I love travelling. I am an avid armchair traveller too – watching documentaries about far away places, reading travel blogs and magazines like National Geographic. As a child I used to look at my globe and atlas for hours on end. Maps fascinated me – still do. So this week I’m pleased to welcome onto the blog somebody whose Facebook page fills me with delight when a new photo or update is posted. He has made being a traveller a profession. He has visited every single country in the world. He has lots of stories to tell. And he has taken time out of his busy schedule to chat to me! Welcome to the blog, Henrik Jeppesen! ….
Hi! I’m Henrik, 28 years old. I’ve spent 3,000+ days to visit every country in the world.
From 2006 to 2016 you have visited every country in the world. What made you decide that you wanted to do that?
Inspired by watching TV and foreign films about the different countries around the world. Then I set a goal of visiting 50 countries and then 100 countries. I decided to go for all of them as I became more comfortable travelling.
I was a geography geek as a child (still am) with my head in an atlas or in a guidebook – I’m quite happy being an armchair traveller (reading & watching TV programmes) as well as exploring the world for myself. Did you have a fascination with countries as a small child?
Don’t remember exactly when it started, but might have been my early teenage years. Liked geography in school as it was one of the few things I liked about going to school.
You grew up in Denmark, so apart from your own country, what was the first country you visited?
Must have been a short trip to Germany. The first big trip on my own was to Egypt when I was 17.
Have you got any favourite destinations and why are they specifically at the top of your list?
Many favourites for different reasons. South Africa, New Zealand and Italy are three. South Africa as it has so much to offer. New Zealand for the beautiful nature and Italy for the food.
What place is your least favourite and why?
My driver went to prison in South Sudan for taking a photo of me in front of a building. They wanted to throw me into prison as well, but after they checked my camera, they let me go.
We all have preconceived ideas of what a country will be like – what country totally took you by surprise and was totally opposite of what you thought it would be?
There are many, but Rwanda would be one of them. I had very low expectations, but it’s a surprisingly great country that feels well organised. In that part of the world you normally have a bad infrastructure and a lot of problems to deal with as a traveller, but not in Rwanda. It’s such a beautiful country as well. Paying 5 dollars for a bus ticket across the country is one of the best things you can do.
Your current aim is to visit every territory in the world – are you rattling through them at a pace?
No, I am taking it slowly like I did with every country. 3,000 days of travel is a lot and it will take me some time to visit every territory as well.
I love travelling & flying but I hate airports! What’s your favourite and least favourite airports?
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel is the worst airport experience. First, I joined the queue for foreigners where they asked me questions that no other airport in the world has asked me. They wanted to see my Eritrea visa, hotel reservation in Eritrea and it just felt like they didn’t believe a word of what I was saying. Horrible and other travellers have had similar experiences. The questions are one thing, but the security is the worst experience I have ever had at an airport. They don’t treat you like a human being and they make you feel so uncomfortable you don’t want to ever visit Israel again. They are searching every single little piece of your bag like no other airport. They are touching you like no other airport is touching you. They wouldn’t allow my brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (a gift from my father), to be in its case for security and as a result, I got scratches on the screen. I complained, but the staff screamed at me and there was nothing to do. If you ever want to visit Israel, make sure you are at the airport three hours before on the way out and prepare for at least a couple of hours of absolute horror.
Favourite: Not sure. I also don’t like airports.
Do you have a favourite mode of travel?
By car in the countryside of countries I like.
Some places are notoriously difficult to enter or are normally closed to outsiders, eg North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan. Which place was the most difficult to enter & how did you manage it? Which place scared you or made you feel most uncomfortable/unsafe?
There are different requirements for visiting the different countries around the world. Equatorial Guinea was really hard but managed to get my visa in Lagos (Nigeria) after writing about myself on a piece of paper. Saudi Arabia is very difficult for tourism so went on a business visa and had Radisson Blu sponsoring it.
Let’s talk food. Which country, in your opinion, has the best cuisine so far? And the worst?
Best are Italy and France for sure. Worst was North Korea. I didn’t eat much there as it was just horrible. Thought I couldn’t go wrong with icecream but it was terrible as well.
Has it all been plain sailing or do you have any memorable disasters?
Food poisoning in the Andaman Islands, India. In a destination without luxury hotels, Ixzire (with a Tripadvisor rating of 5) was one of the best options in the Andaman Islands, located between the Indian mainland and Thailand. While the property was fine, the dinner on the first evening was the beginning of the worst six months of my life. A fish curry made me seriously sick where I couldn’t breathe properly. After three days I tried to fly back to the mainland, but it was the worst flight of my life. The cabin crew gave me oxygen and asked for a doctor. I had to lay down for the entire flight. I couldn’t even sit up for landing. I arrived in Chennai, and it took me a week before I was able to fly again. The problems with my breathing ability came back multiple times over the coming months. Lesson learned. Be very careful about what you eat.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when in travelling aeroplane mode?
I travel very light. Jeans, shirt and everyday-use shoes.
Do you go shopping for clothes/accessories whilst travelling? If so, which country was shopping a pleasant or otherwise experience?
I live minimalistic. Everything I own can be in a small backpack. Life for me is not about owning things, but experiences.
What items of clothing/footwear/accessories are your “essentials” when travelling?
I try to avoid travelling places where I would need a jacket so I don’t need to travel with much clothes.
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes. Lightest weight 🙂
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can follow your adventures
You can follow Henrik’s travels and get his tips on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and his website.
At the time of this publication, Henrik is currently exploring South Georgia Island – catch his beautiful photos of the island and its beautiful penguin inhabitants. It certainly is an island that has captured his heart. Dear readers, what destination is number 1 on your bucket list? Do share your dreams….
PIN FOR LATER:
All photos (apart from the pin later photo) have been published with kind permission of Henrik Jeppesen. Pin Later Photo: Linda Hobden