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Kiwi pair tick off North Korea in perilous Quest

Media Release January 23, 2003

Kiwi pair tick off North Korea in perilous All Nations Quest

Two New Zealanders trying to visit every country in the world in 160 days entered North Korea today despite rising tensions in the region.

James Irving and his cousin John Bougen stood on North Korean soil early today (NZ time) to overcome one of their last major hurdles in seeking to set a world record for a single ticket journey in 160 days.

``Thanks to the Korean Tourist Bureau we stood on Korean soil at on January 22 (local time) – our 175th nation,’’ Bougen said.

``The event was witnessed by a member of the United Nations Military Command and 30 Japanese tourists who also took the opportunity in the centre of the demilitarised zone under the watchful gaze of both the North and South Korean Army.

``Landing in Tokyo later today will mark the completion of the Asian sector of the All Nations Quest, leaving only 15 Nations of the Pacific to visit on the final beat home,’’ Bougen said.

Only two countries out of the total of 193 mandated by the Guinness Book of Records are not likely to be entered in their epic and sometimes perilous quest.

Both Sao Tome and Principe (a tiny African nation) and Afghanistan could not be visited simply because of full flights and infrequent schedules.

This leaves the door open for someone else to beat Bougen and Irving’s record in both terms of number of nations visited in a single journey and the time taken to do same.

The Guinness Book of Records has told them no record exists of anyone visiting the most countries in a single journey.

To date the pair have been going non-stop for 148 days and have visited 174 nations.

They have travelled 216,293km, used 93 airlines, been on 218 flights and entered 171 airports.

They have spent the equivalent of 15.5 days in the air and a total of 23 days and nights waiting at airports and stations.

They have crossed the equator eight times since flying out of Auckland on August 28.

They still face some difficult times seeking to complete all the Pacific nations before turning to Auckland next month.

They began their journey in some of the most tense security times the world has ever seen five months ago in an attempt to visit every country in the world.

The pair are supporting Save the Children charity as they travel more than 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, Zoom, Vodafone and Mike Henry Travel Insurance.

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


Media advisory: For further inquiries contact: Kip Brook, Word of Mouth Media NZ, 03 374 5426 for photos wee the website:

Note 1: Sao Tome and Principe is ONE country.

Note 2: Word of Mouth Media NZ is handling all media arrangements for Bougen and Irving on their February arrival into Auckland. Please contact us if you have any queries or requirements.

Kip Brook
Word of Mouth Media NZ
Box 36 547
Ph: 03 374 5426
Fax: 03 374 5792

© Scoop Media

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