Meigo Märk, a native of Estonia in eastern Europe, decided to expand his horizons and see new countries. To accomplish this goal, he didn’t take trains, planes or busses. He did things the old-fashioned way, walking across a total of 22 countries and two continents. Not only does this method of travel save thousands of dollars, it allows you to connect more to your surroundings.
Instead of flying 30,000 miles above the scenery or speeding through it in a car, Meigo chose a more personal experience. Walking allowed him to slow down and immerse himself in his travels rather than rush from place to place. He’d dreamed of traveling the world, mostly on foot, for quite some time. One day, he finally decided to embark on this great adventure.
“I started walking to fulfill this dream over 6 years ago in May 2014 from my home country in Estonia. Currently I have walked through 22 countries, a total distance of 22,000 kilometers or 12,427 miles,” Meigo said.
It took him four years and three months, and 24 different pairs of shoes to traverse this distance. Meigo’s journey began in Estonia, located just south of Finland across the Gulf of Finland. He then worked his way south through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Next, he traveled into Serbia, then Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. The final leg of his journey included Laos, Vietnam (his current location), Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
While he walked most of the way, he also used boats, ships and planes to cross waterways when necessary. In some dangerous and restricted areas, he sometimes took busses as well. 20,000 kilometers marks the distance Meigo traveled solely by walking. He didn’t include any miles traveled using transportation in his calculations.
The man who walked across twenty-two countries and two continents
He walked an average of 25-35 kilometers per day (about fifteen to twenty miles), with a record of 64 kilometers (just under forty miles). For him, the journey wasn’t about setting world records or moving quickly. He wanted to slow down and take time to connect with the cultures of the countries he visited.
“I started this long walk because it felt like the only right thing to do next with my life. I felt that I had enough energy to walk thousands of miles across continents, that I really had to do it. At least I should start and try! In the long walking journey through 22 countries, I have shortly lived and slept in over 220 local homes together with the local families,” Meigo explained.
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“Can you imagine over 220 different families in different countries with very different cultural, religious and financial backgrounds? I have lived with families in a huge slum in India, in a house with no windows, stayed in the homes of multimillionaires in Singapore, lived in a small bamboo hut in the remote mountain jungle of Nepal, and stayed with the nuns and monks in a Zen monastery in the hills of Vietnam. I crossed vast natural landscapes, and I was sleeping alone in a tent for over 650 nights.”
Meigo documented his travels on social media, and it seems that every country welcomed him with open arms. On his blog, he said that over 1700 people in different countries offered to help him. They gave him water, clothing, food, tea, coffee, money and other gifts. Some even helped him by fixing his clothes, bags and shoes.
Perhaps most astonishingly, he began his journey with just eight euros in his pocket. He used that money to buy bread and asked locals for water. Along the way, he collected, washed and ate edible leaves from the roadside for sustenance.
Meigo’s incredible journey is far from over.
Meigo wouldn’t let finances keep him from fulfilling his dream of seeing the world.
To keep funding his travels, he decided to rent out his home to travelers or locals. He’d lived in the old wooden home buried deep within a forest for 5 years. Later on, he ended up selling the home to make traveling easier.
“I have learned that every single heartbeat and every breath is an unrepeatable gift, and a true miracle! And even though it is very easy to complain about everything, we should still try to be appreciative and grateful – grateful even for all the difficulties and challenges of life because they can really help us to become wiser, better, and stronger,” Meigo says.
Meigo set an ultimate goal of walking a minimum distance equal to the circumference of the planet’s equator. This equates to 40,075 kilometers or 24,901 miles around the world. He wants to continue the journey with his wife and daughter, who would travel nearby him in a camping car. It’s certainly a remarkable goal, and we wish him the best in achieving it!
According to his latest YouTube videos, he’s currently staying in a village in Vietnam. It seems he’s been there for about a year now with his wife and daughter. Some of the videos include evening walks with his family, planting rice, and cleaning up trash in the rice fields. It also shows various festivities in the village, including a parade, yoga day, and Christmas dances. It looks like Miego’s dream became a reality, and we can’t wait to see where he walks to next!
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Final thoughts on the man walking his way across many countries
Seeing new countries doesn’t have to mean shelling out thousands of dollars. Oftentimes, the locals will let you stay with them, allowing you to experience their culture first-hand. It might seem scary to leave behind everything you know, but as they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. That’s the premise behind Meigo’s dream of seeing countries all over the world.
He, his wife and daughter have had incredible experiences in countries like India, Thailand and Greece. He’s traveled over 20,000 kilometers on foot, and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. It seems like he’s settled in Vietnam for the time being. But with 20,000 kilometers left to meet his goal, we have no doubt he’ll be back on the road before long.