It is my life’s mission to visit every country in the world. All 193 of them.
I can’t remember exactly when this goal materialized, but it was a spin-off from my “I want to see every country in North and South America before I turn 40″ challenge.
There’s just one little problem. I have a job. I work for the man. I have three weeks of vacation a year. How in the hell am I going to see every country in the world and keep a job at the same time?
This is the very reason for the way I travel. It is not uncommon for me to spend only one night in each country; sometimes less than 24 hours…Sometimes, just lunch, before I move on to the next one. I travel fast and furious because my eye is on the prize; I want to see every single country on this beautiful planet, and I’m not going to do it by lounging around, playing 18 holes of golf in each sovereign state. My friends and co-workers think I’m nuts for the fast-paced way I travel; but then again we don’t share the same goals in life.
Also, along with the popular places you’ve heard about (Rome, Paris, Rio, etc.), I lust for places off the beaten path; countries most haven’t even heard of, and would definitely not be able to find on a map: places like Suriname, Nauru, and French Guiana. I get my kicks visiting towns like Chalchuapa, El Salvador; Clorinda, Argentina; Fernando De Noronha, Brasil. Nothing excited me more than telling people where I am going and seeing a confused look on their face as they ask, “Where is that???”
How it Began
It all started in my community college Spanish class.
Well, let me back up and let you know I’ve always held an interest in Latin America. Not sure why; maybe because growing up in L.A., Florida and Arizona, I always had a lot of friends who weren’t from the U.S. Whether from Mexico, Korea, Armenia…their lifestyle was somewhat different from mine, from their language, to family, to the food on their table and the music their parents were playing on the record player. When I was really young (in grade school), I was almost “afraid” of it, but as the years went on, I began to appreciate it.
So here I am, 21 years of age, taking Spanish in college so I could talk to this girl I liked from Mexico that didn’t know a lick of English. Mrs. Houston was the best teacher anyone could have. Along with her amazing teaching style (that was so much fun you didn’t even realize how much you were learning), came her personal life stories. The one that forever changed my life was about her trip to Brasil. I don’t remember the exact details, but I do remember her passion for the country and her enthusiastic tales that she would share with us; and unknowingly, that day in class, I made an unconscious mental note to get to Brasil someday. I didn’t know it at the time, but that one story she told in class would change my life forever.
And Brasil was just the beginning. Join me on this adventure around the world to see it all.
I’m a Ramblin’ Man…