Savannah dog Matt – walked across 38 countries with his owner Tom Tursic

Savannah dog Matt – walked across 38 countries with his owner Tom Tursic

– Savannah was euthanized today. We spent our last three hours with her lying on my chest as we used to do when it was too cold or rainy inside the tent.

This is what adventurer and motivational speaker Tom Tursic told his followers Instagram That his nine-year-old dog had died.

The mixed-breed dog who walked with him across 38 countries for seven years was put down on Sunday, May 19.

This news led to an outpouring of condolences, making Turcic realize what he had long suspected:

– It is the savannah that left an impression on people. She meant a lot to many, says the 35-year-old in a phone interview with VG.

In just two and a half weeks, he and his girlfriend lost a dog. Turcic says that sadness completely knocked him unconscious.

– It's been a difficult month. I was sore, exhausted, tired and had a terrible headache.

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I lost my best friend

In October, he debuted a new book with his autobiography “Global March – Seven Years in Search of Meaning.”

Tom Tursic is the tenth person and Savannah is the first dog to circumnavigate the world.

Together they have traveled just over 25,000 miles – in Norwegian terms 45,200 kilometers – on foot across the world.

The death of his best friend sends Tom Torsic (35) into an existential crisis. He was 17 years old and had known Anne Marie throughout his childhood in Haddon Township, New Jersey.

He was introverted and shy. She was outgoing and bubbly.

At the age of sixteen, she was killed in a jet ski accident in 2006.

Her death was a change in my life. It put me in a fog that lasted for six months, Turcic tells VG.

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Loss gave me an understanding of the finality of death.

Death as a driving force

He has always been afraid of death. Anne-Marie's death taught him that it could happen to anyone at any time. I felt paralyzed.

-She was a much better person than me, and incredibly kind. When someone like her could die, it occurred to me that the same thing could happen to me.

Image: private

Image: private

Turcich decided he wanted to make the most of life. He wanted to see the world. He made a plan with a clear goal:

– As a student, I worked every holiday to install solar panels in people’s homes. “It was a good-paying job that allowed me to pay off my student loan and save money,” he explains.

He had raised enough money to be able to go to Argentina, but at the same time he was hoping to get a sponsor. Everything went well.

For the rest of “The World Walk,” he lived on what he refers to as a “modest patronage income.”

Image: private

Image: private

Through Scandinavia

He started when he was 25 years old. Seven years and 49 days later, on May 21, 2022, he crossed the finish line on his return to his homeland.

Travel restrictions during the Corona pandemic meant that he had to leave Australia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.

In Africa, he gave priority to passage through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

– Otherwise, I might spend three years on the African continent alone. It was getting too hot for the savannah and the drive was too long.

He also visited Scandinavia:

– But Denmark only when I went from Copenhagen to Germany.

He carried the luggage with him in a cart. He adopted Savannah four months after the expedition began.

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He was told that she could be a cross-breed of the American Shepherd, also called an “Australian”. They are known to be persistent and hardworking dogs with herding and guarding qualities.

In fact, it turns out to be a mix of a chow chow, shar pei, retriever, and terrier.

Image: private

Image: private

– Royal and global

In terms of personality, she has proven to be ideal for life on the road:

– She was generous and worldly. Don't let things get you down. “She was used to running around and she wasn't a normal dog that you could take to the park,” Turcic says.

Stray dog ​​attacks in South America have made them wary of strange dogs.

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– In the first two years, I was attacked several times. Make them defensive around other dogs.

Image: private

Image: private

In terms of health, she tolerated walking well, as the adventurer witnessed. He believes that Savannah taught him more than he taught her.

– It was very difficult. She never complained, even at the end. Traveling the world with her has made me braver and more confident in my identity,” says the 35-year-old.

– Savannah has made me kinder and more passionate. You taught me a lot about the value of just getting the job done, and getting it done.

He says the monotony he experienced crossing the desert regions of Ecuador and Peru could be overwhelming. When he needed a boost in the back, he would peek at the dog's tail.

She hated the heat, but her tail was always up.

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Tourist destinations were not Turcich's focus. It is the daily life as a traveler with all the challenges that await him, crossing mountain passes, passing through villages, searching for a campsite, and enough water and food, that shaped his personality.

It's been fed by people who don't have a needle in the wall, but still want to share what little they have.

– Tests your values

He was threatened with a knife in Panama and a gun in Turkey, crossed desert regions in Peru and visited the homeland of his Croatian ancestors in Croatia.

Favorite destination?

– Kyrgyzstan is probably the place where you hired guides with horses and walked through mountainous landscapes where savannahs can run wild all the time. She was happy there.

Image: private

Image: private

-What kind of people and effort does a rural road require?

-If you travel this way, you should do it required the. The road tests your values. “If I wasn't completely sure I wanted it, I wouldn't have been able to do it,” Turcic answers.

– After a few years, walking wears you down emotionally. Sometimes you just want to be home. Instead, you're alone out there in the world, in the rain, on a mountain pass.

When he wandered the world he had a calling in life. A goal that took him further.

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– It gave me a sense of satisfaction that I don't think everyone has. After returning home it is different. The transition was really difficult: I became depressed.

In the same way that Savannah found it boring to take the same walking route every day, the owner finds it difficult to adapt to A4 life.

Slowly he found a new base. He published a children's book about Savannah with his illustrator mother and began as a speaker and motivator.

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– Now I feel like I am part of society and normal life again.

Image: private

Image: private

The severity of the exception

Too many people expect too much, says Tom Tursic.

-You should not expect or desire to be exceptional. Rather, live based on your values. And be okay with living your life the best you can.

He has learned one thing: the power of chance reigns supreme in the world.

– People don't realize that we're all really small in the grand scheme of things. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be special, but the truth is that we are a product of chance—much more so than we think.

He mentions the people he met in Algeria, Turkey and Peru. People who sold motor oil or farmed a plot of land to survive. People who – despite their dreams, talents and motivations – had to come to terms with reality.

-You are only what your culture, geography, politics, and economy around you give you the opportunity to do.

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So the key is to identify the values ​​one has, Tursic believes. It serves as a compass for them.

-You only have a short time here on Earth. Therefore, you should think not just for a day or two, but over the course of a few months about what you want from life. It is believed that after that you become more able to accept restrictions, but at the same time take action.

– Have your values ​​changed along the way?

– No, but I'm in a different place now. I wanted to travel, but I had enough travel for a lifetime. I'm really tired. So I appreciate living a quiet daily life with my boyfriend.

Image: private

Image: private

Sometimes he thinks about what his best friend, Anne-Marie, told him. It all started because of her.

-We were just kids. None of us could understand what my life would be like after she died. If she were alive today, I think she would be happy for me. She would have loved Savannah, because she was a big animal lover.

– Seven years of wandering: Did you find a meaning to life?

Tom Turcic laughs a little. Then the phone goes completely silent for a few seconds before he answers:

– Does not make sense. this is the meaning. You have to find it yourself. The world is big – there are so many nice people and beautiful places – just enjoy it.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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