Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5:1, Continent Run Summarised

The world record was celebrated with Ana Carolina Suárez (middle), Angie Velazco (far right) and their Venezuelan friend.
On June 18 I set out on a rather wild journey. The goal was to visit five continents in one day, using only public transport. It was based on an idea I got when travelling a few years ago, to visit as many continents as possible in one day. I am extremely happy to say that I succeeded, going through passport control in continent number 5 at 22:15 with 105 minutes to go before midnight. And I am equally happy to see that Adrian Butterworth of Adelia Television completed the same mission on the same day, working as director on a documentary about the untraditional and semi-crazy journey. The itinerary? We kept everyone but a very few guessing.

'Most continents visited in one calendar day' was approved as a Guinness World Record March 14, 2014.

Watch the preview video here.

Asia, Continent #1
We started in Asia. The reason was simple. Availability of flights. In particular a very early morning flight to our next continent, a prerequisite to be able to complete the task on time. We even started in Istanbul, a city on two continents. But to go for the easy way out and visit two continents in the same country was not even considered. Too easy! Easy is boring. So, we decided to only focus on the Asian part of Istanbul. - There's nothing worth seeing there, my friends from the west side of town said, but I was soon introduced to their eastern friends when I stubbornly insisted and explained the concept. Eastern Istanbul is ace and has a more tranquil atmosphere than the west. I would say, based on only a weekend there.


The flight was scheduled to leave at 01:10, but was 19 minutes late. No good start as we of obvious reasons had very limited time on each continent. My Air Arabia debut was slightly surprising. For the first time on any flight I have been on, the flight deck started it all off by a travel prayer. In Arabic. I guess it worked. We didn't crash.

Arrival in Africa was only 7 minutes late, so we must have been speeding.

Flight: Istanbul (SAW) - Casablanca (CMN): 01:10-04:10 - Air Arabia 3O 2438

Africa, Continent #2
We arrived in Casablanca just after 4 in the morning. We were picked up by Nawal in the airport. She drove fast, almost furious. Red lights were ignored as a rule. Adrian wasn't too happy about the situation though as the availability of seatbelts in the backseat was zero. But we got to the great mosque on time, although Adrian's shots from the car weren't exactly steady. And that was not due to alcohol consumption onboard the plane. Air Arabia doesn't serve alcohol.

Our first stop was the mosque, the third biggest in the world. Setting up equipment for an interview in front of it at 4:45 in the morning may not have been the most clever of plans. The church police, I mean the mosque police, was not impressed. We were asked to leave the sacred ground in front of the mosque. We did, and did the interview just outside. That was seen as us loopholing, and our interview was interrupted after a few minutes. There was no doubt that we had to leave fast unless we wanted the opportunity to film an African police station. We moved on to sites with lower police penetration to finish the interview.

The ride back to the airport was slightly slower. - The police has woken up now, she explained.

Air France was next up. Their 07:35 flight to Paris stays overnight in Casablanca, so we were rather confident there would be no delays. The French did not disappoint and took off 7 minutes early.

Flight: Casablanca (CMN) - Paris (CDG): 07:35-11:35 - Air France AF 1697.

Thumbs up for 5:1.

Europe, Continent #3
Europe was our Achilles heel. We had 1 hour and 55 minutes between flights and needed to change terminal in the meantime in addition to meeting and getting to know our local contact, doing stand ups and getting footage. Air France first gave us two additional minutes. Then they added an hour by delaying their departure to continent number four.

Flight: Paris (CDG) - Punta Cana (PUJ): 13:30-16:20 - Air France AF 3563.

North America, Continent #4
The delay from Paris gave us less time than we had anticipated and robbed me of a swim with dolpins that we had arranged with the dolpin trainer at a marine park. We still had time for some relaxation on a beach 20 minutes away from the airport. The islanders do see themselves as Caribbeans, but Dominican Republic is geographically speaking one out of 23 countries in North America. It is refreshingly free from white tennis shoes, though.

We almost missed our departure from Punta Cana as the airline decided to start boarding 30 minutes early. Ade had to leave the burger he had ordered in order to be let onboard. An airline that departs before schedule? Gol is certainly not your ordinary airline.

Flight: Punta Cana (PUJ) - Caracas (CCS): 21:00-22:05 - GOL G3 7625

South America, Continent #5
We arrived in Caracas, had to fill in three different forms and were eventually allowed to enter the country at 22:15. I have never felt better getting a stamp in my passport. Very relieving! Angie was going to meet us in the airport. She did. With four friends! We suddenly experienced a welcome committee. They drove us downtown and straight to the bar. Celebration was on! And we had company of four Venezuelan stunning girls. And a guy. We had just experienced our longest Monday ever. But the night was still young. 

Television documentaries
The trip will result in a full-length documentary in two versions, Norwegian and English, and a 90 second long short version in english. The full-length film is still being worked on (March 2013). Do get in touch if you are interested in watching a precut version or if you are interesting in airing it.

Too little material for the documentaries?
Some are critical to the limited amount of material we will get after such a journey, and they are of course right. When planning it we decided to follow the same route back and stop for a few days on each location in order to have more time for interviews and getting footage. We will then have footage from the record trip itself and footage from the return. How we differentiate the footage remains to be seen. Although some of it may be obvious. We did for example not see Morocco in daylight on June 18.

What next?
Where else will we visit? We have many plans, but are very open to suggestions and are happy to hear from you.