Most travelers have a “life list”. That is to say, a list of travel destinations that are amongst their “must see”, such as the Great Pyramids or Machu Picchu. Others set goals to visit certain countries, selecting ones that appeal to them on some level.
That’s exactly what Chris Guillebeau did when he was 22 and working in Africa for an international charity group. At the time, Guillebeau says, that he was traveling a lot within Africa itself, and making frequent trips back to Europe as well. He was visiting a lot of unique and interesting places, and remained fascinated with the cultures that he saw.
Then, in 2006, at the age of 28, he set a goal for himself to visit 100 countries before he turned 30, somehting he accomplished last year. But in this interview for the New York Times, he admits that about halfway through his quest to reach triple digits, he began to realize that he was setting his sights too low, and has now set a new goal for himself – to visit every country on the planet before he turns 35.
Guillebeau admits that things are starting to get tougher, as he is running out of countries that offer easy access. He mentions that he’ll have to start focusing on making arrangements to get to Chad, the South Pacific, or Central Asia soon, but he makes no mention of visiting such places as North Korea or Somalia, which aren’t exactly welcoming to foreigners.
Of course, with all of this travel, Guillebeau knows all the tricks to make things as easy as possible. He generally has upgrades to first class on domestic flights, many of which he trades away to other passengers, and he recently talked his way onto a flight to Karachi, without the proper paperwork or visas to enter the country. He also knows how to play the system to get as many frequent flier miles as possible, something he shared with us a few months back.
I have to hand it to Chris. When he creates a life list, he doesn’t think small. My question is, what do you do when you hit age 35 and you’ve already visited everywhere? He better hope Virgin Galactic expands its routes, and quickly.