That’s a good–and popular–question. If you don’t know who Karl Bushby is, check out our review of his book Giant Steps: The Remarkable Story of the Goliath Expedition: From Punta Arenas to Russia. It’s the fascinating story of the first part of the epic walk he is undertaking from southern Chile back to his home in England. The total distance will be approximately 36,000 miles (58,000 kilometers) or 1 1/2 trips around the world at the equator. He originally estimated it would take him about 12 years to accomplish the feat. Twenty-four years and numerous major detours and years-long delays later, he’s still at it.
So where is Karl Bushby now?
September 19, 2023
Huge update to the story: Bushby and Angela have had to postpone their swim by a year because they were unable to complete the boat safety requirements in time to start the swim. In order to protect the safety of the two swimmers and the 5 support staff who would be in the boat during the 30-day swim crossing of the Caspian, they decided it was prudent to delay the swim until August next year. At that time, the water will be warm again and all concerns regarding the boat should be resolved.
For more details about this and other developments since last February, check out the Westbound Horizons “Update” page at https://www.westboundhorizons.com/situ.
For details about the 1,000 mile walk Bushby and Angela completed from Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan in order to reach the Caspian, check out the Videos page at https://www.westboundhorizons.com/videos.
February 14, 2023
Bushby’s website now contains a new video focusing on their swim training and equipment. As expected, the plan is to swim about 10Km a day and then sleep on a support boat at night. Each morning, they will begin again at the same place they got out of the water. What is unexpected is how they plan to use dog shock collars during the swim to communicate with each other and their support boat. You can find this amazing video and two others on their website: https://www.westboundhorizons.com/. Or you can jump directly to the video by clicking on this link: https://youtu.be/-Xsav1ilS0A
January 9, 2023
Bushby’s website is now live and has been populated with a lot of interesting information. Best of all is a 32-minute video in which Bushby updates everyone on what he’s been up to the past three or so years. He also introduces Angela Maxwell and we get to hear how their partnership began with Steppes to the West and has been renewed as they start to train for the Caspian Sea swim, which Bushby refers to tongue-in-cheek as “Plan Ludicrous.” According to him, too, it’s not a swim, it’s a “water obstacle crossing.” To hear them in their own words, click on this link: https://youtu.be/GROIIFmcNws or listen to it and do more reading about their journey directly from their website: https://www.westboundhorizons.com/.
Note: According to Bushby, details on how, exactly, they will maneuver through the water roughly 7 hours a day for 30 days will be explained in a later video.
November 13, 2022
We’ve got more details about this wild idea of Bushby has of swimming across the Caspian, thanks to a fascinating interview posted last week by Teh Chin Liang for the Dave’s Travel Corner website. The interview is quite long, but well worth a read. New details we’ve gleaned from the article include:
- Bushby is training for the swim with a woman named Angela Maxwell, who will join him on the actual swim itself. We haven’t researched her yet, but the article mentions that she has been walking around the world for the past 6.5 years and has relocated to Jalisco, Mexico where the training is taking place.
- The swim will cover 161 miles (259 kilometers) from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan. Which means all of the walking he did in Turkmenistan will have been for naught.
- To get to the starting point for this next phase, he will have to return to a spot he passed years ago in Uzbekistan and then branch off, heading northwest into Kazakhstan until he reaches the shores of the Caspian. That’ll add about 1,000 miles (1,610 kilometers) of walking onto his trip before he even puts on his swim suit.
- And the biggest news of all — Bushby has created a website that you can bookmark so you can follow his and Maxwell’s progress as they train for and as eventual carry out this monumental expedition. Here’s the link: https://www.westboundhorizons.com/
We don’t want to give away all of the great details in Liang’s article, so check it out yourself and let us know what you think in the comments below.
May 9, 2022
So two updates in three days — you know something big is going on. In the interview referenced below, Bushby casually mentioned that since he can’t enter Iran and can’t go back through Russia to enter Europe, he might just have to swim the Caspian. He’s 53 years old, so we assumed it was a joke. According to the BBC today, it isn’t. To quote from their article:
My Bushby believes the only viable option that remains involves swimming 160 miles (257km) across the Caspian Sea, from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan. <snip> “Swimming across the Caspian Sea is now Plan A,” he said. “I am looking to do this in summer 2023. I am going to spent [sic] the next year getting myself into the right condition.
He expects it will take him about a month and would be something done in stages. For those of you who (like us) are a bit fuzzy on your geography, here’s a map showing where Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and the Caspian Sea are.
No details on the logistics of how it would be done, other than that he would not be using any form of transport during the swim. We’ll keep you posted as new details come out.
May 6, 2022
Can’t believe it’s been exactly a year since the last update to this article. In short, not much has changed other than Russia invading Ukraine and making that area of the world even more difficult to travel near. Back in early January, before the war began, Bushby posted a link on Facebook stating the following:
I’m still waiting it out in a holding pattern. I need land borders to open up in Central Asia and that seems to be a persistent issue of late. Between the geopolitics, route options and pandemic, I’d say I’m in the most challenging position I’ve been in since I started this thing, so close yet so far! 2022 let’s see your cards…happy new year everyone.
May 7, 2021
The website exporersweb.com just published a short but very informative article on why Bushby is in Mexico rather than somewhere in Iran walking toward England. Check it out at the following link: Where in the World is Karl Bushby?
March 27, 2021
Bushby was interviewed recently on Dan McAreavey’s Adventure More UK podcast available on YouTube by clicking the link/image below. It’s a long interview, but well worth listening to if you want to know more about Bushby and why he’s doing what he’s doing.
January 6, 2021
As far as we can tell, Bushby is still hanging out in Mexico as of January 2021. On December 13 (we just found it now), Bushby posted on Facebook a screen capture from his Archair Adventure Festival presentation. It’s a map showing how far he got in the first 6 years of his walk, the next 11 years, and the next 4 years. The quality of the image is poor, but the details are fascinating, nonetheless.
December 30, 2020
We just came across the detailed and insightful article that Bushby wrote and delivered live as part of the Armchair Adventure Festival in late November 2020. The festival highlights “the world’s most adventurous people,” so Bushby definitely fits the bill. Click this link to read the full text of “Why walk the world for 22 years – Karl Bushby.” If you’ve got the time, we recommend checking out the rest of the website. The news and articles are well worth the read and might inspire you to set out on your own life-changing trek.
May 10, 2020
Bushby was just interviewed by Rebecca Stephens of Sharbek Associates, a specialist management consultant group. The topic of the interview was “Resilience Through Uncertain Times,” and it provides a fascinating insight into the way Bushby views the world and the challenges he and everyone else faces. One of the best lines of the 24-minute discussion is when he states:
If you watch the 24-hour news cycle, the world is a terrible place to live. And that’s just not the case . . . . Humanity is 99.999999% good . . . . In 21-years on the road I can literally count the bad guys on one hand. That’s pretty good going.
Here’s the link to the video on YouTube.
Note: This is Sharbek Associate’s video, so all clicks on it count as traffic to their account. The copyright is theirs alone. I’m simply linking to it in accordance with YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
March 10, 2020
Just this evening Bushby posted an update on his Facebook account detailing his months-long struggle to get permission to enter Iran. It’s not a hugely long post, but for Bushby, who goes years without saying anything online, it’s practically a novel. And one that’s well worth reading – check it out by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Karl.Bushby.odysseyXXI.
February 3, 2020
Bushby has a highlight reel on YouTube covering the years 1998-2017 that we discovered the other day. Check it out, it’s got some amazing footage.
Note: This is Bushby’s video, so all clicks on it count as traffic to Bushby’s account. The copyright is his alone. I’m simply linking to it in accordance with YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
In addition, the online newspaper El Informador, which covers news of Jalisco, Mexico, published an interesting interview with Bushby yesterday. It’s in Spanish, but Google Translate does a good job of converting the text if you don’t habla Español.
From the article, we find that he arrived at the Iranian border on September 15, right around the time that Iran attacked a Saudi oil refinery. Tensions were very high and Bushby’s British passport made getting a visa practically impossible. At the moment, he is trying to decide whether it’s better to keep searching for someone who can help him get the Iranian visa. Or avoid Iran entirely by heading north around the Caspian Sea, re-entering Kazakhstan and Russia and approaching Turkey from the north, through Georgia. Given his past difficulties with Russian visa bureaucracy, it’s not an appealing alternative. As he says in the article, “Iran is the last country: if I pass it I will get home.” In other words, this should be the last major hurdle in his 20-year-long trek. We’ll keep you posted.
January 11, 2020
He’s still in Mexico. We’re just posting this so you know where Bushby is as of the start of 2020.
December 1, 2019
Another Facebook post shows Bushby at a birthday celebration in Cihuatlán, Mexico. Rather than post every time he attends a party or goes to a bar in Mexico, we’ll save our next update until we get some news about his journey, specifically his success or failure to get a visa to cross into Iran.
October 22, 2019
Our search today of all of Bushby’s social media links produced a hit. His Facebook page (linked to below) shows him celebrating with friends at a bar in Mexico in a post dated October 12. So it looks like his visa issues with Iran have not been resolved and he’s decided to wait it out somewhere cheap and warm and friendly. We’ll update this page again as soon as we get more details.
September 13, 2019
Keith Bushby, Karl’s father, posted the following update on an adventure travel website on August 27:
The red line below shows the presumed route Bushby took through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in order to reach the Iranian border. We’ll update the map if we find out anything different.
July 17, 2019
We still haven’t figured out where exactly Bushby is at the moment, but one outstanding question has been answered. How is he planning to reach Turkey? There are two ways to get there from Kazakhstan. The first is to walk around the northern end of the Caspian Sea, which would require Bushby to re-enter Russia. Given his past difficulties getting permission to walk in Russia, that seemed an unlikely route. The alternative is to walk around the southern end of the Caspian through northern Iran. Based on a July 5 message he posted on Facebook, it looks like this is the route he’s planning to take. That means he’ll head south through Uzebekistan and Turkmenistan and then walk across the northern edge of Iran toward Turkey. We’ll update this site as soon as we get more information about his current whereabouts and/or the details of his proposed route.
July 12, 2019
On July 11, the Wikipedia page relating to Bushby was updated with a single line:
Bushby crossed into Uzbekistan early June 2019.
The change was made from a mobile phone using an IP address based in Tblisi, Georgia. Given the long distance between Uzbekistan and Georgia, it seems unlikely that Bushby, himself, made the update.
We’ll continue to follow all of Bushby’s social media accounts and continue running web searches in English, Uzbek, and the languages of each of the countries he might be heading to next. As soon as we find out which town he is/was in, we’ll update this post.
Bushby is currently somewhere in Uzbekistan, though we haven’t found out yet exactly where he is. In the map below, the red line is the section of the walk he completed between the events listed at the end of his book (2004) and November 2018.
The red line below shows the presumed route Bushby took after leaving Almaty, Kazakhstan in order to arrive in Uzbekistan. The blue dotted line shows the presumed route Bushby will follow as he crosses through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan heading for the Iranian border.
Karl Bushby on social media
It’s now September 2019 and an extensive web search of Bushby’s name continues to turn up loads of broken and outdated links. The Goliath Expedition website was last updated in 2008 and the next iteration of the trek, called Odyssey XXI, has a web link that leads to an inactive page.
However, thanks to scouring social media, we’ve been able to piece together the following details.
Someone is updating Bushby’s Wikipedia profile, adding small lines updating his location. The latest appeared on July 11, 2019, explaining that Bushby has been in Uzbekistan since early June 2019.
March 10, 2020: After months of silence from Bushby, himself, he’s just posted a fairly long (for him) and detailed summary of what’s gone on in his trek since September. Click the header of this section to jump to the post – definitely worth a read.
A post on December 1, 2019 is the most recent one from him. In it, he’s celebrating a birthday with friends at a bar in Cihuatlán, Mexico. Our guess is that his visa issues with Iran are taking a lot of time to work out and he’s planning to spend the winter somewhere warm and inexpensive. That’s just speculation at this point – we’ll let you know when we find out more.
His most recent post is from October 16, 2017. He’s shown having a meal with the Steppes To The West (STTW) team as they prepare for the first stage of their latest expedition. A team of 6 people and 10 camels planned to travel from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia all the way to London. However, by January 2018, Bushby and most of the other members had gone their separate ways.
The account called Karl Bushby has no boards and no pins associated with it. A search of the name Karl Bushby brings up a dozen or so pins, but none with recent information.
The account for Karl Bushby contains very few tweets. The latest tweet is from December 2018, a simple reposting of the Facebook link relating to the camel trek. This link will take you to the latest tweets written about, but not by, Bushby. As with the Pinterest pins, there is currently no recent information available.
Bushby’s YouTube channel has only 3 videos on it and only 2 are about him. However, a search for the name “Karl Bushby” brings up a longer list of videos. These include the four-part series about the Goliath Expedition, the first part of the Camels series, and a number of interviews and short news items about his journey, dating back a decade or more. The most recent video, the recap of 2018, dates from January 2019.
Help us fill in the gaps
If you have current and reliable information about Bushby’s whereabouts, please let us know via the Comment section below. We’ll be happy to add it to this post so everyone can keep abreast of his monumental endeavor.