So where did you go this year? Some all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic where you got plastered every day and don’t even remember even going? Did you hit up the Jersey Shore? Maybe the funds were lacking so you were only able to travel to your friend’s pool down the street. Well up your fucking travel game and see all the beauty that this world offers; take a page or two out of Gunnar Garfors’ playbook and experience different cultures, scenery and perspectives.
Garfours become the youngest hobby traveller (What a fucking title that is) in the world to visit ALL 198 countries before he even turned 40-years-old. The media professional from Norway finished his mind-blowing worldwide adventure in 2013 after visiting Cape Verde, off the northwest coast of African. Amazingly he accomplished this extraordinary feat all while holding down a full-time job, at the age of 37.
“I travelled to every country while maintaining a full-time job, so there has been literally hundreds of trips and 3-4000 flights. I guess having visited every country as a hobby traveler shows that you don’t have to quit your job and set up a travel blog to see and experience the world. You just need to plan a bit, yet dare be impulsive – almost a contradiction.”
He says that his very first international trip was to Greece when he was just 1-year-old, and since then he’s been on the move. Garfours really caught his wanderlust in 2004 after trips to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan with his brother Øystein. By 2008, the jet-setting professional visited 85 countries. Gunnar’s most common mode of transportation was via cars, that’s how he managed to visit 18 European countries in just one single day. So in 24-hours, he crossed off Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Liechtenstein from his unbelievable list. Then in another remarkable, yet exhausting feat, he gallivanted to five different continents in one day. Extensive planning over two whole years afforded him to visit Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America over a span of 28 hours and 25 minutes, and thanks to some crafty usage of time zones, he landed in each continent on the same calendar day.
This lucky bastard has seen the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, the serene shores of Seychelles, a cliffside Buddhist monastery called Paro Taktsang in the Himalayas in the nation of Bhutan (I didn’t even know there was a country of Bhutan), he’s stood on the 4380-foot peak of Mount Klubbviktind near the Skjomen fjord in Norway and he saw the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.
What country has the most beautiful scenery? Garfours says that his home country of Norway still holds his heart dear. “Both the midnight sun (in summer) and the northern light (in winter) in Northern Norway are incredible experiences that everyone should try,” Garfors told FoxNews.com. “The scenery is truly fantastic too, with fjords, glaciers, mountains and islands all over – only interrupted by the occasional village, town or city.”
Once Garfours returned, he was greeted by friends and family who gave him 197 beers and one bottle of rum. Then he created a book documenting his epic escapade with phenomenal photographs from all around the planet Earth. His intriguing travel memoir titled “198: How I Ran Out Of Countries,” shares advice about his travels, tips for budgeting and how to avoid issues with locals.
Want to follow in Gunnar’s footsteps and be a world traveler? Let’s get some tips from the expert.
It will just take some planning. With low-cost airlines all over Europe virtually anyone can visit another country by booking tickets way ahead. And there are of course also trains, ferries and buses. And hitch-hiking and car sharing can also work. Then is possible to stay for free on someone’s sofa using sites such as Couch Surfing or Hospitality Club, you will then not only get a free bed, but a free guide and maybe a great friend too. And the most important thing is to smile and approach people. Most people will appreciate it, and suddenly you will find yourself invited to a party, mountain hike or even a dinner.
I’m not saying you need to see every country on the entire planet, but get out there and see all the glorious grandeur that this planet has to offer.
Here are some of the remarkable images from Garfours’ travels, you can see many, many more on his site, plus get advice on how to travel like a pro.