Most dogs (and their owners) love a good walk. It’s a time to enjoy the great outdoors, encounter new sights and smells, and get some exercise. Whether it’s a long walk or a short one, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with your faithful pooch. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk all around the world with your dog? Is it even possible? In May 2022, Tom Turcich proved it could be done when he completed a walk around the world with his mixed-breed dog, Savannah — the first canine to accomplish such a feat. It took them seven years.
The inspiration for the round-the-world journey came in 2006 when Turcich lost a good friend in a jet skiing accident when they were teenagers. Suddenly aware of his own mortality, Turcich grew determined to see the world, despite having little traveling, hiking, or camping experience. It took nine years of saving and planning before Turcich set off from his home in New Jersey in April 2015, shortly before turning 26.
He adopted his walking companion, Savannah, from an animal shelter in Austin, Texas, when she was just a puppy. Turcich thought he would feel safer with a dog around, especially when spending the night alone at a campsite.
Although a bacterial infection and the coronavirus pandemic temporarily got in the way, Turcich and Savannah never lost sight of their goal, walking up to 24 miles (39 km) per day. In the end, the pair traversed six continents and 38 countries together. Amazingly, Turcich recalls that he was often completely exhausted at the end of a long day of walking, yet Savannah seemed to have unlimited energy and would want to play.
A man and his dog on an incredible journey:
- Turcich documented his journey with Savannah on Instagram and on his blog, “The World Walk.” Starting in New Jersey, his route took him south into Mexico and Central America, then down through South America and by boat to Antarctica. He returned to the U.S. to wait for the paperwork to travel through Europe, but Turcich became very ill while in the U.K. He eventually resumed the trek through Europe, into North Africa, then through Turkey, Russia, and Central Asia. The last leg took him across the continental United States from Seattle back to New Jersey.
- In Turkey, Tom Turcich was permitted to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot, making him the first private citizen allowed to do so.
- Turcich and Savannah were forced to remain in Azerbaijan for six months at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Interestingly, Turcich describes walking across Wyoming as the most challenging part of the trip, because of how empty and desolate it was – he walked for days without seeing another person.
- Guinness World Records sets the requirements for traveling the whole world on foot at 18,000 miles (around 30,000 km) and at least four continents. By completing (and exceeding) these requirements, Turcich became the 10th person to circumnavigate the globe on foot, while Savannah became the first known dog.