Adventurer to sail, drive, fly around the world

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 15:49 11/10/2012

British adventurer Mike Perham caught up with us as he passed through Wellington on his record-breaking quest.

Mike Perham
GRANT BRYANT/Fairfax NZ
Young adventurer Mike Perham during his Queenstown stop-off on a round the world drive to raise money for ShelterBox.

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Some have flown around the world, some have sailed, but nobody has so far managed to circumnavigate the globe three times in a boat, a car and a plane... solo.

British adventurer Mike Perham is set on being the first person to do three separate circumnavigations of the world by land, sea and air.

Having already sailed around the world, he is now driving it.

Stopping off at a number of places in New Zealand, Perham has this morning arrived in Wellington, nearly half way through his nearly 40,000km journey. He will spend the day here before continuing onto Napier and then onto Gisborne and Auckland.

"I flew into Christchurch from Australia and from there I drove down to Queenstown which was amazing, and I stopped at Franz Joseph glacier, and went up through Christchurch again, and to Picton and across on the ferry.

"New Zealand has always been on my hitlist, and I've loved this part of the journey."

When he gets to Gisborne, he will have reached his first antipodal point - a point which is diametrically opposite to another point in Spain.

Perham has been sailing since he was seven, and in 2009 was the youngest person to sail solo around the world at the age of 17 years and 164 days. Now 20, he set off from his home in London on July 3 this year, and is expected to return some time in November.

At still a young age, many people might think he was crazy for attempting such a feat, or his parents were crazy for letting him. He said his parents were definitely apprehensive, but he had always been one to try things out.

He arrived in New Zealand last Thursday and has already travelled up most of the length of the South Island. Throughout his trip Perham has been raising money for international disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

The charity provided assistance to Cantabrians in the aftermath of the February quake. Perham made a two-day stop in Christchurch and witnessed some of the damage still there, but that wasn't the only quake-ravaged city he's visited throughout his trip.

"This journey around the world raising much needed funds for Shelterbox has been very humbling as I've not only got to meet the amazing people who have assisted in the recovery but also the victims who have lost so much after disaster has struck. The stories I've heard so far about how they have coped after the news disappeared off our TV screens are just phenomenal.

"In Thailand I visited a family outside of Bangkok that was hit hard by the floods last year. The mother gave birth to her child as the floodwaters were rising. Soon after, ShelterBox arrived on the scene and began to distribute boxes and midi tents out to the families. This meant the family had a clean and private area to bring up their baby and the box even became a crib for the little girl," he said.

All up, he will be travelling through more than 20 countries, and covering a distance of 35,000km in a campervan from New Zealand owned and operated business, Spaceships.

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Although the circumference of the earth is about 40,075km, Perham concedes there are a few parts that inevitably have to be broken up by sea.

"But I've tried to plan it that as much as possible of the earth is actually driven around."

From New Zealand he heads to United States, where he drives from Anchorage in Alaska, across to Canada and down to Seattle in Washington State. Then it's on to Lisbon in Portugal, through Spain, France and back home to the UK.

While he is an experienced sailor and knew how to drive, Perham does not know how to fly a plane.

He said the next big task is spending all of next year getting his pilots licence and clocking up as much hours as he can, before doing his final circumnavigation of the world in a vintage biplane in 2014.

- Stuff

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