Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. – Ibn Battuta
I had the great pleasure of talking to Henrik Jeppesen. Henrik has to be one of the great travelers of our times. By the time he was 28 Henrik had been to every country in the world. If that statement alone doesn’t boggle your mind consider this, some of his methods are not highly popular with travelers – hitchhiking and couch surfing.
Henrik is a travel blogger, social media influencer, and public speaker, but if suffices to say that in his heart he is a man driven by wanderlust and the spirit of exploration.
During the course of his incredible journey around the world Henrik hitchhiked 1000+ times, took 900+ flights, was sponsored by 100+ airlines, and was hosted by 1000+ hotels in a journey that spanned 3000+ days. From meeting the Prime Minister of Libya to being robbed in Liverpool, from couch surfing in Australia to being stopped by American soldiers in Afghanistan, Henrik’s journey has some of the most memorable moments a person can hope to have in one lifetime.
What inspired you to embark on a journey that would eventually cover every country in the world?
Watching TV 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.
Which was the most challenging country to visit and which was the most fun?
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.
Can you share with our readers one fun moment from your journey that you just cannot seem to forget?
The scariest country I’ve been.. The Central African Republic. Cancelled a trip earlier as I was too afraid of going there. War and political unrest have made this one of the most dangerous places to travel. After getting the right contacts, I finally decided to go. A Swedish expat was of great help and made me feel somewhat okay about going. He allowed me to stay in his house and helped me arrange a guide to meet me as soon as I was off the plane. I considered it necessary after a former expat in the country had warned me about bringing my laptop as they would probably confiscate it at customs.
I got out of the airport, to the house of the Swedish expat which was out of the country at the moment. His staff only spoke a little bit of English, but I settled in. I was told not to walk the streets by an expert in the Central African Republic, but I did anyway as I wanted to explore the place. I got into trouble with soldiers. It felt scary. By far the scariest country. Even more than Syria.
The worst episode was a threatening soldier that said I couldn’t walk the streets and he demanded money to let me go. After a long discussion, I managed to talk myself out of it. I got to experience some of Bangui’s sights, but it’s not a place I want to visit again. At least not in the near future.
You have already traveled the world. What’s the next chapter in your ongoing and incredible life journey?
I’m trying to visit ALL territories as well and set a new world record as the youngest to visit all countries and territories.
People often consider traveling an expensive undertaking. So I asked Henrik about some of the best tips for people who want to travel but can’t because of budget constraints. Henrik has some great tips for travelers who want to travel on a shoestring budget. These include couch surfing, hitchhiking, using services such as Airbnb instead of booking directly with hotels etc. You can find many more of these tips on Henrik’s blog.