British traveler Jamie McDonald visited seven new world wonders in seven days, sleeping only 12 hours during the grueling journey spanning nearly 37,000 km.
The seven new world wonders Jamie visited included the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal in India, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the Colosseum in Italy, Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Chichen Itza in Mexico. The New7Wonders Foundation, based in Switzerland, initiated the selection of the Seven New World Wonders in 2001 and announced the list in 2007.
Jamie’s journey was completed in 6 days, 16 hours, and 14 minutes, from March 6th to 12th. On May 16th, the Guinness World Records recognized Jamie as the fastest person to visit all seven world wonders.
To achieve the certification, he had to meet specific requirements: travel without using helicopters and rely on public transportation, use taxis only within a 50 km radius, and record the itinerary using GPS.
Before the trip, Jamie asked ChatGPT how long it would take to visit all seven new wonders. The answer was 21 days. However, Jamie managed to cut the time to one-third by taking 13 flights, 16 taxi rides, 9 bus trips, and one train ride, along with a single session of ice skating (sliding down from the Great Wall of China) for the journey covering nearly 37,000 km. He slept for only 12 hours and ate airplane meals throughout the trip, except for a rushed pizza in Rome before rushing to see the Colosseum.
The tickets for the flights were all in economy class, allowing Jamie to sleep. “I secretly hoped it would be a fun vacation. But it turned out to be a race against time,” he said. Apart from the Great Wall of China, Jamie spent less than an hour at each of the remaining six wonders. Nevertheless, he always considered the challenges and the speed of each journey as interesting aspects. “After visiting each wonder, I felt even more inspired to reach the next destinations,” he said.
Jamie visited the Great Wall of China in March when China had not yet fully opened to international tourists, so the tourist attraction was not crowded. He also traveled to China as a business traveler. He booked a hotel near the Great Wall of China and enjoyed the sunrise there. In India, Jamie visited Chandni Chowk market in Delhi before reaching Agra and visiting the Taj Mahal. Despite the early hour of 3 a.m., all the places he visited were bustling.
This was not Jamie’s first participation in extreme challenges. Previously, he achieved the record for running 8,000 km across Canada. This time, Jamie’s journey aimed to raise funds for the Superhero Foundation, a charity organization that helps children with illnesses. The foundation has been established for over 10 years, and Jamie has raised over one million British pounds (over 30 billion Vietnamese dong) to date.
As a child, Jamie frequently visited hospitals for treatment of syringomyelia, a condition that affects the spinal cord. He faced symptoms such as weakened immune system, seizures, and inability to move his legs. In 2012, when he revisited the hospital where he was treated as a child, childhood memories came rushing back. Jamie wanted to do something to support children like himself.
Instead of using the money for a house deposit, Jamie bought a bicycle and cycled from Bangkok, Thailand to Gloucester (where the children’s hospital that treated him was located) to raise funds. Many people criticized Jamie’s action, considering it foolish, but he remained steadfast. “It’s fantastic. I wear a superhero costume and travel across countries, raising money for sick children,” Jamie said.