Circumnavigating the globe is one thing. Doing it in style is a whole different story. People throughout history have found different ways to make traveling the world a bit more interesting. Let’s look back at 10 of the most unique circumnavigation records in history.
1. Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri
From 1693 to 1698, Careri made his way around the world via multiple voyages, which he paid for using his own money. He is regarded as the first tourist to successfully complete a global circumnavigation using nothing but public transportation.
Some believe that his journey served as the inspiration for Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.
2. Jeanne Baré/Jean Baret
Aside from being the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, Baré is also known for doing so disguised as a man called Jean Baret. She was part of Louis de Bougainville’s expedition from 1766 to 1769.
Dr. Philibert Commerçon, the expedition’s naturalist, needed Baré, his long-time housekeeper (and suspected mother of his illegitimate child), on board as an assistant because he was in poor health, but the French did not allow women on their navy ships at the time.
Baré’s was later on rewarded with an annual pension of 200 livres for her contributions to the expedition.
3. Dr. Hugo Eckener
Dr. Eckener is considered to be the most accomplished airship commander in history. He successfully set two circumnavigation records in 1929: one for the fastest aerial circumnavigation and another for the first ever circumnavigation on board an airship.
He completed his journey in just 21 days on board the German-built LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin.
4. Yuri Gagarin
The Soviet pilot and cosmonaut Gagarin was the first person to fly in space and circumnavigate the planet on board the Vostok 3KA spacecraft. The flight launched in 1961 and completed the orbit in only 108 minutes.
He received numerous medals and honors for his participation in the landmark mission.
5. Donald Taylor
In 1976, Taylor became the first person to ever build his own plane and successfully fly it around the world. It took him two attempts. The first one had to be cancelled due to bad weather so he made sure that his plane Victoria ’76 (named after Magellan’s only ship to complete its mission) was better equipped for the second attempt.
6. Marvin Creamer
Between 1982 and 1984, Creamer and his crew successfully circumnavigated the world without any nautical aids—not even a watch or a compass! He used winds, occasional signs of life, water currents and stars as guides. He is the only person known to have accomplished such a feat.
7. James Stephen Fossett
In 2002, Fossett successfully completed the first ever solo global circumnavigation on board a balloon. Fossett also set several other records including five continuous circumnavigations of the world on board an airplane.
8. Arthur Owen Blessitt
Blessitt is a Christian preacher best known for circling the globe while carrying a 45-pound (20-kilogram) wooden cross. He began his journey in 1971 and completed it in 2008, successfully bringing his cross (and Christian teachings) to every nation on earth.
He was arrested a total of 24 times along the way, but that did not stop him from finishing what he started.
9. Alan Bate
Bate successfully broke the record for the fastest global circumnavigation on board a bicycle in 2010. It took him a total of 96 days, 10 hours and three minutes, decisively shattering the previous record set by Mark Beaumont who cycled around the world in 194 days and 17 hours.
10. Laura Dekker
Dekker made her plans of circumnavigating the world alone public in 2009—she was only 15 then. Unfortunately, she was under shared custody of her parents at the time so a Dutch court prevented her plans from materializing. It was not until this custody arrangement was terminated about a year later that Dekker was finally able to set sail.
She completed her journey in January 2012, successfully breaking the record for the youngest person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the globe.
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