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Birthdays only come once a year, so it only makes sense to have the special occasion last as long as possible.

Hawaii-based Paul Morgan had this same train of thought, when he decided to break the Guinness World Records title for having the Longest birthday.

Lasting a whopping 48 hours, the software developer doubled the length of his big day by hopping on several planes around the world to different time zones.

"Ever since I was a young kid I’ve always been amazed by Guinness World Records and it’s record holders. I remember in elementary school every time our library got a new record book in, my friends and I would be the first ones in there pouring through the pages in wonder."

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"At this age, I was not a big fan of books or libraries, but the Guinness World Records book was unlike any other book to me. I dreamed that one day I might be able to make it into this book and set a world record of my own, but never really thought of this dream as a true possibility."

Paul saw his opportunity to get his name in the record books after spending a month travelling around New Zealand.

On his return flight home, he boarded the plane at Auckland at 7pm on a Thursday, and arrived back at his Colorado home at 7pm in his local time zone.

Instantly he was curious to know how much time someone could spend in the same calendar day.

After further research, he discovered former record holder Sven Hagemeier's journey from 2014 when he made his birthday last 46 hours.

"Having a crazy idea like this is one thing, but actually following through with it is a whole other story. Half the friends I told about my plan thought it was absolutely crazy and the other half thought it was very stupid, but I didn’t let this deter me. It had always been a dream of mine to set a world record, and by golly, if I had a chance to do it I had to give it a try! I pulled the trigger and spent a little over $2000 to purchase the required flights to make my attempt. The rest is history."

The attempt was ambitious, but Paul was the person for the job given his hefty travel experience venturing to countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, and the Dominican Republic.

His biggest challenge was undoubtedly ensuring that he found the perfect itinerary of flights to constantly remain in the same day, going from Apia (Samoa)-Auckland-Los Angeles-Kauai, Hawaii (US). 

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The journey was made even more challenging by the vast Pacific Ocean and its multiple time zones. 

And he was within a whisker of it all going wrong.

Paul with witnesses at Faleolo International Airport, Apia (Samoa) at the start of his journey

"The closest I came to failing my attempt was on the flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Los Angeles, USA. On this flight, it was crucial that I crossed the international date line (the line between the +12 UTC and -11 UTC time zones) in the one-hour period when these two-time zones were in the same day. 

"My flight ended up crossing the dateline at 11:01:05 UTC (00:01:05 in -11 UTC and 23:01:05 in +12 UTC on 3 February), barely making the cut by one minute and five seconds! 

"If my 12-and-a-half-hour flight had crossed this dateline one minute and thirty seconds sooner I would have crossed back into the previous day and lost all the time I had accrued up to that point."

The view at Auckland Airport

Paul spent the majority of his birthday alone, seated on cramped airlines, but felt it was all worth it once he landed in Hawaii and achieved a two-day birthday.

He rewarded himself by spending his day at the beach.

Journey's end at Lihue Airport, Hawaii

"I have always had a deep seeded passion for pushing limits, exploring the unknown and solving problems. I feel as if most people live their lives in a bubble of comfort and normalcy, never questioning what they are told, what they believe, or what is possible to achieve. I strive to avoid this mechanical, unconscious compliance by perusing knowledge and experiences that push the limits of my comfort zone and make me vulnerable to the world and its people. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing, so when it comes to that fork in the road, I will take the one less travelled every time."

While he is immensely happy to be the only person in the entire world and throughout history to experience a 48-hour birthday, his celebrations for turning 29 will include “a regular old 24-hour birthday with friends, family and absolutely, positively NO time on an airplane or anywhere near an airport.”

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