Where The Hell Is Niall?


On September 30, 2011, I left my hometown in Ireland to embark on a 4-year trip around the world without flying. I have a loose plan of the route I hope to take and the countries I hope to visit. I spend just a few hours in some places, a few months in others. The map below shows my progress.

Next up (October 2014): I made it up the Amazon and through Venezuela, and am now stopped in Colombia for a couple of months. I’m aiming to be in Panama for Christmas and then on through Central America to New Orleans for March 2015 (Mardi Gras!).

Destination Arrival
1 Slieverue, Ireland -
2 Dublin, Ireland September 30, 2011
3 Liverpool, England October 1, 2011
4 Durham, England October 2, 2011
5 London, England October 6, 2011
6 Brighton, England October 11, 2011
7 London, England October 13, 2011
8 Amsterdam, Netherlands October 14, 2011
9 Frankfurt, Germany November 4, 2011
10 Munich, Germany November 8, 2011
11 Zurich, Switzerland November 15, 2011
12 Vienna, Austria November 23, 2011
13 Budapest, Hungary November 23, 2011
14 Cluj, Romania January 27, 2012
15 Bucharest, Romania January 31, 2012
16 Istanbul, Turkey February 22, 2012
17 Ankara, Turkey February 26, 2012
18 Van, Turkey March 1, 2012
19 Tehran, Iran March 3, 2012
20 Isfahan, Iran March 8, 2012
21 Bandar Abbas, Iran March 11, 2012
22 Sharjah, United Arab Emirates March 13, 2012
23 Mumbai, India March 30, 2012
24 New Delhi, India April 10, 2012
25 Gorakhpur, India April 21, 2012
26 Bhairahawa, Nepal April 21, 2012
27 Kathmandu, Nepal April 22, 2012
28 Pokhara, Nepal August 25, 2012
29 Poon Hill, Nepal August 30, 2012
30 Pokhara, Nepal August 30, 2012
31 Kathmandu, Nepal September 1, 2012
32 Bhairahawa, Nepal September 17, 2012
33 Gorakhpur, India September 17, 2012
34 Chennai, India September 20, 2012
35 Kochi, India October 3, 2012
36 New Delhi, India October 28, 2012
37 Goa, India November 7, 2012
38 Kochi, India November 9, 2012
39 Colombo, Sri Lanka November 13, 2012
40 Phuket, Thailand November 16, 2012
41 Chiang Mai, Thailand November 20, 2012
42 Vientiane, Laos December 13, 2012
43 Chiang Mai, Thailand December 15, 2012
44 Bangkok, Thailand December 28, 2012
45 Otres Beach, Cambodia March 12, 2013
46 Crusoe Island, Cambodia March 14, 2013
47 Bangkok, Thailand March 16, 2013
48 Kanchanaburi, Thailand April 9, 2013
49 Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand April 10, 2013
50 Mae Sot, Thailand April 11, 2013
51 Chiang Mai, Thailand April 12, 2013
52 Bangkok, Thailand April 16, 2013
53 Kanchanaburi, Thailand June 8, 2013
54 Bangkok, Thailand June 10, 2013
55 Vientiane, Laos June 12, 2013
56 Bangkok, Thailand June 15, 2013
57 Ko Sichang, Thailand June 22, 2013
58 Bangkok, Thailand June 25, 2013
59 Khao Yai National Park, Thailand July 19, 2013
60 Bangkok, Thailand July 22, 2013
61 Vientiane, Laos July 29, 2013
62 Hanoi, Vietnam July 30, 2013
63 Nanning, China August 2, 2013
64 Hong Kong, China August 3, 2013
65 Nanning, China September 28, 2013
66 Hanoi, Vietnam September 29, 2013
67 Vientiane, Laos October 3, 2013
68 Bangkok, Thailand October 5, 2013
69 Chiang Mai, Thailand October 9, 2013
70 Tachileik, Myanmar October 17, 2013
71 Chiang Mai, Thailand October 17, 2013
72 Vientiane, Laos October 31, 2013
73 Chiang Mai, Thailand November 2, 2013
74 Bangkok, Thailand November 23, 2013
75 Chiang Mai, Thailand November 30, 2013
76 Nangoua, Laos December 7, 2013
77 Luang Prabang, Laos December 8, 2013
78 Kunming, China December 15, 2013
79 Chongqing, China December 16, 2013
80 Chengdu, China December 21, 2013
81 Qingdao, China December 23, 2013
82 Incheon, South Korea December 27, 2013
83 Busan, South Korea December 27, 2013
84 Gimhae, South Korea January 28, 2014
85 Busan, South Korea February 4, 2014
86 Osaka, Japan February 5, 2014
87 Kyoto, Japan February 5, 2014
88 Yokohama, Japan February 14, 2014
89 Manzanillo, Mexico March 2, 2014
90 Panama City, Panama March 7, 2014
91 Lima, Peru March 13, 2014
92 Cusco, Peru March 15, 2014
93 Machu Picchu, Peru March 22, 2014
94 Cusco, Peru March 23, 2014
95 La Paz, Bolivia April 26, 2014
96 Uyuni, Bolivia May 1, 2014
97 La Paz, Bolivia May 2, 2014
98 Santa Cruz, Bolivia May 3, 2014
99 Campo Grande, Brazil May 5, 2014
100 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil May 6, 2014
101 Belo Horizonte, Brazil May 10, 2014
102 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil August 18, 2014
103 Belo Horizonte, Brazil August 31, 2014
104 Salvador, Brazil September 8, 2014
105 Fortaleza, Brazil September 12, 2014
106 Belém, Brazil September 16, 2014
107 Santarém, Brazil September 27, 2014
108 Manaus, Brazil September 29, 2014
109 Lago Juma, Brazil October 1, 2014
110 Manaus, Brazil October 3, 2014
111 Boa Vista, Brazil October 7, 2014
112 Santa Elena, Venezuela October 7, 2014
113 Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela October 8, 2014
114 Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela October 8, 2014
115 Maracaibo, Venezuela October 9, 2014
116 Maicao, Colombia October 9, 2014
117 Santa Marta, Colombia October 10, 2014
118 La Ciudad Perdida, Colombia October 13, 2014
119 Santa Marta, Colombia October 15, 2014
120 Medellin, Colombia October 20, 2014

Overlooking Tehran, March 2012

Overlooking Tehran, March 2012

Abandoned skyscraper in Bangkok, April 2013

Abandoned skyscraper in Bangkok, April 2013

Feeling a little out of place in Nanning, China, August 2013

Feeling a little out of place in Nanning, China, August 2013

Mumbai slum, March 2012

Mumbai slum, March 2012

Hopping a sleeper train from Zurich to Vienna – November, 2011

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    • Thanks for the comment, Sysilia. A friend told me about the Holi festival recently and I researched it online. Looks absolutely amazing, and I hope I make it to India in time for that.

      I also hope to visit Indonesia at some point, so hopefully we’ll get to meet there :-)

  1. Nepal is supposed to be beautiful in October, and I’ll be living there by then!
    If not, maybe we’ll meet on the beaches of Goa this May :)

  2. Seems you are in KTM currently. That’s where I live. So what are you planning to do there for 2 months? I am happy you’re here because now I’ll get to read adventures of my place in your blog. :)
    This place should be cheap for you.
    I hope to see you somewhere in KTM somehow.Hehe.
    Enjoy! and have a great time in KTM :-)

  3. Just found your site Niall, I’m looking forward to following your journey. Would love to see more photos of your travels.

  4. Love to see you in Australia sometime. There’ll be a bed, mattress or couch or something for as long as you need in the Brisbane area (not sure where I’ll be when or if you get here).

  5. its festival season here in India ,
    dushera followed by Diwali .
    the biggest festival in India .
    and there is theater sort of stage play about the life of lord Rama every night .
    its kind of hilarious.

    Good luck ..

  6. May I suggest when you get to Thailand you make contact with the various expat newspapers, radio and tv stations.
    They’re always looking for interesting stories and as every expat is a traveller they can strike a a chord with you.

    Have a great time.


  7. Man! I’m Indian American and my parents are from Kochi and I get there next week! I’ve been addicted to your blog for about an hour now. Would’ve loved to meet with you and show you around the city. Its a great place (I lived there for 6 years) with lots of history (most of which is in ruins, and not on the tourist trail- which btw is usually colonial-centric). If you ever come back to Kochi around December any year, hit me up.

  8. I’ll be in Surat, Gujarat, India this June, 2013. In January, 2014, I may be in Bangkok doing an TEFL internship. Maybe we can meet up for some chai or chā at either place. :)

  9. Stumbled on your site by accident and its quite cool. Your adventures is now part of many people around the world, including me :) thanks for sharing.

  10. I just started following your amazing journey. How did you cross over from Iran to Dubai and also from Sri Lanka to Phuket Indonesia ? Is crossing by boat cheaper than flying ?

    • Hi Sunny,

      Iran to Dubai was done by overnight ferry. Pretty easy. India to Sri Lanka to Phuket was done on a cruise ship. You can read more about that here.

      I wouldn’t say traveling as I am is cheaper than flying. It can be much more expensive actually, as cargo and cruise ships aren’t cheap to hitch a ride on. Flights can be ridiculously cheap sometimes.

  11. Wow. What a brave man. So what does a single mom in her mid forties doing a stressful job as a city bus driver do. I own my house and pay the bills on time. Both of these things are a great achievement for me. I don’t depend on anyone else and have a good enough relationship with the kids father because we don’t argue about money. My kids are number one because that is what I value and that feels great. They are also young so I can’t just drop everything and follow my heart. But I don’t really like my job and my life feels very mediocre. I worry that my kids see a mama that is unhappy and stressed out. I also care way too much about what other people think. The public hates us drivers because our service is always late. And the other drivers are often mean to each other because they are stressed out. One of the things that I care about is social justice. If I could do anything I would be involved in something that makes a difference to those that struggle. I also love art. When I drive the bus I get to treat many lonely people with deep respect. At the same time these people give me a feeling that I am not alone. In some ways I love this crazy job because I don’t feel so alone. I think it was Mother Theresa that said that lonliness is the greatest poverty. It is lonliness that I struggle with. And it is the fear of lonliness that makes me care so much about what others think. I hope you keep up your fearlessness. Good luck.

    • Hi Nelly,

      Thanks for the comment. First thing I’ll say is that fear is relative! You might I’m brave for what I’m doing, but I consider parenting (let alone single parenting!) to be much scarier than traveling around the world.

      As for what you should do, I’d recommend seeking out other single parents who have made the leap from a less than ideal job to something much more fulfilling. Take advice from those who have already done what you’d like to do.

      One thing I might be able to help you with is caring too much what other people think. Read this post and the comments.

      All the best!

  12. just found your site while surfing the web, searching the topic of separating from the status-quo, media, distractions, etc.
    i will be reading all i can here as i find what you are doing fascinating, and inspiring. i am kicking myself for not figuring this all out sooner. thanks for the site and i look forward to reading of your adventures. p.s. wth did they think of you in Iran? the media has us all brainwashed here in the US into thinking you would be nutz to go there nowadays.

      • still attempting to catch up to you chronologically. (i hate watching a movie after it’s started) i home-school my kids and you have become part of their social studies curriculum. (no worries). anyhoo, i am wondering if you are on the way to Hong Kong?

  13. Hi Niall, Just found your site – no idea why I hadn’t seen it before to be honest! No flights? Thats amazing. I’m a backpacker who hates flying but sadly Ive been on over 200 flights the last 10 years or so on my adventures – would love to do it without flying sometime. I used to work on ferries and loved it. Where are you now and where are you heading next? Safe travels, Jonny

    • Hey Johnny,

      Weird, I think I just saw your site for the first time today, too, even before you left this comment. I think it showed up in my buddy Carlo’s feed on Facebook :-)

      I’m in Hong Kong right now, and heading back down to Thailand for October, then will make a break for Australia.

  14. Round the world sailors sail from west to east and past Cape Horn so there must be others making that trip…….. just need to find them !!!!! But they do tend to stay further south so you might have to make landfall in Sothern Chile or Argentina !!!!

  15. Wow Niall all those places you’ve been to!, all those landscapes all those people, all those memories. Travel is life, no school classroom can teach you all that. Australia will be great worked my way round there for 2 years.

  16. Great site. Very inspiring …
    One remark though. Why isn’t Belgium (and especially Ghent) on your list? Why, Niall? Why?
    I’d love to make some changes in my life. Just don’t seem to know what I really want (and believe me, I already thought about it a lot). Guess I’m one of those people who like a lot of things a little bit or just for a while and then lose interest. Makes it a kinda hard to make big decisions :-(
    Thanks for the site. I’d love to read more about your adventures and life style.

  17. great website and journey mate , if you fancy somewhere cheap, clean with a pool in chiang mai try the poolside bar next to Prince Hotel , ask for Neng who owns it . cheers

  18. I would love to be able to do what you are doing. I have been able to travel to 50 countries over the past 25 years, but travel is something you definitely have to make happen in your life. Still, if I could quit my current job and make traveling my job, I’d be in heaven. Enjoy yourself! Looking forward to reading your updates.

  19. Hi Niall I’m a girl from Iran I read about you in our newspaper & I wanted to know more about you!It’s so hard to travel around the world without flying! Congratulations!!! I become really happy that you came Iran! What was the most beautiful thing that you saw in Iran?
    Please come to Iran again and come to my city!
    Good luck

    • Hi Mary. Thanks for the comment. I didn’t know I was in a newspaper in Iran. Which one? Can you send me a photo of the article?

      The most beautiful thing I saw in Iran? The people. Everyone was so nice and warm to me :-)

      • Hi Niall . I don’t have the newspaper sorry! It’s name was ”Hamshahri” & I can describe it to you it translated all you said in Persian & it has 2 pics. One was you with two Iranian guys and another one was the picture of azadi tower! And it wrote at the end that when you saw an Iranian family that were saying goodbye to their son you cried with them!!! Is it right? Thank you so much Irish people are good also! :-)

      • Hello Niall,

        I’m João, from Governador Valadares, MG and I lived in BH for 7 years.
        Now, I’m living in the States, Massachusetts, close from Boston.
        Boston and BH are like sister cities. A lot pubs, universities and beautiful girls.
        And, the Irish culture is too strong there.
        I loved your video in that cargo ship.
        Take care.

  20. awesome stuff Niall…lookin forward to seeing the rest, filling in the blanks…somehow reminds me of friends who rode a freight train barge some years back to Alaska…were there other passengers on your trans-Pacific container trip? was it easy to get a tick?….keep on keepin on!!…

  21. I thought you were off your rocker when I first read what your plan was… now im living vicariously through the stages of your journey! Congrats on having the courage to embark on this and to just get to know yourself whilst experiencing the world. I’ll look forward to reading your book :) Question : What’s the ‘biggest’ thing you’ve learned about yourself in the last 2 years?

    • Hey Jenny :-)

      Good question. There’s a lot I’ve learned about myself, not sure if I could pick one thing. I’ve definitely learned a lot about patience, acceptance and resilience. I’ve learned a lot about dating, relationships and love. I’ve learned a lot about what’s important to me and in which parts of the world my values are best reflected.

      And I’ve learned the Spanish word for “windscreen” :-P

  22. A great adventure Niall and thanks for sharing, it makes you realise that Ireland is just a tiny dot on the planet and there are plenty of opportunities and good people in the world that are perhaps not so fortunate as we are. You certainly make it look easy but I know that it isn’t, keeping well is the most important thing when you are on your own. Good luck with the rest of your travels.B-)

  23. Love your passenger dance, Niall! What a crossing, amazing.
    Definitely interested in all your adventures, keep ‘em coming :)
    Take care x

  24. Looks like you leaped New Zealand (and Australia, which you may as well visit if you’re that close). I might be able to help with anything if you come through Adelaide.

  25. Hello Niall, Its looks like you are doing something which many of us always dream about but unable to do so because of many bindings. But still looking at your travels make us happy. I think you should visit Bangladesh. Its just beside India and Nepal and full of natural beauties. So contact me if necessary if u can manage time to visit Bangladesh.

  26. I hope you are enjoying Bh like I enjoyed your country, I discovered how irish people can be as brasilian in a friendly way! I lived in Dublin an year ago. Dublin will be in my heart also into me forever! I hope you take the same feeling from here! Have an amazing experience wherever you go! Take the best from everywhere and I hope that the contact with differents culture make a difference in you life! Well project!

  27. Come to Malaysia.. nice people, great food (Malay, Chinese, Indian, you name it), great weather. Don’t worry, we speak fair amount of English here.

  28. oh man you should really take some time to stop by taiwan, it’s awesome here. Great weather, awesome food, awesome people, definitely try and stop by here next time your around japan, korea, hong kong area!