There are 193 UN-recognized countries on Earth, but some people don’t stop there. One Chicago man, named the most well-traveled man in the world, has been to 852 unique destinations.
It’s one thing to visit all 193 UN-recongized countries. That itself is a huge feat, considering the difficulty of those final two dozen or so on the list. But many organizations do not stop counting there.
The Travelers’ Century Club, for example, lists a total of 325 countries and territories. For example, Alaska is considered separate from the USA and each emirate in the UAE is considered a different place.
According to Most Traveled People (MTP), the world is made up of 875 unique locations. Those include every state of every nation and some atolls in the middle of nowhere that require charters in order to reach.
The Daily Mail recently profiled a man named Donald M Parrish Jr, who has visited 852 places in the world. Parrish began travel with a trip to Europe in 1965 and has never looked back. His travels have taken him to Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, and the South Pole.
He was the first ever tourist in war-torn Mogadishu, he hitchhiked through Saddam Hussein’s home town during the U.S. invasion of Iraq and lived with pygmies in the Congo.
But only recently did he climb to the top of the list…and even that was short-lived.
Not to be outdone, MTP now lists Robert A. Bonifas as having caught Parrish. Both men have only 23 unique places on Earth left to visit.
The question of why we travel is not one that can be easily answered. I cannot explain what has driven me to visit Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. Sometimes it does seem like vanity…just a desire to say I’ve been to every country in the world. Nevertheless, I do plan to visit every country on this Earth. Perhaps not all 875 places, but there is so much of this world yet to see. More importantly, I have learned so much through my travels: the sights, sounds, and smells have been fascinating, but the personal interactions with others have been priceless. I salute Mr. Parrish and Bonifas.