Finding out that the world is smaller than I thought! Meeting world travelers during my last six months of travel.
I use to think what I was doing was unique. I mean, visiting every country in the world isn’t an easy task and takes dedication and sacrifice. I figured there was a handful of people currently on the same kind of journey.
I knew these crazy people were out there, but in over three years of traveling full time, I never met a single one making the attempt. Then suddenly in the last six months of traveling I’ve met four.
While in the waiting room of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Conakry, I started chatting to a Hawaiian named Gary. We were both applying for a visa and I found out he was visiting every country! He was a homebuilder and took trips between projects. Over time he accumulated 188 countries! Now that he is retired, he is completing the mission.
When I arrived in Gabon, I found I was staying at the same place as Thor. Hailing from Denmark, Thor is visiting every country in the world in one continuous trip and not taking any planes! Talk about a challenge! His quest, Once Upon a Saga, is also affiliated with the Red Cross and bringing awareness as he travels. About a month later, I was lucky enough to bump into Thor again in Sao Tome. He recently just broke 100 countries!
In line to board the plane to Tonga from Fiji, a guy approached me and asked about my Tuvalu tourist shirt. I immediately guessed that he was traveling to every country. Why? Well, why else would a tourist be specifically interested in Tuvalu? Mike from Canada recently retired and moved to Georgia. He’s now systematically making his way to every country, currently on country 177!
Heading to Micronesia, I noticed on social media that Johnny Ward from Onestep4ward happened to be in the country. As if that wasn’t enough of a coincidence, we happened to be booked at the same hotel too! After his Pacific tour, he’ll only have 4 countries left!
How come I met these people all within the last six months? It could be because many of the countries I’ve been recently visiting are not the typical tourist destinations, so you are automatically drawn to someone who seems out of place. That same person could be sitting in a cafe next to me in Rome but I probably wouldn’t feel inclined to strike up a conversation.
What’s great about meeting other world travelers is the ability to really relate to each other, especially on the difficulties and hardships of world travel.
Its great to feel connected to people while on a mission that is often very much a solo one. I’ve been inspired and humbled by the feats and attempts of other travelers, whether they are trying to visit every country or not. It’s also interesting to note the varied backgrounds and reasons that inspire people to start their journeys.
What this also supports is the idea that anyone can travel the world. It’s by no means easy, but if you are determined, disciplined, and willing to make huge sacrifices, you can do it too! If you somehow have an obsession with visiting the entire world, you’re not alone!