What do YOU collect?
Henrik Jeppesen is a collector at heart. In his case, he collects experiences instead of objects. Henrik grew up in a small town in Denmark and one day decided that he should make his bucket list a reality. Ten years, ten passports and 3,000 travel days later, Henrik has visited every country (193) and is now on track to visit every territory in the world (as of this writing, he has 34 left). He has shared his story on CNN, is sponsored by over 100 airlines and relied on the kindness of strangers for over 1,000 rides (read: hitchhiked).
However – he is also an includer who loves to share his experiences, tips and strategies to visit that exotic country on your bucket list without breaking the bank. On his website he shows how your fantasy trip is more within reach than you think, and he knows from experience how to travel on a shoestring budget. Click here to read more on his site.
You don’t visit every country in the world without having a few good stories and great advice. Henrik was nice enough to take some time away from applying for visas to answer our Q&A questions. So grab a pen and paper, you’re going to learn, step by step, how to break out of your bubble and get comfortable with travel!
When did you start traveling?
I did not travel much as a child but decided to travel the world despite the lack of experience. I went alone to Egypt and South East Asia when I was 17.
What’s your favorite place to travel?
It’s such a difficult question to answer. I love many countries for different reasons. Italy and France for the food. South Africa has a lot to offer for travellers while Iran probably has the friendliest people in the world.
“I don’t collect objects, I collect experiences.” ~Henrik Jeppesen
What’s your what worst travel story?
Probably the only time I felt in danger for my life. Sikkim is a special region in India that has border control. I tried to hitchhike back to West Bengal, but nobody wanted to talk me. I decided to tell my story to an officer, and he then asked a driver to take me. I get in the car with this man that didn’t speak English and ahead were some of the most dangerous roads that in itself made my nervous. What made me a lot more nervous was that he stopped the car after just a few kilometers. He then took out a bottle of vodka and drank it all in one go. If I left the car, I would be standing alone on extremely dangerous roads, so I decided to stay. It was very scary, but I got safely to a town in West Bengal after a couple of hours. I should have paid for a taxi, but I had the mindset of saving wherever possible at the time to increase the chance of completing the project of visiting every country.
Where you would suggest a newbie traveler start?
For some it will take time to get comfortable to travel. Here is my step by step advice:
- Visit a nearby city in your country.
- Travel more in your country.
- Visit your neighboring country.
- Travel with a tour operator or book through a travel agency on your first trip to a country that is significantly different than your own.
- Travel in countries with a lot of tourists and with/or great infrastructure for travelers.
- You should now be ready for the more adventurous, but safe countries. Like an overland trip in a safe part of Africa.
- You are now a world traveler and can travel anywhere.
What’s your number one piece of travel advice?
Couchsurfing for beginners. Stay with locals for free. Eliminating the number one expense when traveling: Accommodation!