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Milestones for kiwi pair on intrepid Qeust

Milestones for kiwi pair on intrepid All Nations Quest trek

Two New Zealanders yet to visit North Korea have set big milestones on their epic and exhausting quest to visit every country in the world in 160 days.

James Irving and his cousin John Bougen have reached several significant marks as they enter the home stretch of their record-breaking adventure.

They have now been on 200 flights and 50 different types of planes -- the 50th being a Malaysia Airlines Airbus 330-300 at the weekend.

They have spent a total of two weeks in the air and waited the equivalent of three weeks at 160 different airports.

After 137 days, they have entered 165 countries.

They began their perilous journey in tense security times more than five months ago in an attempt to visit all 193 countries in the world.

``At this stage it is unlikely that we will make it to all 193 nations in a single journey as it was impossible to enter two African countries -- Sao Tome and Principe,’’ Bougen said today.

``Despite a return flight to the African Central West Coast we were defeated by two flights which were full and unbookable from anywhere other than Libreville Gabon.

``We managed to tick off Malabo – Equatorial Guinea -- which had eluded us for several weeks.

``The mother of the wife of the President of Equatorial Guinea had kept the outgoing flight waiting for four hours. Had we finally taken it we would have missed our return flight and been stuck there for up to three days.’’

Meanwhile, Bougen and Irving said North Korea was a major concern in terms of gaining access and they have still to enter Afghanistan with has a single airline unable to provide a flight schedule.

The pair are expected to end their challenging trek through 193 countries by the end of January.

They are supporting Save the Children charity as they attempt to travel 200,000km, spend 400 hours in the air and move in and out of 200 different airports. Their trip is costing $nz350,000 which they are meeting themselves and through assistance and sponsorship from the Flight Centre, Vodafone, Zoom website and Mike Henry Travel Insurance.

They are seeking to set a world record of entering all 193 recognised nations in 160 days and are expected back in New Zealand in February.

Mr Irving was born in Christchurch and his home is in Brisbane. Mr Bougen was born in Timaru but has spent most of his life in Auckland.

© Scoop Media

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