Around the World in 79 days in 1979

With the 21 year-old Marit Voster from Ryfylke on the front seat of the tandem, the blind and 25 year-old Nor­wegian – Tore Naerland – started a bicycle ride for peace and understanding around the world. The excorting van was driven by the 23 year-old Hokon Bjoro from Vest-Agder. They completed this fabulous bicycle ride for peace in 79 days and Phileas Fogg’s previous world record «Around the world in 80 days» was beaten!

During this fantastic trip a large number of experiences gave them memories for life. They obtained an audience with King Olav of Norway. They met the Pope. In Egypt, they were invited home by Mrs Sadat. The Vice-President of the USA – WaIter Mondale – gave them a splendid reception. But the greatest and most favourable impression was undoubtedly created by all the «ordinary» and friendly people they met in all parts of the world. But most likely, the most important thing was that they gave an impulse of inestimable value to handicapped persons all over the world: «You are capable of doing more than you really believe!»

When Tore Naerland from Jaeren was 15 years old he woke up one morning and suddenly realized that sometime during the night one of his eyes had gone blind. Two months later, he lost the vision on his second eye as well. Tore Naerland had become blind … !

Quite naturally, he was completely desperate. It all seemed so incomprehensible. He was a very active and  lighthearted boy – only 15 years of age – and a very promising football player … and now suddenly 95% blind! At that time he had no ideas of the fact that this tragic handicap would give him some new experiences. During the next 10 years he obtained an audience with the King of Norway, the Pope in Rome and also with the Vice­-President of the USA in the White House in Washington D. C. He also met the Prime Minister of India and a Japanese Prince. And not least; he was invited to a reception in the presidential palace in Egypt. No other Norwegian youth could ever dream of such incredible and wonderful experiences. And then, finally, he beat the legendary record of Phileas Fogg and his more or less obedient servant, Passepartout, by travelling around the world on a tandem in 79 days! The heroes of Jules Vernes travelled by train and Phileas by boat … !

But the best and most important thing of all – he ha succeeded in giving hope and light to thousands of functionally handicapped persons all over the world!