herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Meet the Irishman who travelled around the world without using planes

travel

Niall with altitude sickness
Niall with altitude sickness
Niall Doherty
Niall in La Cuidad

An Irishman who set himself a challenge to go around the world without using planes is to finally return home on Saturday after three-and-a-half years travelling through 37 countries.

Niall Doherty (33), from Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, started his adventure in September 2011.

He travelled east through Europe, the Middle East and Asia before spending 26 days on a cargo ship from Japan to Peru.

After working his way up through the Americas, Doherty crossed the Atlantic aboard a cruise ship from Miami to Barcelona.

"It's been a great trip. I've learned a lot about myself," Niall told the Herald.

As a self-employed web developer, Niall funded his travels working from his laptop wherever he could find an internet connection.

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"Travelling through Iran was amazing. I didn't realise my bank cards wouldn't work there so I had to ask a lot of strangers for help," he said.

"I also lived in Nepal for five months and made some good friends there. It's heartbreaking now to see what's happened in Kathmandu.

"Getting out of India without flying was tough, but it turned out great when I scored a free ride on a cruise ship."

Niall said that he was very lonely at times, but found company in surprising places.

"I lived in Thailand for several months and fell in love with a girl there. We had a great time together, climbing abandoned skyscrapers and sneaking into national parks," he said.

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"The toughest thing has been bouts of loneliness and feeling cut off. The first two years it wasn't really an issue, but the last year or so it has weighed heavily on me."

He had one major setback when he was supposed to get a cargo ship across the Pacific from South Korea but was turned back by officials which cost a lot of money.

But he said that travelling has put everything into perspective.

"The importance of family has really become clear to me after being away for so long," Niall added.

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