Jamie McDonald is no stranger to adventure. He’s run across Canada and the USA and cycled from Bangkok to his home in the UK. He’s earned himself the nickname, Adventureman and rightly so.
His latest jaunt saw him break a Guinness World Record for visiting the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in less than seven days.
And though Jamie says he’s “still pinching [him]self at the chance to see all the Wonders”, he wouldn’t recommend anyone else try the feat in such a short space of time.
“I must have slept 12 hours in the space of seven days,” says Jamie.
“It's like a dream. It’s like, ‘did it actually happen’?”
What are the Seven Wonders of the World?
Jamie’s adventure started in the east at the Great Wall of China and he quickly worked his way west across the world as he ticked off each Wonder.
The trip required some intense planning and scheduling to coordinate 13 flights, 16 taxis, nine buses, four trains and one toboggan.
“I'd never even heard of Petra in Jordan before and so I didn't really know what to expect.
“But when we arrived, I mean, it was magical.”
The fourth Wonder on the itinerary was back in Europe and the only Wonder Jamie had previously seen - Rome’s Colosseum.
“The one that really took my breath away was when I ended up getting to the top of the mountain to see Machu Picchu,” explains Jamie.
“It was the most magical wonder and I felt like I needed to go back and actually take my kids with me to see it through their eyes.”
Is it difficult to plan such a big adventure?
“I'm the worst planner in the world so this kind of challenge for me was just my idea of a nightmare,” explains Jamie.
Jamie was set the challenge to try and break the world record by travel tech company Travelport. They booked all 43 steps of Jamie’s journey.
“At one point I ended up getting lost in a terminal and missing a flight from Rome to Lisbon, and I thought that was it. It was over,” Jamie recalls.
Fortunately for him, he was booked a spot on the next flight and his record attempt was saved.
A tough start in life set Jamie on the path to adventure
“I love travelling, I've got this zest for adventure, but it does need to be meaningful now,” says Jamie.
As a child Jamie spent many years in hospital with a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia. Doing sport, and with lots of medical help, his health slowly improved until he was fully mobile.
Years later when he was saving up to buy a house, Jamie felt drawn to revisit the hospital where he’d spent so much of his childhood.
He was so moved by the work they do that he decided to scrap buying a house and instead start a charity to raise money for sick children.
In 2014, after coming up with the name Adventureman. Jamie set up the Super Foundation. It helps families who are raising funds to pay for treatment which the UK’s public health service doesn’t provide.
“I took on the challenge because Travelport said if I set the world record, they would make a donation to my charity for every mile we travelled.”
“22,000+ miles so they made a donation of $22,000 (€20,350) to a child with cerebral palsy. He’s got pain in his legs and he struggles to walk. So this donation is going to be really life changing for him.”
Watch the video above to follow Jamie’s record-breaking adventure.