Lifestyle

They have done something you probably won't: travelled to all the countries in the world

At the young age of 24, James Asquith from London, has visited 196 countries in the world, making him the youngest person to travel to every country in the world.

196 countries, that’s probably more than countries that most of us will travel to in the whole of our lives.

Born on December 30, 1988, James started traveling five years ago when he was still a student at a university. The 24-year-old Briton began his long haul in Vietnam in 2008, where he spent nearly three months there. But it was only after going to war-torn Egypt that he got the bug to travel to every country – stable or not.

Over the course of five years travelling around the world, James spent just over US$200,000, funded by taking part-time jobs in bars and hostels along the way.

James in America
James in America

“I loved the adrenalin that went with it – but I always seemed to pick the worst timing to visit a lot of the countries. I went to Libya three weeks after Gaddafi fell, Afghanistan two weeks after the terrorist bombings in Mazar-i-Sharif, but generally I just found a local and tried to get an insight into each country. The longest I spent anywhere was six months in Africa. I travelled overland from Senegal to the Congo and then over back up through the east. There were lots of small countries and tricky border crossings, [and I was] putting trust in some people that drove me as much as three countries at a time.”

James in Vanuatu
James in Vanuatu

However, his travels are not currently officially recognised as a record by Guinness World Records.

Last year, Graham Hughes broke the record to become the first person to visit all 201 countries in the world without flying. Graham started travelling on the 1st January 2009, and ended up visiting over 200 countries, 60 islands and six continents. The journey took him 1,426 days.

Graham at the Equitorial Guinea
Graham at the Equitorial Guinea
Graham at Papua New Guinea
Graham at Papua New Guinea

The discrepancy in the number of countries cited is due to different interpretations of how many there are. There are 196 internationally recognised nations, although by other measures there are 201 countries, including several that are not universally recognised.

Last June, Jeff Goins wrote an essay for Converge Magazine titled, “Why you should travel young.”

Here’s the heart of his article:

“While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Appalachian trail. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever. 

Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. You will have a newfound respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.

While you’re still young, get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.”

 

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