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The man who's been to every country in the world: Not to travel would be an insult to my intellect

by - 23 June





"Not to travel would be an insult to my intellect", told me the man who traveled to every country in the world without quitting his job in Norway. "A few other travelers have visited all countries at a younger age, but they have done so primarily professionally or they have taken time off from work or studies to do so. I wasn't able to afford that, so I used holidays and weekends".
Gunnar Garfors traveled the world as a hobby. "I have been in 193 of the 198 countries the last 10 years. I visited the three first ones in 1992 and then another two in 2000. I paid for most trips myself. Since I am not loaded, I have had to prioritize and spend almost all my money on travels. I live in an inexpensive flat in Oslo and I don't have a car, wife, girlfriend, kids or any other budget-busting elements", he told during a Reddit session in 2013.    
I talked to Gunnar about the lessons he learned during this experience. 
  I'm very curious and I always like to see for myself. I like to explore, I love hearing stories but when I hear a story I want to see for myself. So it was curiosity and inspiration by my dad and my mom.
One thing is to realize that we in Europe, in North America, in the industrialized world, we are sort of living in a bubble. We think that we are the center of the Universe and what happens here, that's the world, we are at the center. And by traveling outside of the bubble we get to see and understand that it's very different. Also, you realize that people are people wherever you go. Doesn't matter which religion they have, which color, gender or profession they have. People are people. And most people are friendly and they are curious about you and they want to share experience with you.
By traveling you learn about yourself, you open up your eyes. I think and I hope I've become more humble to other people. Hope and I think I'm better at listening.
I realized that materialism that we should own this and that, and all about having the best car or the best purse to show off, that means absolutely nothing when it comes to happiness. It's all about experiences, about sharing and the experience could be sharing a meal, it could be walking on a beach, it could be hiking on a mountain. It doesn't have to involve traveling, just those little things, could be being with your family, playing with your kid. So it's about these little things. And I have seen so many more happy and smiling people in large parts of Africa, in the Caribbean, in countries which are really, really poor. Or people who have almost nothing but they smile so much more and they seem so much more happy than a lot of people I see in Norway, UK, in the USA and many other countries. That's really fascinating and really makes me think and I hope and really encourage people to travel because it really opens your eyes.
Travelling teaches me new things about myself. Because I am put in so many different situations which I would never have ended up in if I were not traveling. Suddenly I am in a police station, I have been taken to a police station because I don't have a visa. Oh, shit! What do I do, I am in a police station? Or I am driving or hitchhiking and suddenly the engine stops in the middle of a desert in Somalia. You've been thrown into all these situations, all these challenges and that really is traveling in your mind.
Not to travel would be an insult to my intellect.

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