Torbjørn C. Pedersen, affectionately known as THOR is a Danish adventurer.
Thor is travelling to every country in the world, without flight! ‘Taken from his website’ I could have stayed at home, gone to the library, watched documentaries, spoken to people and explored the World from the comfort of a chair in familiar surroundings. However loosely translated from the Danish scientist, Piet Hein, I have read: “one must travel in order to understand that the World is round.”
With a background in logistics I have spent many hours planning the most optimal route in order to visit every country in the World. Well; here is the master plan by sequence and while it might not be pure genius it is the basics of what I am basing my travel plans on. Sure I might deviate from it a few times – but this is more or less how I have imagined working my way through 203 countries.
We had a very unfortunate recording situation and were only able to capture 12 mins of our conversation. It’s a sneak peek into our next meeting somewhere in the world. We will be sure to have him on the show again. Please reach out, learn more and share his journey.
Some key themes continued to show within our conversation with Thor. We have noted them and taken them from our detailed notes throughout our interview on Tuesday evening.
Thor related to us a story of his grandmother. Whom passed away while he was on his Saga. Now he had two options; to give up on his quest and return home for the funeral or continue on in the legacy of his grandmother. He chose the latter and described his grandmother as a lady of true strength, someone who was always proud and very much a role model for him. A lady, who he reflects, showed so much ‘SiSu’. He believes it was this ‘Sisu’ that was passed down to him that has assisted him on this epic journey through 194 countries and counting. He further went on to explain that SiSu, a Finnish word with no direct translation to english but is a concept that can only be described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. Sisu is proudly held by Finns as a definition of true character and Thor is most certainly someone who possesses it.
We asked Thor what he might miss when this Saga reaches its conclusion. He spoke about how much he truly enjoyed just simply observing day to day life in all the countries of the world. He mentioned that no matter what was happening in the news, or in the nearby countries. Life just simply continued on. People are always caring for one another, loving each other, laughing and enjoying is what life is all about. Witnessing the generosity of strangers on a daily basis never ceased to amazed him. The lengths that people would go to help him, even walking for 20 minutes in the wrong direction to ensure he found the place he needed to go. This he said is what he would miss, just the kindness and compassion of humanity.
Once he had to take a 12,000km detour because he couldn’t obtain a visa. He was in Mongolia and needed to travel through China to reach the highest paved mountain pass to pakistan. His visa for Pakistan was due to expire. After many discussions and against all his requests he was at a dead end. How does one get to Pakistan without travelling through Afghanistan when you are currently in a country that only borders two countries, one which would grant him a visa to pass through and one which would not. So it was back to the Russian embassy to try to get to Pakistan via Georgia, meaning applying for another visa. This too was rejected due to conflict with Georgia at the time. So back to the drawing board, another brainwave. To travel across Russia to Ukraine, from Ukraine to Armenia by ship then to Iran and finally Pakistan. Two days before his visa was due to expire. One 12,000km and 8 days of detour later he made it. We asked how he managed to cope with that mentally, the frustration, the disbelief and anger. He told us that he was angry for a few days but once he was on the move he was able to slowly calm down bring himself back to the present and refocus on the main goal ahead. Incredible.
‘A friend is a stranger that you have never met before’. On my journey I have been lucky to meet and make many many friends with some amazing people.
ON FINDING SOLUTIONS
A solution is just like opening a door. You approach a door only to find it locked. So you have two choices: you can sit down in front of the door to wait for it to open or try to find another door. You choose to keep looking, so you walk down the hallway and try more doors, still locked. You look at climbing over the door, still nothing. What about digging under the door, still nothing and then you walk further and further along until you eventually find the door that opens. Now this might take a week, a month, a year, or many years. The moral of the story is to keep searching for a solution because they are always there, even though you may not see them at first glance.
We are so looking forward to recording a full podcast with Thor soon. His plans are to leave Hong Kong as soon as possible, though the virus is making this rather difficult. If we can’t catch Thor in Hong Kong before his travels, we will meet him in Australia once he arrives.
If you have any questions for Thor or would like to know more information, please visit his website: http://www.onceuponasaga.dk/