From Kazakhstan Around the World: 73-Year-Old Traveler’s Ambitious Global Journey

ASTANA — It’s a tale of resilience and ambition. A 73-year-old Sarsenbay Kotyrashov, a Kazakh wanderer who was celebrated last year for trekking across all 17 regions of Kazakhstan, has embarked on an even more daring expedition. This time, he has set his sights on circumnavigating the globe, covering an astonishing 16,200 kilometers, with the added milestone of recently crossing the Kazakh-Russian border.

Sarsenbay Kotyrashov. Photo credit: Mukhtar Toibazarov.

Kotyrashov, who garnered national recognition for his incredible feat of walking 8,000 kilometers across Kazakhstan in a mere 181 days, has now expanded his horizons to the international stage. His thirst for adventure and his desire to promote his native Ulytau Region has led him to embark on a two-part journey that encompasses not just Kazakhstan but the world.

The initial leg of his journey began on Aug. 2 in Atyrau, a city in the westernmost part of Kazakhstan. Over the next two years, Kotyrashov plans to traverse a diverse and ambitious route, which will take him through Europe, the United States, China, Mongolia and back to his homeland, Kazakhstan. 

“I’m in excellent physical shape. The walking marathon across Kazakhstan served as both a test and preparation for me. Age is not a defining factor. I feel confident in my abilities, and that’s why I decided to take this responsible step,” Kotyrashov shared during a recent meeting with the QazaqGeography Association.

Citizens of the Ulytau Region accompanying the traveler on his journey. Photo credit: Instagram @ulytaumen.

The recent highlight of Kotyrashov’s journey is his successful crossing of the Kazakh-Russian border. A momentous occasion, this border crossing signifies the expansion of his expedition beyond the borders of his home country. The symbolic significance of entering Russia marks the beginning of his global odyssey, an adventure that bridges nations and unites people through the shared spirit of exploration.

“I’ve reached the border. It’s my first time crossing a border. I’ve walked about 300 kilometers from Atyrau. Some parts of the road are in poor condition, while others are good. The road is under construction. It will probably be completed by next year. I’ve seen the border for the first time. I’m feeling a bit nervous. God willing, I’ll complete the entire journey. Until our next meeting!” he wrote on his Instagram page, when he reached the border of Russia.

Photo credit: QazaqGeography press service.

Dividing the journey into manageable stages, Kotyrashov’s first phase will take him from Kazakhstan to Russia, Georgia and Türkiye. He plans to complete this leg within 100 days, covering approximately 3,000 kilometers. The second phase will encompass Türkiye, France and the United States, which will take approximately 180 days and over 9,000 kilometers. The third phase will take him from the U.S. to China, Mongolia, Russia and back to Kazakhstan in 130 days and more than 4,000 kilometers. The entire journey is scheduled to conclude in Aug. 2025.

While undertaking this extraordinary trip, Kotyrashov is not alone. Embassies of Kazakhstan in various countries, as well as local Kazakh diaspora communities, have pledged their support. 

Photo credit: Instagram @ulytaumen.

Kotyrashov’s quest to enter the Guinness World Records is both inspiring and unique. As of now, there is no record of an individual aged over 70 completing a round-the-world journey on foot. This ambitious endeavor embodies the spirit of adventure, health promotion, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams, regardless of age.

Upon completing the first leg of his journey, Kotyrashov will return to Kazakhstan to wait out the winter. With the arrival of spring, he plans to resume his circumnavigation from where he left off. During this interim period, his representatives aim to secure sponsors to provide funding for this ambitious project, allowing him to continue with full support.

Video credit: Instagram @ulytaumen.

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