took to world record-breaking in
2004 after being inspired by a record-setting rally
driver in Kenya. What began as a hobby soon escalated
into an active publicity pursuit. Today, he promotes the
work of social and environmental causes. For these
purposes, the most fitting game plans are chosen; then
world titles are attempted and frequently created.
Wall Street Journal:
Shaking On It in Times Square
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Behind every world record attempt is the expertise of professionals in their field.
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Longest passport page: 73.3cm
This is the story behind my world record for the Longest passport page.
I'm so proud to hold this world record.
Ironically, the opportunity arose from a risky situation I don't wish
to find myself in again.
Just before the millennium, during the years I
spent criss-crossing Africa, our travel party was picking their way
southwards through west Africa, and had arrived in Abidjan on the Ivory
Coast. It was tremendously humid, making us feel hot and bothered
consistently. But something else was bothering us too as our dusty,
heavily laden 4x4 cruised the waterside streets of the capital city's
upper class neighbourhoods.
We were seeking the South African representative
to the Ivory Coast. We needed to locate their office urgently, because
African officials seemed to love watching themselves stamp foreign
passports full as quickly as possible. Mine was all but full. Our party
knew that soon, I'd be marooned at some uninviting, unsafe border post
ahead unless I replaced the booklet.
The South African secretary listened, but said I
would be unable to receive another document. Our entire party began to
explain the inconvenience and potential for serious problems. The woman
took my passport, and within minutes, she returned it – with an added
page nearly a metre long. But it came with a warning: they'd not be
responsible for any border entry refusals I faced using this emergency
Unsure of this, we thanked the staff and left. I
clutched my modified booklet, knowing that it could cause me to be
stranded at the whim of a bad-tempered official seeking a bribe. Our
party would need to cross a handful of borders to reach South Africa:
Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Chad, and then fly from Cameroon. Next, I'd
need to get from South Africa to Kenya via Zimbabwe, Zambia and
Tanzania. I was worried that this very long new passport page I'd
acquired might not protect me when I'd need to depend on it completely.
But it did. Looking
back on the journey that
followed, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the South African help
we received. I believe luck carried me through every border at which I
could have faced whatever corruption Africa is famous for. Because
let's face it, trying to cross the Dark Continent on a world
record-length passport page is potentially asking for trouble.
A good opportunity to make the actual world
record attempt came by 11 years later, at the inaugural New Zealand
Impossibility Challenger. As excited as a child, I laid out my
sweat-stained old passport and measured the page at 73.3cm for the
I cherish this world record because it represents
memories of an almighty journey. To give an idea of the physical
size of the page, there must be 8 full sized stamps on it, taking the
total stamps in my passport to around 60.