Wouldn’t we all like to do what Phileas Fogg did? To cross continents and oceans in search of new experiences, preferably for a really long time? Maybe that’s why Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ still resonates nearly 150 years on: we’re restless, insatiable explorers one and all.
That’s obviously one of many reasons the past year has been frustrating. But now the world is opening up a bit more, perhaps it’s time to think about indulging that globe-trotting instinct as fully as possible – maybe even by doing precisely what Fogg did. To mark the anniversary of Verne’s novel, one travel firm is organising a tour that lets travellers circumnavigate the world in 80 days. And to pay homage to Fogg’s journey, participants won’t even have to jump on a single aeroplane.
Travellers will start the epic three-month trip in London, before heading by train to Paris, Zurich, Vienna, and Lviv in Ukraine. They will then travel by sleeper to Moscow, before taking further trains along the historic Silk Road trade route through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China, including stints in Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. And in probably the biggest challenge of the journey, participants will then board a cargo vessel on a whopping 16-day crossing of the Pacific to North America (so, uh, don’t sign up if you get seasick easily).
The second leg of the tour will include stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, and a trans-continental rail trip across Canada from Vancouver to Toronto. You will then spend a few days in both Montreal and Halifax, before boarding a cargo ship across the Atlantic back to Southampton in the UK.
That itinerary is kinda exhausting just to think about, but if it does sound like your sort of thing, you’ll also have to have pretty deep pockets. Prices for the round-the-world trip, which is organised by Undiscovered Destinations, start at a mere £17,950 per person (including accommodation, transport, entrance fees and some food).
But listen up: if you’ve read the novel, you’ll know that back in 1872, Fogg made the trip on a massive £20,000 wager (£2.3 million in today’s money). So maybe, actually, it’s a bargain?
Plus: you can now travel through Mexico on an all-you-can-drink tequila train.