Posted by: snaed | August 17, 2009

Around the World

steve fosset


  1. Do you know any people who are famous for exploring or travelling?
  2. Are there any famous explorers from your country?
  3. In 2002, Steve Fossett succeeded in doing something no one else had done before. What do you think it was?


  1. article – newspaper or magazine story
  2. author – writer of books, articles, etc.
  3. eventually – in the end; finally
  4. explorer – a person who goes to new places to learn about them
  5. journalist – newspaper or magazine writer
  6. novel – a fictional book
  7. theory – a scientific idea
  8. trip – a journey


For most of human history, people thought the world was flat. That is, they thought that if you traveled far enough in one direction, you would eventually come to the edge of the world. Then, about two thousand years ago, people started to come up with the theory that the earth was round. This meant that by traveling far enough in a straight line, you would eventually come back to where you started.

It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition[1] became the first to travel around the world. The expedition first sailed west from Portugal, around South America, across the Pacific, before returning around South Africa back to Portugal. Although Magellan died during the voyage, one of his captains, Sebastian del Cano, made it all the way.

In 1872, the French science fiction author Jules Verne published a book called Around the World in 80 Days. The novel was about a man who travels around the world, starting from London, to win a bet.

In 1889, an American journalist, Nellie Bly, was sent by her newspaper to complete the journey taken by the characters in Verne’s book. She traveled around the world, sending articles back to her newspaper about her journey. She finally arrived back home after her trip, taking 72 days, six hours, eleven minutes, and fourteen seconds to go around the world.

Even though traveling around the world these days is very easy, and can be done in one or two days by plane, people are still interested in breaking records.

aroundtheworldFrom 1970 to 1974, an American, Dave Kunst, was the first person to walk all the way around the world. He wore out twenty-one pairs of shoes on his trip! The first airplane flight around the world took place in 1924, completed by Lt.[2] Lowell H. Smith and five other American pilots, and the first solo helicopter flight around the world was done by an Australian explorer, Dick Smith, in 1982-83.

As for a nonstop balloon flight all the way around the world, this wasn’t completed until 2002, when Steve Fossett eventually succeeded after many attempts.


  1. Who first said that the world was not flat?
    • Ferdinand Magellan
    • Jules Verne
    • Nellie Bly
    • The passage doesn’t say
  2. Which of these people did NOT go on a journey around the world?
    • Ferdinand Magellan
    • Jules Verne
    • Nellie Bly
    • Steve Fosset
  3. What did Jules Verne and Nellie Bly have in common?
    • They both traveled around the world.
    • They were both American.
    • They both wrote about traveling around the world.
    • They were both journalists.
  4. Which is NOT true about David Kunst’s journey?
    • He wore out a lot of shoes.
    • He took four years to complete it.
    • He traveled through twenty-one countries.
    • He set a world record.
  5. Which of these people did NOT travel around the world by air?
    • Nellie Bly
    • Lowell H. Smith
    • Dick Smith
    • Steve Fossett


  1. even though – although;despite (the fact that)
    • We decided to go on our picnic, even though it looked like it would rain.
    • I passed the exam, even thought I didn’t study.
  2. wear out – make something useless by using it too much
    • I need to get new tires for my car. The old ones are completely worn out.
    • The carpet on the stairs is worn out from people walking on it.
  3. these days – now (but not in the past)
    • These days, young people are waiting longer to get married.
    • People have no manners these days.


  1. If you could have gone on one of the journeys mentioned in the passage, which one would you like to have joined? Why?
  2. If you were going to travel around the world, where would you go? How would you travel?

[1] expedition – a scientific or adventurous journey

[2] Lt. – Lieutenant (a military officer rank)



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