People Daily

Folks who endured unbelievable journeys!

From a guy who walked for 12 years from Togo to Greenland to another who trekked backwards for 13,000km, here are epitomes of endurance whose Odysseys surpass comprehension!

Bloke trudged for 12 years from Togo to Greenland to escape shadowy snakes

Tété-Michel Kpomassie was born in 1941, in Togo. When he was a young man, he was in the jungle when he was almost killed by a python. After recovering from injuries, Kpomassie found a children’s book about Greenland.

Not only did this country have no snakes, but it had no trees in which they might hide. He fell immediately in love with the country and ran away from home, with the sole idea of somehow reaching Greenland.

For the next twelve years he travelled, refusing to stay in one place more than six months, and worked his way through the countries of West Africa, into Europe, and finally, in the mid-1960s, found a boat to Greenland.

All the while, he taught himself languages through correspondence courses and made an endless number of friends through his skills as a story-teller and natural charm. The story of his adventures in Greenland can be found in his book, published in France in 1977, An African in Greenland.

Man who walked backwards 13,000km from US to Turkey

Plennie Wingo walked backwards from Santa Monica, California, to Istanbul, Turkey, about 13,000 km, from April 15, 1931 to October 24, 1932 at the age of 36. He documented his voyage in the book Around the world backwards. To do so, he wore periscopic eyeglasses, fastened over his ears like regular spectacles, which enabled him to see where he was walking.

Trekked on stilts for 2,900km!

In 1891 Sylvain Dornon, the stilt walker of Landes, stilt walked from Paris to Moscow via Vilno covering a total distance of 2,945 kilometres. He started his journey on March 12, 1891.

Although this long trek on stilts constituted a genuine curiosity not only to the Russians, to whom this sort of locomotion was unknown, but also to many Frenchmen.

Cleric crawled for 2,500km to urge countrymen to pray and repent

In 1978, a 39-year-old Baptist minister Hans Mullikin arrived at the White House after crawling 2,574 kilometres from Marshall, Texas. His legs were wrapped in furs and sheathed in thin galvanised steel; one of his wheels on his armrests was smaller than the other to compensate for road-grade.

On November, 1978 he ended his two and a half year crawl only to hear from an aide that President Carter was too busy to see him. “I just wanted to show America that we need to get on our knees and repent,” Mullikin told reporters. “This is something I had in my heart and wanted to do for my country.”

Activist traversed country pushing wheelbarrow

David Baird completed his Herculean 112-day journey pushing a wheelbarrow across Australia (that’s 4,115 km), to raise money for breast and prostate cancer research. He ran the equivalent of one hundred full marathons in just 112 days.

Taking in about 70 towns along the way, Baird said he pushed the wheelbarrow for between 10 and 12 hours a day. During the charity run well-wishers threw more than an equivalent of Sh2 million into the barrow.

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