A few weeks ago we brought an article about Kashi Samaddar, the first man to visit all 194 countries in the world. We had a chat with him to hear what his motivation were, how he coped with getting visas throughout his journey and other advice for people who would like to try out the same epic journey.
It’s a beautiful world. I have experienced people as unique. Travel and Tourism enlightens the mind. Peace through Tourism will certainly bring sustainable World Peace and ultimately benefit all. Even last year during the recession, countries increased their Defense expenses when common people needed more care. Poor countries even Uganda are also spending. But the World is changing much with Internet and Satellite and majority of these expenses would be a waste – even if 20% is reduced, it will help people a lot. International Tourism brings confidence, bridge cultural gaps and bring people closer diminishing war threats. I had three major missions:
1. Sustainable World Peace through Tourism.
2. Equal visa for all International Travelers.
3. Global warming awareness – a concern for children & future generations
I hold four records till now and the periods:
1. First, 12 Yrs 08 months 13 days, May 27, 2008
2. Most Visited, 13 yrs 05 months, 27 days, Jan 10, 2009
3. Fastest, 06 yrs 10 months 07 days, May 24, 2009
4. First (195), 08 yrs 11 months 28 days, July 09, 2011
I would suggest to avoid touch and go as you see almost nothing and it is a waste of money and energy. A reasonable period to visit all countries is 8-10 years, as per me.
What are the most interesting stories and adventures you can tell from your epic trip?
There are many from best to worst. I am fortunate to experience so much. I got good receptions at many places. I had many troubles due to wars and noticed there were wars at many places.
How did you manage to get visas for this trip and where was it most difficult to get?
Visas to 70 countries were difficult during that time. I never faced visa problems at Europe, USA or Australia. I am methodical and believe in zero mistake. Since I am also the first person to put such an effort from Developing World, I had to struggle a lot with endless deportations, no mistake of mine. Imagine if you are traveling from New Zealand to Samoa/American Samoa via Tonga where visa was on arrival with return/onward ticket and hotel booking. But the Immigration officer by mistake deny you while passing others and send you back again to New Zealand where the visa has expired as you completed that trip. Or you finished your trip/visa at Nigeria and going to Kinshasha & Nairobi but Kinshasha deport you back to Nigeria? Or from Papua New Guinea to Vanuatu via Solomons where they send you back to Papua when Papua single entry Tourist visa has expired? Heaven falls on head. All such were with no valid reasons. But I have forgiven them as mistakes are part of being human. I developed tolerance, practiced non-violence and obviously a better example of – Think big, do great for which one don’t have to be a Saint.
I tried to educate people as far as possible so that the next travelers do not suffer. These days Immigration staffs, even in India, are improving.
How did you plan the trip and in which order did you decide to visit the countries and why?
I chose priority, segments and camped where more Embassies are located like Vienna, London, Helsinki, New Delhi, Sao Paulo, Lagos, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Dakar etc. For starters, I suggest to take London – Dubai – Delhi – Bangkok – Seoul – Sydney – Los Angeles – Sao Paulo – Johannesburg- Nairobi – London, round the world trip with one year ticket. From these cities, you can get budget Airlines as there are many these days. It is possible to do around 100 countries.
By Air, car, boat, foot – whatever was possible. Yes – I did lot of sightseeing and met the locals. Also, met or approached Tourism & Immigration officers and appealed for visa relaxations, to enrich their countries from Tourism incomes.
Did you have time to explore the countries you visited or was it more a matter of having been there?
I had enough time, explored very well and did many repeat visits.
What was your favorite countries and why? And which was the worst and why?
I have traveled extensively and I liked almost all countries also there is no worst feeling. Many are afraid about Nigeria but I have been there 14 times. I had a few worst incidents which I reserve for Publishers.
If somebody would like to take up this challenge, what advice would you give?
Happily guiding and will continue any advice as would be needed. They can also contact TTPGlobal for visa guidance too – it is free and reasonably accurate.
What is your favorite place in the world?
I am home sick, so love home better. My wife is a kind-hearted sweet Lady and she did 150+ countries, many places we traveled together.
Yes, a lot and hope to do more new records of other categories. Also, I have interests in marine life since childhood. For reference, I caught one 35 kg sail fish in the Indian ocean off Seychelles. If chances come for long research at HMRG deep or the Marina trench or even space – I wish to do this job with zero defect and much better.