Frequently Asked Questions

How many countries have I been to?

My goal has always been to see the regions, tribes and wildlife of the Earth that fascinate me the most. Over the course of this journey, I have come to realize that every country in the world is unique and interesting in its own way…and so I have also made it my goal to visit every country in the world-but not in a hurry. I have been to all 197 United Nations (U.N.) recognized countries out of 197. If you include territories like Antarctica, Greenland and countries with no formal recognition by the UN such as South Ossetia, Transnistria…….. then I have been to 250 plus countries/territories.

What are my most memorable travel experiences?

Traveling the world has a way of introducing opportunities that I never imagined possible. Yes there are the headline travel highlights; acting as a World War II soldier in Australia on the movie, “The Thin Red Line”, piloting a Cessna plane from San Diego across Baja, swimming with Humpback and Sperm whales, descending 1500 feet by rope into the world’s largest pit cave, and camping next to a lava lake in Ethiopia.

But the truth is some of my best travel experiences are the ones involving the people I have met like when a total stranger goes completely out of their way to help me in a time of need, or when I have been invited into a home by a remote tribe and welcomed as family. Its these types of experiences that have truly left the most indelible impressions on me.   

The beauty of being blessed with a lifetime of adventure travel is that I can never answer a question like this in just one paragraph. In reality there is always so much more to say….

What is my most dangerous experience?

I’ve had many close calls. Of course, the answer to these questions is relative and some might think that almost every trip of mine is flirting with death. But if I had to really sum up my most harrowing travel experiences the list would include the following: My canoe was capsized by a hippo in the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. A volcano I climbed in Vanuatu erupted sending lava bombs the size of cars raining down on me. I have also been charged by gorillas, elephants and rhinos. I have been held at gun point by corrupt police and had bullets’ whiz over my head during tribal celebrations. I was detained by Taliban in Kandahar, and then there are the many mechanical failures and scares that come with piloting small aircraft that are too many to name.

How do I afford to travel?

Being rich is not necessary to travel. All you need is determination, a sense of adventure and to be resourceful. Long before I could afford to travel, I always managed to find a way to do so. I found English teaching jobs in South Korea, Brazil, a work permit to live and work in Australia on a movie set. I backpacked through India, trekking in the Himalayas for almost 2 months on as little as 800 USD. To be able to travel and see more of the expensive places of the Earth like Antarctica, I have prioritized my spending. Instead of spending my money on going to bars, buying a new car, new clothes, etc. I instead spend it on traveling. I have been driving the same beat up old truck for 20 years. I also travel with friends and share the costs of travel whenever possible. 

How do I get all the vacation time?

Similar to my answer to the previous question, I prioritize my vacation time so that I only take it for when I am traveling. I have never taken a stay at home vacation. I have learned how to be very efficient with my time and to plan vacations around holidays. I also am blessed to have a good job that allows a larger than average vacation allowances compared to the average American. However, even if I only had the average of two weeks vacation per year, I would not let this stop me from finding a way to see much of the worlds countries.  

Have I ever been sick while traveling?

I have been fortunate to have never been severely sick, however I have had infections and bouts of food sicknesses. 

What is my biggest concern when Traveling?

Driving is no doubt the scariest part of travel. I have been hit by a drunk driver in Malawi and I have been in many other close calls. In many countries like Nigeria and Iraq, the roads are in a state of total mayhem and vehicles usually are not equipped with seat belts. Cars drive too fast, do not yield or will pass slower traffic on any available side even the highway shoulder. At times driving in these and many other countries is just plain terrifying and my worst fear when traveling is getting into a serious car accident where I could be blamed or have to receive medical treatment in a hospital with inadequate care.

What do I like to see when traveling?

Every place has a different attraction. I am drawn by unique cultures, tribes, history, architecture, wildlife and landscapes. 

What are my bucket list items:

Too many to list but a few that come to mind are:

1: Completing my journey of visiting all 1955 United Nations including observer states-COMPLETED

2: Swimming with basking sharks in northern Scotland,

3: Rock climbing to the top of Devils Tower,

4: Stepping foot on Seagull Island in Knife River, Minnesota,

5: Visiting the Soviet nuclear testing sites in Kazakhstan-COMPLETED

6: Trekking in the remote jungle clad mountains of Laos staying with hill tribes, 

7: Exploring the Paris catacombs

8: Climbing to the troll’s tongue in Norway 

9: Trekking gates of Arctic National Park Alaska and see an Arctic Wolf in the wild

10: Trekking wild Mulu Caves in Borneo

11: Traveling Across Lake Superior in an ore boat

12: Climb 20,000′ Cotopaxi Active Volcano in Ecuador

13: See a mountain lion in the wild anywhere

14: Abseil into the Cave of Genies, Oman

15. List doesn’t end here


How I visited my last country with my daughter so that my last country would be her first?

I waited to do my last country St. Kitts and Nevis, in the West Indies with my 6-month-old daughter Indie so that my last country would also be her first one. Even though it wasn’t the most adventurous trip of mine, I will always remember it as one of my most meaningful trips. Visiting My Last Country of the World 197/197 & My 6-Month-Old Daughter’s First Country-Saint Kitts & Nevis | Venture The Planet

What are my craziest adventures?

I have had too many to recount but a few that stand out are;

  • Staying with the Nenet reindeer herders in their conical teepee like homes in the Siberian Arctic during the middle of winter in temperatures of -70 F.
  • Trekking across the mountains of Papua and staying in remote village where men still wear kotekas or penis gourdes.
  • Expedition to Lac Tele to find the Mokele Mbembe Dinasaur
  • Hiring a boat and traveling to the treehouse dwelling Korowai people in the rainforests of Papua.
  • Forming an expedition to climb the highest mountain Brazil, Pico Neblina in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.
  • Travelling across central and southern Afghanistan with the Taliban in power.
  • Sneaking up to the top of the castle of Vlad the Impaler-inspiration for Dracula-to spend the night in Transylvania.
  • Swimming with humpback whales, sperm whales, beluga whales, whale sharks and diving with hammerhead and great white sharks.
  • Cave exploration in Tayos Cave, Han Soon Dong, Cave of the Swallows…..
  • Piloting a small plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
  • Tracking tigers on foot in the Russian Far East and in numerous other countries.
  • Climbing Mountains and active volcanos in the Himalayas, Africa, South America…
What is One of the Craziest Things I Almost Did?

I almost had a chance to see the wreck of the Titanic in the now world-famous Ocean gate submersible, which has since imploded with 5 tourists on board on its dive to the Titanic. In 2020, one of my friends asked me to look into the trip and kindly offered to pay for the both of us and I reached out to the company and spoke to the president and wife of the owner. We reviewed and signed the liability forms for a trip in the summer of 2021 and all that was needed next was a deposit but then came the political uncertainty of presidential change and COVID, and my friend decided to hold on the decision. Ocean Gate dramatically raised their prices soon afterwards and the price was just too ridiculously out of reach for almost everyone except billionaires.

To see the wreck of the Titanic at an ocean depth of 12,000′ in a tiny submersible easily would have been my greatest adventure and for years I harbored deep regret that it didn’t happen. But then I realized that the same submersible that we would have traveled in was actually a ticking time bomb to implode and what was one of my greatest fears about the trip actually happened and the Ocean gate owner as well as 4 adventurous souls joined the wreck of the Titanic for eternity. Sometimes the best opportunities in life do not happen for a reason.

What is my favorite country?

Mexico because I have been fortunate to explore most of it and I am blown away by its diversity and the amount of adventure it presents. It has so much to offer; jungles, mountains, volcanos, deserts, indigenous tribes, wildlife, caves, ancient ruins…..and I love the culture and food. 

My top ten favorite countries

It is really hard to nail down a list like this because I have had good experiences in so many countries, but I will try.  Here are my top ten: Mexico, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Colombia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Russia, Australia, India, Romania

My Favorite Continent?

Africa is the only continent where I feel instant goosebumps the moment, I step off the plane and my feet touch African soil. I love Africa for too many reasons to explain here. 

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