Karl Bushby (born 30 March 1969) is a British ex-paratrooper, walking adventurer and author, currently attempting to be the first person to completely walk an unbroken path around the world. Bushby's trek is known as the Goliath Expedition.
Bushby was born 30 March 1969 in Hull, England. He attended a local comprehensive school and joined the British Army at the age of 16. Bushby served with the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment for 11 years.
The Goliath Expedition is Bushby's attempt to walk around the world "with unbroken footsteps", from Punta Arenas, Chile, to his home in Hull, England. He began his journey on 1 November 1998 and originally expected to finish the over-36,000 miles (58,000 km) trek in eight years, though numerous delays ensure it will not be completed until sometime after 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bushby set off from Punta Arenas, Chile, on 1 November 1998, and had completed over 17,000 miles (27,000 km) as of 2006, walking through South, Central, and North America. With over 19,000 miles (31,000 km) to walk, and maintaining his current speed, he then estimated he would return home to Hull, England, by 2012.
In March 2006, Bushby and French adventurer Dimitri Kieffer crossed the Bering Strait on foot, having to take a roundabout 14-day route across a frozen 150-mile (240 km) section to cross the 58-mile (93 km) wide strait from Alaska to Siberia. They were detained by Russian border troop officers while they were crossing the Russian border near the Chukotkan village of Uelen, for not entering Russia at a correct port-of-entry. They were threatened with being banned from Russia, which would stop the journey. It was announced on 5 May 2006 that the Russian appeal court had upheld Bushby's application and his walk would continue. This was reported to be the result of consultation between John Prescott, the then British Deputy Prime Minister (and MP in Bushby's home town of Hull), and Roman Abramovich, the then Governor of Chukotka.
On 16 March 2007, it was announced that Bushby had obtained the required permission from the Russian authorities, and began to prepare for the second half of his Goliath Expedition. Bushby would walk the first leg of this stage to Yakutsk, along with Kieffer. He had a difficult struggle with the Russian authorities to get a visa and a visit permit (the entire area is a military area, and a special visit permit is needed). During 2007, he managed to walk more than 620 miles (1,000 km) from Uelen to Dvoynoye (not far from Bilibino), returning to Alaska when his visa ran out in November.
In 2008 he only walked for three weeks, reaching Bilibino. He started very late, since the visa approval was delayed, and when the snow disappeared in May he could not continue because the area is filled with swamps and rivers, impossible to penetrate on foot when not frozen. He is only allowed to be in Russia for 90 days out of every 180 days per visa, and he must leave the country before each visa expires.
From late 2008 to 2010, he spent his time in Mexico for cost reasons and was unable to travel to Russia. This was both because of trouble getting a visa and permits, and because of financial trouble; Bushby lost several of his sponsors as a result of the Financial crisis of 2007–2008. After Bushby secured new sponsors in 2010, the Russian government issued him another visa, and he resumed walking across Russia in the spring of 2011.
In addition to the 90-day time restraint imposed by Russian visas, Bushby has been hampered by the tundra conditions. Because his route takes him through an area that can only be traveled on foot via frozen rivers and ice roads, he can only walk during the late winter and early spring. On 25 April 2011, after walking approximately 680 miles (1,100 km), Bushby reached the town of Srednekolymsk, completing his leg for 2011. Beginning his 2012 leg, he only needed to travel an additional 560 miles (900 km) before reaching improved roads, meaning his travel will only be limited by the Russian visa rules. On 12 April 2012, Bushby reported on his site that the Russian authorities had denied him a visa for 2012. He will continue to try to obtain a visa at some point in the future.
In March 2013, Russia banned Bushby from re-entering Russia for five years.
Bushby walked over 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. His destination was the Russian Embassy. At the end of the adventure, Bushby's visa ban was overturned and he was granted a letter of invitation from the Russian government. He was granted a visa in 2014, at the embassy, marking the end of his year long journey.
Bushby crossed into Uzbekistan early in June 2019, reaching the border between Turkmenistan and Iran a few months later where the voyage is currently on pause due to visa issues, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Bushby wrote a book about his walk entitled Giant Steps, first published in 2005. The latest edition (2007) includes events up to 31 March 2006, and his Bering Strait crossing. The book and the Bering Strait crossing also inspired a board game called 'Ice flow'.
- Epic explorer crosses frozen sea BBC News, 3 April 2006. URL accessed on 13 June 2006.
- Judge to decide explorer's fate BBC News, 12 April 2006. URL accessed on 13 June 2006.
- Explorer's world trek continues BBC News, 5 May 2006. URL accessed on 13 June 2006.
- Russia lifts ban on British trekker Guardian Unlimited, 5 May 2006. URL accessed on 13 June 2006.
- Goliath Expedition home page. Archived 11 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine URL accessed on 28 June 2011.
- Karl Bushby, the UK explorer, about his walking from Bilibino (Chukotka) & Srednekolymsk (Sakha-Yakutia), Russia’s Far East. Archived 5 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Ask Yakutia, 5 May 2011. URL accessed on 28 June 2011.
- Shoesmith, Kevin (19 March 2013). "Russia ban for Hull's round-the-world walker Karl Bushby". Hull Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014.
- Shoesmith, Kevin (8 August 2017). "How Karl Bushby plans to use camels on latest leg of 36,000-mile trek". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- Ice Flow URL accessed on 19 February 2021.
- Goliath Expedition home page
- Goliath Expedition blog, 2009-2010
- Latest update on Karl Bushby 2012 Interview with Karl Bushby 2011
- Alone Around the World A long distance radio interview with Karl Bushby at Podstantsiya.ru
- WideWorld Article Odyssey XXI, one man’s 15 year trek across the globe
- Men's Journal Article