Consider this your new travel goal: an Australian man has spent the last three years travelling to 47 countries across four continents and hasn’t once set foot on an airplane.
Tyral Dalitz was first bitten by the travel bug after graduating from university in 2010. He bought a camper and drove around Australia, which is when he says he was first hooked on “the freedom of the drifter lifestyle.”
“I realized in my time living in a van that all my favourite memories were when travelling between destinations,” he tells Global News. “I wanted to replicate this as best I could outside Australia and I wanted a challenge. I’m still not sure when it was actually decided that I would do the whole thing without flying; it kind of naturally evolved over time.”
His first obstacle was getting out of Australia. He heard that he could essentially hitch a ride on a private yacht if he signed up as crew, so he explored some online resources and was eventually paired up with a retired couple whose boat he helped sail from Australia to Singapore.
Since embarking on his journey, Dalitz says he’s travelled on a vast array of vehicles.
His travels have taken him on bucket list-worthy adventures, including motorbiking through Vietnam, riding the Trans-Mongolian Railway from China to Russia, and travelling to Finland’s Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights. And he’s been documenting them on his various social media channels, including Facebook and Instagram. But it was China’s famed “ghost city” of Ordos that left the biggest impression.
“Suburbs of skyscrapers — some not even finished — provided the backdrop to a city that was built for one million people that never moved in,” he says. “The city is mapped out with some amazing city planning: a huge central park that has the biggest horse statues I’ve ever seen at one end, and then the other end is a huge artificial lake surrounded by more high-rises that serve as monuments rather than offices. We climbed one of these unfinished ‘skeletons’ and drank some beers on the 14th floor, watching the sunset over the bizarre landscape.”
Dalitz has since made his way through Europe, snapping dazzling Instagram pictures that show him perched atop the mountains in Switzerland, lazing on the beaches in Turkey and enjoying pizza in Rome. He’s currently in California but says his next stop is Mexico before he hitchhikes north to Canada where he’s applied for a working visa.
Through it all, he says, he’s learned a valuable lesson about humanity that he hopes to spread to others.
“People listen way too much to the garbage on the TV and in the media, being made to fear what they don’t know,” he says.
“The world doesn’t need to be feared. In three years and over 80,000 km across almost 50 countries, I have never once been robbed, mugged, threatened or felt in danger. Take the average person anywhere in the world and they are fundamentally good.”
And while he says he hasn’t entirely written off airplanes, his plan is to eventually complete a full circle back to Australia without flying.
“I will fly at some point in the future once I have completed this trip, but I know I will never be a jet setter,” he says. “It’s the overlander drifter’s lifestyle for me.”