were envious of them all, and in awe of the fun and special experiences they were enjoying. If you are thinking of heading away, take inspiration from these adventurers who are off living all of our dreams.

1. The New Zealander travelling the world in a hot air balloon

The hot air balloon has been flown in over 70 countries so far as part of the ambitious project. Image by Flying High for Kids

For the past four years, New Zealander Andrew Parker has been travelling the world with his hot air balloon, as part of an inspiring project that aims to spread cultural diversity and promote children’s right to education. Over the past few months, Andrew has travelled through Africa, and he plans to continue his journey in 2018 by going to South Africa, before shipping the truck and balloon to Colombia where he will follow a route through Central and North America.

2. The funny girl chinning her way around the world

Michelle Liu is “chinning” her way around the world. Image by Michelle Liu

An entertaining traveller is taking pictures with a difference of herself at various landmarks around the world. Michelle Liu snaps her Instagram selfies from an angle below her head and makes a funny face while doing it, a process that she has named “chinning.” Michelle began posting chin images when she moved to Vienna to study in September 2016, and this led to her snapping pictures at landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Eiffel Tower.

3. The pals from London travelling on a scooter with a sidecar 

Travel consultants plan round the world trip on a scooter
Reece Gilkes and Matt Bishop with their scooter and sidecar at Buckingham Palace. Photo courtesy of Flight Centre UK

London-based travel consultants, Reece Gilkes and Matt Bishop, have embarked on the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe on a scooter with a sidecar. Their journey will take 18 months to two years, and is raising awareness and money for Unseen UK who operate the UK’s Modern Slavery Helpline.  They hope to scoot across 50 countries in five continents and cover around 40,000 miles in the course of their epic trip.

4. The couple travelling with a toddler and new baby

A family portrait taken in San Francisco.
A family portrait taken in San Francisco. Image by Marissa HB Photography

Karen Edwards and Shaun Bayes from London are travelling with their toddler daughter Esme and baby Quinn, charting a route that started in Calgary and saw them road-tripping to Vancouver and down the entire west coast of the US before flying to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and New Zealand before heading home. They did the same thing when Esme was a baby, hitting the road for an adventure that took them across New Zealand and South East Asia

5. The man travelling around in a retired ambulance with his dog and fish

Ian with El Salvador at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Image by Ian Dow

Following a broken engagement, California native Ian Dow decided to purchase a retired ambulance from a charity organisation on eBay, and with the help of his father, converted it into a mobile living space that would change his life. Along with his dog Dino and his beta fish, Mr. Biggles, he has travelled across mainland Mexico and down the Pacific coast, and when we met him, he had covered approximately 6000 miles.

6. The blind and partially deaf traveller who has conquered 125 countries

Tony at The Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Tony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Image by Tony Giles

Tony Giles from England has spent the last few years travelling as much as possible. To date, his adventures have included seeing all 50 US states, all ten Canadian provinces, crossing the Arctic Circle by boat, bungee jumping 16 times and taking part in three skydives. Having been born with a rare genetic impairment that resulted in cone dystrophy and photo phobia, and discovering that he was partially deaf in both ears at the age of six, Tony’s path to a life of travel called for him to adapt and pick up unique skills, but his interest in the open road was obvious from a very young age.

7. The ER doctor who combines his medical skills with his love of travel

Andrew Peacock travels the world as an expedition doctor. Image by Andrew Peacock

An Australian emergency room doctor has come up with the perfect plan to combine his love of travel and photography, along with his medical skills. For about six months of the year, Andrew Peacock works in the accident and emergency department of a busy hospital in Brisbane. For the rest of the year, he treks the world – working as an expedition doctor or as an adventure photographer – or sometimes both. He’s helped mountaineers tackle peaks in Nepal and Tibet, and has worked as a doctor on a charity climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.

8. The Dutch photographer who travels around photographing old and abandoned buildings

A piano in a dust covered palace somewhere in Poland.
A piano in a dust covered palace somewhere in Poland. Image by Roman Robroek

Dutch photographer Roman Robroek has visited approximately 500 locations around Europe to capture a range of haunting and beautiful abandoned buildings from across Europe, including closed power plants, former hotels, and once-decadent palaces. These include images taken in countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Hungary, Romania, Poland and Italy, and this year, he has chosen Ukraine as his destination to photograph.

9. The woman funding her world travels through blogging

When it comes to dream jobs, being a full-time travel blogger with the ability to make enough money to fund trips and live comfortably is way up at the top of the list for many people. For 29-year old Alyssa Ramos, the journey towards making that dream a reality proved to be challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding. Today, Alyssa has travelled to approximately 70 countries and has amassed nearly 130,000 followers on Instagram, as well as having a wide online readership for her blog

10. The man travelling and working all over the world for a year

Guatape, Colombia. Image by Richard Silver

Giving up a great job to go travelling for a year can be daunting, so what if you could hit the road and work at the same time? Richard Silver, a photographer from New York City, has done just that, heading out on a year of travel and documenting the experience along the way. Richard decided to leave residential real estate photography to focus on combining photography and travel, something he had previously done on the three to four international trips he was taking each year. Now, his year-long travel itinerary is part of Remote Year, a programme for people who are able to work remotely and want to travel long-term. He is part of a group of 75 people working all over the world for one-full year.