Totally blind and severely deaf in both ears, Tony Giles has visited all 7 world continents on his solo venture to experience every country on earth.
Eighteen years into his remarkable escapade, 40-year-old Tony has visited 131 countries so far.
Only 115 of the countries are included in the 193 official United Nation’s Sovereign Nations, so he has his “own list”.
The blind world traveler was 9-months-old when it was discovered there was a problem with his sight and eventually diagnosed with Cone Dystrophy.
“I travel alone because it is the biggest challenge I can get and travelling by myself, I get to interact with more people” said Tony.
Since March 2000 Tony of Teignmouth has boldly zigzagged across the globe, visiting all 50 US states and 15 countries of South America to name just a couple of achievements.
Tony said: “Travelling to New Orleans made me realise I could do it alone. I was by myself and didn’t know where I was going and it became overwhelming.
“I took a couple of deep breaths and said to myself: Tony this is what you want. If you don’t, go home. More deep breaths and the rest is history”.
The intrepid individual learnt how to be street wise as a proactive child, carefully listening out for traffic when playing games in the street.
Although Tony is 80% deaf with hearing aids, the technology gives him enough independence to resolutely undertake journeys alone.
He said: “If I travel with someone, particularly someone sighted, they would be doing all the work, they would be doing all the guiding and I wouldn’t get to touch as many things and find as many things as I do by myself.
“I have to be patient, I get lost all the time. It is very difficult if I am looking for something specific when you can’t see because obviously you can’t pin point it.
“You might get ten people walk past and then someone will stop, and then you can interact with them – that’s how it works.”
If you see yourself country hopping and challenging your capabilities like Tony, MARJON University offers its students a number of opportunities to make this vision a reality.
MARJON FUTURES provides an excellent support service for students like Geoffrey Gulzar (BA Sports Coaching) who sign up and go for it!