Bent on Traveling

In August 1975, Michael Murphy left his home in Stevenage bent on traveling around the world by bicycle. Over the next two years he was robbed by Yugoslavian peasants, stoned by Afghani tribesmen, and nearly frozen to death in a Mongolian snowstorm.

"Maybe I'm crazy," he told a journalist from a hospital in Shanghai, "but since I was a child I have always wanted to see the world. I suppose I could have gone by plane but this seemed more exciting. I only hope that I don't have any more problems."

Murphy soon resumed his travels through China and arrived in South America exactly a year after leaving Britain. He stayed for a few weeks in Chile, continued on through Argentina, Brazil and Central America, and reached America in time for Christmas.

He celebrated the new year by cycling up the east coast into Canada, before finally returning to London's Heathrow Airport in April 1977. Having traveled 25,000 miles, he had only to ride the last forty miles home to Stevenage...

Alas, his hopes were crushed, as was his bicycle, by the carousel connecting the plane to the customs hall. Murphy, broke and broken, had to hitch a ride home in a car.

[Between January 2000 and September 2003, Herman and Candelaria Zapp completed all but 230 miles of a planned 40,000 mile trip from Argentina to the Arctic Ocean in a vintage 1928 Graham-Paige car emblazoned with the words: "Driving from Argentina to Alaska!" When the pair arrived at the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, however, they found that the tour operator responsible for issuing visitor passes to the area had closed. British Petroleum gave the pair permission to cross the oil fields to their final destination -- aboard a bus.]

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