The Goliath Expedition is Bushby’s attempt to walk around the world “with unbroken footsteps”, from Punta Arenas, Chile, to his home in Hull, England. He began his journey on 1 November 1998 and originally expected to finish the over-36,000 miles (58,000 km) trek in 8 years, though numerous delays ensure it will not be completed until sometime after 2018.Bushby set off from Punta Arenas, Chile, on 1 November 1998, and had completed over 17,000 miles (27,000 km) as of 2006, walking through South, Central, and North America. With over 19,000 miles (31,000 km) to walk, and maintaining his current speed, he then estimated he would return home to Hull, England, by 2012.
In March 2006, Bushby and French adventurer Dimitri Kieffer crossed the Bering Strait on foot, having to take a roundabout 14-day route across a frozen 150-mile (240 km) section to cross the 58-mile (93 km) wide strait from Alaska to Siberia. They were detained by Russian border troop officers while they were crossing the Russian border near the Chukotkan village of Uelen, for not entering Russia at a correct port-of-entry. They were threatened to be banned from Russia, which would stop the journey. It was announced on 5 May 2006, that the Russian appeal court had upheld Bushby’s application and his walk would continue. This was reported to be the result of consultation between John Prescott, the then British Deputy Prime Minister (and MP in Bushby’s home town of Hull), and Roman Abramovich, the then Governor of Chukotka.
On 16 March 2007, it was announced that Karl has successfully obtained the required permission from the Russian authorities, and began to prepare for the second half of his Goliath Expedition. Karl would walk the first leg of this stage to Yakutsk, along with Kieffer. He had a difficult struggle with the Russian authorities to get a visa and a visit permit (the entire area is a military area, and a special visit permit is needed). During 2007, he managed to walk more than 620 miles (1,000 km) from Uelen to Dvoynoye (not far from Bilibino), returning to Alaska when his visa ran out in November.
In 2008 he only walked for three weeks, reaching Bilibino. He started very late, since the visa approval was delayed, and when the snow disappeared in May he could not continue because the area is filled with swamps and rivers, impossible to penetrate on foot when not frozen. He is only allowed to be in Russia for 90 days out of every 180 days per visa, and he must leave the country before each visa expires.
From late 2008 to 2010, he spent his time in Mexico for cost reasons and was unable to travel to Russia. This was both because of trouble getting a visa and permits, and because of financial trouble; Karl lost several of his sponsors as a result of the Late-2000s financial crisis. After Karl secured new sponsors in 2010, the Russian government issued him another visa, and he resumed walking across Russia in the spring of 2011.
In addition to the 90-day time restraint imposed by Russian visas, Karl has been hampered by the tundra conditions. Because his route takes him through an area that can only be traveled on foot via frozen rivers and ice roads, he can only walk during the late winter and early spring. On 25 April 2011, after walking approximately 680 miles (1,100 km), Karl reached the town of Srednekolymsk, completing his leg for 2011. When he begins his 2012 leg, he will only need to travel an additional 560 miles (900 km) before he reaches improved roads, meaning then his travel will only be limited by the Russian visa rules. On 12 April 2012, Karl reported on his site that the Russian authorities had denied him a visa for 2012. He will continue to try to obtain a visa at some point in the future.
In March 2013 Russia banned Karl from re-entering Russia for five years.
With help from National Geographic Karl walked over 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to Washington DC. His destination was the Russian Embassy. At the end of the adventure Karl’s visa ban was overturned and he was granted a letter of invitation from the Russian government. He was granted a visa in 2014, at the embassy, marking the end of his year long journey.
As of May 15, 2015 Karl is in Yakutsk, Russia.