In April 2015, Tom Turcich decided to change his life, leaving his New Jersey home to walk around the world. Over seven years, 26,000 miles, six continents, and adopting a best friend, a dog named Savannah from Austin, Texas, he completed his journey earlier in the year. Now he’s revealing some amazing pictures and tales from his trek across the planet.
Tom explained his walk a few years ago: “I had a friend, Anne Marie, who died at seventeen. I’d never been close to someone who died before. Her death reordered my understanding of the world. I suddenly saw life as something fragile and fleeting. I needed to make the most of the short time I had – I wanted adventure and to see the world. When I discovered Karl Bushby the idea of walking around the world stuck in my head. So from seventeen to twenty-six I kept The World Walk my aim. I went to college, worked, paid off loans, saved, then set off before I had too much responsibility. By twenty-six I had enough saved that if I lived frugally I could walk while still paying off my student loans for two years.”
“She went suddenly, randomly, and she was one of the nicest people I knew,” Turcich says while walking across the Midwest in early 2022. “I thought, if she can go like that, I can go like that,” he told The Trek.
About a year later, he saw the famous scene from the movie Dead Poet’s Society — made in 1989, the year he was born — in which Robin Williams’ character says, “Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
“OK, I thought, I’m definitely going to die,” he recalls. “I’m going to make the most of life, and what does that mean to me? It came down to adventure, to seeing the world. I wanted to use my body and understand the world, not just be a tourist, but see the world as it really is.”
A longer video of Tom and Savannah that has some of the most amazing views you’re going to see.
The one lesson he learned along the way? “People are good everywhere. People are the same everywhere,” he said.
Tom was greeted as a champion when he arrived back in New Jersey. Local media was there when he returned in the summer. “The anticipation of his return could be felt all along Haddon Ave. Friends and family joined him along his last few miles. People stopped their cars to cheer and support him. And, hundreds of people showed up for the hometown hero’s welcome home party at The Taproom Bar and Grill.
As Turcich walked through the threshold at the end of the road, he took a moment to reflect before addressing the crowd. “It feels like it’s been 20 years for me. I’m going to get a beer and then I’ll give a little more cohesive talk.”
For his mother, Catherine Turcich, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, though the load lightened by the fact that she’s got a good son who checked in often.
“We just started going along for the ride,” she said. “’Where are you today and who did you meet today? Where did you sleep last night? How’s Savannah what is she doing, what is she eating?’”
Turich is the tenth person ever to walk around the world. However, the real pathbreaker was Savannah. She became the first dog to do so.
Welcome home, Tom and Savannah! Their website has amazing photos from all over the world.