Danish Man Travels the World on $20 a Day

Torbjørn C. Pedersen has already visited 65 countries on his journey.

ByABC News
November 18, 2014, 12:21 PM
A Danish man, seen in this photo posted to the "Once Upon a Saga" Facebook page, is traveling the world without spending more than $20 a day.
A Danish man, seen in this photo posted to the "Once Upon a Saga" Facebook page, is traveling the world without spending more than $20 a day.
Once Upon a Saga/Facebook

— -- Think only millionaires and celebrities can dream of globetrotting all over the world? Think again.

Danish citizen Torbjørn C. Pedersen, 35, has been traveling since October 10, 2013, with the goal of visiting every country without stepping on an airplane and surviving on just $20 a day. While he expects to complete his journey within four years, Pedersen has already ticked 65 countries off his list.

"No one in history has ever gone to every country in the world without setting foot in an airplane," Pedersen told ABC News from his current location in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. "So this is an attempt to push that barrier and inspire others to travel on a cheap budget."

While his budget is small and his travel accommodations modest--he bunks down mostly at hostels and on the couches of generous hosts; he eats street food and cooks often--Pedersen does have a little help.

The trip is sponsored by Ross Offshore and Ross Engineering, a Norwegian management and consulting firm for the oil and gas industry. He has also been honored with the title of Goodwill Ambassador for the Danish Red Cross in exchange for documenting his experiences in an ongoing blog titled "Once Upon a Saga."

The predominantly positive stories and bootstrap approach has attracted an audience of more than 6,000 followers on Facebook. But the project does have its detractors.

In a recent AMA session on Reddit, Pedersen came under fire for stating that he intends to visit 203 countries, whereas only 195 are member states or observer states of the United Nations.

Others argue that the goal has already been achieved, pointing to British adventurer Graham Hughes, who was acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012 for visiting 201 countries continuously on a shoestring budget, without air travel.

Still, others expressed skepticism about how he will manage safe passage into North Korea or Liberia and through other conflict zones.

Pedersen stated that he hopes contacts he has made through the Red Cross may be able to help with the latter. He also hopes to "shine some light on the good well meaning population" of many countries and areas that he feels are unfairly represented in the media.

"All that sensational information about beheadings, corruption, disease, poverty, terror, destruction, etc. begins to form our worldview as we digest it day by day," he said.

He has, however, second-guessed a few decisions along the way.

Pedersen told ABC News that his most dangerous experiences so far were walking through a "very dodgy part of Panama City" and heading across the ocean from Venezuela to Trinidad & Tobago.

"We did it in a small open boat without any safety equipment," he said. "Also I didn't know the two other men very well but trusted them anyway. It all went as it should and there were no problems. In hindsight, it might not have been smart. But it was an adventure."