Charles Veley (The most traveled person in the world)
In this episode of the Judgment Call Podcast Charles Veley and I talk about:
- 00:06:43 Is our desire to travel a product of ‘Hollywood manipulation’ like Indiana Jones and James Bond?
- 00:13:36 Is he desire to travel rooted in escapism?
- 00:18:43 How slow should you travel? How rewarding is country collecting compared to slow travel?
- 00:27:10 How mosttraveledpeople.com counts the places to go to in the world?
- 00:36:33 Why Charles left for a long sea voyage despite a newborn child at home.
- 00:42:21 Charles’ philosophy to show children the world.
- 00:47:31 Charles’ list of countries that positively surprised him.
- 00:55:29 How expectations change your perception of travel? And why it is so subtle to notice.
- 01:05:29 Is travel burn-out unavoidable? How can we keep the joy alive? Does the motivation to travel have an impact? Do fellow travelers influence us?
- 01:22:10 Has Costa Rica solved the ‘dark side’ of tourism? How can we solve overcrowding globally?
- and much more!
You may also watch this episode on Youtube – #54 – Charles Veley (The most traveled person in the world).
Charles Veley is a software executive and is currently the most traveled person in the world.
Charles also started and runs the mosttraveledpeople.com online community which is dedicated to help travelers to go to 949 unique places worldwide.
Welcome to the Judgment Call Podcast, a podcast where I bring together some of the most curious minds on the planet. Risk takers, adventurers, travelers, investors, entrepreneurs and simply mindbogglers. To find all episodes of this show, simply go to Spotify, iTunes or YouTube or go to our website judgmentcallpodcast.com. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or subscribe to us on YouTube. This episode of the Judgment Call Podcast is sponsored by Mighty Travels Premium. Full disclosure, this is my business. We do at Mighty Travels Premium is to find the airfare deals that you really want. Thousands of subscribers have saved up to 95% in the airfare. Those include $150 round trip tickets to Hawaii for many cities in the US or $600 life let tickets in business class from the US to Asia or $100 business class life let tickets from Africa round trip all the way to Asia. In case you didn’t know, about half the world is open for business again and accepts travelers. Most of those countries are in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe. To try out Mighty Travels Premium, go to mightytravels.com slash MTP or if that’s too many levels for you, simply go to MTP, the number four and the letter U dot com to sign up for your 30 day free trial. So Charles, I really appreciate you doing this. Thanks for taking the time to be on the podcast here and we all heard quite a bit about you. You are often being quoted as the most traveled person in the world and I know you also have another busy life here. You have been a software executive, you’ve been involved in a couple of technology companies here in Silicon Valley. Give us a bit of a background. How did this all get started? How exciting it is to really be the most traveled person on earth? Right. Well, we can get into the definition of most traveled and whether anybody thinks I am or not or whether I think I am or not. But yeah, I certainly have traveled a lot and I do love to travel. You’re catching me at a strange time because it’s the pandemic and we’re just slowly coming out of it here. I might be able to get a vaccination starting April 1st and I just haven’t been traveling as much the last year. But anyway, to answer your question, when I was young, I didn’t have very many means of travel. My family has never been travelers. I used to dream of places and I loved maps and I would just study road atlases and pretend that I was driving different places. I wondered what they looked like. I began to collect stamps and stamps besides being pretty, they have the names of all these different places that you had never heard of. Not only would you look them up on a map, but you can see on the stamp that it belongs. Some of these obscure places belong to other countries. This whole idea of colonization and then you might see a place that had the Queen of England on the stamp at one point and then it was stamped over by German words in another time and then it went back to the Queen of England. Just different changes because stamps started around 1850. That was a lot of history that you just absorbed by looking at them and collecting them. Also, I think I have a collector mentality where I would collect baseball cards or I would collect stamps and you try and fill in all the different gaps in the book of stamps or coins as the case may be. All of those things without being able to travel meant that I wanted to a bit more. When I was a bit older and I had the chance to travel, every little opportunity and every experience opened up new horizons for me and they were so pleasurable that I just wanted to do more and more. The more access I got, the more I did and the more I did, the more I wanted to do. Even that said, I’ll just take it one stage further. I was still a normal guy, 50 countries. I didn’t even know how many countries I wasn’t counting, but I decided to take a year off when I first got married, not a year off but a year abroad. It was for languages. I decided one of the things I wanted to do after I had been working so hard on this internet company, we went public in 1998 and then I had the chance to retire or at least take the time to travel around and I decided let’s take a year abroad with my new wife. One of the things I wanted to do was to speak five languages and I wanted to be like James Bond. I hadn’t traveled and I would see James Bond, kind of cruise in, speak whatever language that he needed to. The girls would follow him. He could get whatever he wanted. My goal was to be fluent in French, Spanish, English, German and Italian. I thought those are the James Bond languages. It was very European focused. Part of that year abroad was to go study in France, study in Germany, study in Italy. My Spanish was already pretty good. My English was pretty good. That kind of got things started. We set that up. It was going to live for three months in Munich and in Paris and in Rome. Along the way, I discovered around the world tickets. Around the world tickets put me into a frenzy because I realized you could get so many different flights for the price. You could do it in first class for the price of economy or less than the price of economy if you would just solve the problem a little bit better and work on it and continue to optimize. For all these reasons, I just started, I dropped the language study and started doing more around the world stuff. Then one year went into two years. The two years went on. Then I discovered the Traveler Century Club list. After that, it was all about counting and trying to get to the new places off the list, a more complete list, than rather than just saying, oh, we’ve not been to Machu Picchu. Let’s try and do that. I’ve not seen the Great Wall of China. Let’s try and do that. Kind of a long winded answer, but it started with geographical interest as a kid and collecting and not being able to travel. The more travel experience I got, the more I wanted to do it. Once I got the chance to take a lot of time around the world tickets and the Traveler Century Club inspired me to just do more and more. I really never intended to go that far with it. I really like your analogy and that picture we have in our mind. I think that’s amazingly honest. I think a lot of people wouldn’t mention it, but I think the James Bond movies must have contributed a lot to the global travel demand. I can say that for myself and I know a lot of my bodies have the same impression. It doesn’t mean you turn around and go travel 293 countries, but you definitely think, oh, there is something there, right? There is this idea of the well traveled person that travels in style, that has a certain character and charisma. You can do all this without traveling, but it seems like travel and just a simple exposure to new things and to other cultures and other places. It definitely contributes. There’s a moment that I always remember. It’s equally silly. It’s very Hollywood inspired. Someone puts something in our brains, but there’s a scene in Indiana Jones where they talk about Indiana Jones. He comes out anywhere on the planet and he’s fine, right? He speaks a lot of language and he can communicate and he knows what’s up. He knows how to navigate in that particular different cultural environment. One of his friends is being taken and is being abducted in this order. He’s just been released from his abduction. They say kind of jokingly, well, he knows 15 different languages. He knows ancient Greece, Greek, and he’s fine, but this person is the complete opposite, his co worker. That person would get lost in his own office. There’s more to this. I think the extreme we have taken it, it’s something that is very memorable and I think this is still a relatively small club of people who travel to every country on the planet. I think, if I read that right, you started the community of people that go not just to the 193 countries because they felt this list is too boring and it’s too easy to do, but they go to a bigger number of places. I don’t know what it is to be honest. You have to help me out and it’s called most traveled people, right? Right. Just to start back with James Bond and Indiana Jones. If you haven’t traveled very much at all, which 90% of the world just hasn’t traveled all that much, so you look at someone like James Bond or Indiana Jones, you think, oh my god, that’s such a different level and I want to be like that. Then the more you go, the more you realize it’s a character, first of all, and you realize that once you’ve been somewhere, then there’s this dopamine or adrenaline rush of being in a new place that there’s danger because you don’t know your way around. You haven’t experienced things. You could make a mistake and so when you come back to somewhere, you completely feel differently because you know your way and you feel like you want to guide others, right? It’s that kind of confidence comes from having to push through those new experiences and I think that’s what drives people beyond the 193 and to keep going and get one more thing and one more thing because once you’ve done it, you’ve figured out the logistics of how to get there and you’ve seen it. I think that certain people want to take comfort in going back only to the one beach house that they may have or the Dacha or Disneyland or something like that and other people, I take comfort in going back to places but I just have a wider variety of places that I feel comfortable going back to now. It’s this escapism what you described. I think over the years that’s been really important to me too. For me, I must say it was a bit like escaping a potential depression and the way it works to be my mental model is I tell myself, well, for whatever reason, I’m not happy here but this might just be that moment that might be a relationship that could be the particular place in that second because I don’t like the noise on the street so whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be a big thing but what helps me is this escapism and I think this has become really mainstream is that I can picture myself in a different environment. I know there is a better environment for me out there so if it gets really bad instead of being really depressed, I can go to the place that really makes me happy and this is often, I don’t even have to go there. The actual travel is great and I would do it in a heartbeat but it’s not required. It’s this, okay, I know a place where I’ll be fine. I know where I’ll be comfortable. It’s been like a religious theme, so to speak. It could be a place heaven when people talk about that in Christianity but in other religions there’s always this place where you’re close to God, close where you’re comfortable and I’m not saying that these places are actually different. They’re different to me too. I feel comfortable there. I feel at peace for a certain amount of time. I probably can’t exist there for more than a couple of weeks or a couple of months and that escapism really helped me to reduce my own anxiety to see the world in a much more relaxed way than I would otherwise do and I kept adding places to my list and sometimes I went back and then I’m like, well, this place actually ends. It’s pretty terrible but for me this constant juggling around places where I could feel comfortable has really improved my life. It’s made a huge difference. The bigger your database or the bigger your repertoire of locations that you can think about, the stronger or the easier it would be for you to escape and imagine different things. It’s funny you mentioned the travel part is okay but just thinking about it is sometimes even more pleasurable. A lot of people just planning the trip it takes more time or they spend more time and is just as pleasurable if not more so than the actual travel because it’s in your imagination. You don’t really think through the jet lag. If you’re going someplace you just think, oh well it’s this many hours and I’ll arrive at this time. You don’t think through, oh it’s going to be raining. So everything is going right when you’re planning and especially you’re researching someplace new and you’re trying to choose different sites around that region or that city that you’re going to thinking of restaurants, thinking of whatever you may think of it’s kind of a limitless palette and you may only have three, three days, four days, five days. I would say that there’s also people that like to just put their self in the hands of a guide and get to see everything that way and not have to deal with a potential translation problems or whatever it may be and there are some people that really want to do it themselves. I want to break through the barriers myself. I don’t like being restricted by having or I can’t afford a guide but it’s that how much of the ownership you have on the planning part of it. I think one of the big lessons about travel that I’ve learned over the years is it’s really fun to plan out a really detailed itinerary and agenda and try and fit things in and work it out so it’s like a Tetris where everything fits but reality is going to get in the way. It will be raining or your baggage didn’t show up or there’s no transport or people on strike. Whatever it may be, there’s going to be things that throw you off. So what I say is to plan that way as if every minute is filled but then be mentally prepared and throw that out the window and the fact that you really studied so hard before you will make better decisions on the ground because if you just put yourself in the hands of a guide or if you only had one set agenda and it rains for example then what are you going to do stand in the rain or lose a day you can actually move things around and enjoy yourself much better the more that you research. I mean you’re never going to research so much as if you live there but the more you do it’s a beautiful thing about travel the more you put in the more you’ll get out of it and the research is actually pleasurable because you have this escapist quality so you know why not always dream about going to new places. Yeah no I’m fully with you and you know they say they’re best laid plans they don’t survive the best but with travel in them I fully agree with you it’s it’s the preparation it can be as much fun and I think a lot of people had their plans cancelled this year but they still have that joy of looking at new places that’s kind of the only thing they have this year for a lot of people and then what I think is important is that it desigurations these randomness and sometimes you could say that poverty is a blessing in travel because it forces you to be in more random situations which are uncomfortable and scary in that but they create more and I learned this from Boris we talked a lot about you know how far should you plan and how much tech should you bring and how much are you in the tourist route because you only want to go to the best places. I looked for at the app that you published with the most traveled people, most traveled places and I think you what there is an emphasis on say there’s two places in Addis Ababa that you need to check out so there’s one restaurant, there’s one hotel I don’t know how they got there and then what I would do I go to Foursquare and there’s like 100 places or say 50 places like my top 10 and I go through them and happy and then what the problem I talked about with Boris is a bit he says you know that is your first problem you should never do that because what you should do is you should allow for enough randomness and serendipity you should turn to locals you should even if they don’t know you will know things between the lines and it will tell you more about the country even if you don’t speak the language even if there’s lots of barriers in between this in between this randomness is for him at least what travel is about I travel differently right so I but I wanted to learn from him he said you know if you go fully technology free it looks really scary but at some point it becomes more memorable it’s more deeper experience I don’t know if you can share the same thing or I don’t know how you prepare for a new trip yeah so we got a lot of things in there first of all Boris Kester you’ve had on your show he’s a great he’s a great guy and he I believe I haven’t I’ve only traveled with him a few times and it was in a group but but like we’re Facebook friends and so what what I see is he’s doing a lot of hiking for example and you know and he’s moving around in some pretty remote places and and so on my on on most traveled people two of the categories of things that we have our restaurants and hotels but those are like the the most expensive ones and so it’s come that’s a completely different style from what Boris is doing but it’s just it’s a it’s a completely different audience and you know the the logic there is that there are there are certain people who do collect those things um and you know for monetization probably the audience that you would rather have than than just uh just the backpackers of the world who you know who who wouldn’t be getting so many expensive things so it’s that’s that’s kind of just a separate rationale for having these couple of lists um you know if you’re going to be traveling you’re not going to want to eat Michelin tasting menus every day even if you could afford it right but there you know it’s these these are lifetime endeavors right so it’s uh most troubled people is more about how many parts of the world have you covered and um it’s in your lifetime so it’s not like in one week what what do you do um and you know one of the one of the lists in most traveled people is of the world heritage sites of which there are you know just over a thousand worldwide but many of those have you know a dozen or more uh children child sites where like the site is composed of many different small sites right and so there’s some something on order of five to ten thousand actual world heritage site locations around so it’s a lot of that’s a that’s a lot of stuff and so if you’re gonna if you’re gonna try and collect those that uh that’s I think I find a lot of people do that who want to get out to the remote places and you know this is something that the United Nations UNESCO has deemed to be of of significant value of course some of them are better than than others but it’s just um you know that’s a good that’s a good list to follow too um in terms of in terms of preparation for a trip I try and I try and bring as little as possible because uh you can get what you need most most anywhere like for example if I’m going to a different climate you know unless it’s sort of like a polar expedition where you really need to have your gear all all set or if you like you know you’re going to be going on these massive hikes I I have my hip replaced one hip replaced and this the second hip needs to be replaced so the massive hikes have not been happening uh for me in particular like I could not keep up with Boris for uh more than a few hours uh probably but so I so I don’t need to bring so much gear like I need if I’m going swimming on a swimsuit and if it’s gonna be you know if it’s if it’s gonna be cold I’m gonna bring a coat I mean I don’t I don’t I get it the simplest kind of suitcase as long as it’s gonna fit in the carry on um you know I have my prescription drugs and things that you can’t get anywhere else but otherwise I just feel like you can you can buy it there and in fact that’s part of the fun one of the best one of the best like little adventures as well I need to find some shaving cream or or something so let’s let’s go to the local market let’s figure out what’s going on around here and um we’ll spend the morning trying to pick up the essentials and live like a local for the you know to have these kind of errands is a lot of times a better activity for learning about that area than having a guide take you to you know a view viewpoint yeah absolutely I fully agree with you I went um but just my laptop back so just what I was wearing in my laptop back in one warm um coat I went on a four week trip around the world went to the tropics went to um record my stand degree weather um I did exactly that so literally I had my laptop and my phone and chargers and nothing else and it was really cheap it was without any big drama I did a little bit of prep of course um but it was much easier than I thought usually I have at least the carryover basically I’m covered for all climate zones on that trip I wasn’t and I enjoyed it as much if not more I’m gonna look back and think about man they gave me an extra step of freedom I didn’t have to worry about anything that I had to lock around you I don’t have to go from the airport and storm my luggage I just go wherever I want and I don’t have any luggage with me when you when you talk about yeah no as I was gonna say you know about about the clothing if if um I mean think about think about the 19th century and some English guy going into Africa and wearing this like safari suit okay that’s sort of like you know imposing what you think ought to be worn into that place and you have to go out of your way to find it and I don’t like spending too much money at places like North Face you know where it’s all super expensive but if you you know if you have any doubts or you wonder what people are wearing there um and you don’t know what the climate’s going to be like well make that your first stop like go and go and just pick up some cheap local clothing it’s probably going to be a lot cheaper okay pair of shorts that I wear uh the most is eight dollars was eight dollars at a taiwanese night market yeah but yeah actually like where they’re you probably could have gotten it for hard to price yeah absolutely um you you mentioned the world heritage sites and often from what I know again correct me if that’s that’s not correct anymore you’ve been to 9 000 places right so I don’t know how these places are defined but it sounded like a massive list so have you been to all are you saying 9 000 on the world heritage list 9 000 in your ranking right from from what do you use for most travel people no it’s uh it’s it’s uh around 900 it’s 900 okay sorry about that just under a thousand yeah edit the digit there what does that mean so when we think about the world heritage sites you said there’s about 1 000 out there you’ve been to 90 sides of them no for me no no no world heritage so that we have different we have different lists so even so mtp is a breakdown of the of the world’s regions let’s just take a step back because we you talked about the un countries of which there are 193 and that’s kind of a easy categorization for people to to start with um but pretty quickly you realize that that doesn’t really have as much color as the as the real world and it starts to starts to break down pretty quickly when you think of you know green land with Denmark or my you know my first experience with that personally was I was 19 years old and I was able to stop in french Polynesia on the way to uh on the way to australia I had a semester in australia uh and and so french Polynesia is is an overseas territory of France it’s exactly the opposite side of the world um and I think I think at that time I had never been to Paris so you know would you do count that as something you know it had because I went to Tahiti does that mean I never have to go to Paris and I say that I’ve been to France it’s sort of it seems easily hackable like it seems like and I was I was chatting with porers about that there seems to be a bunch of people who literally just go for the passport stamp and they don’t even stay a night so the 193 is becoming an endeavor you can do in six months if you have free flights yeah well that yeah that’s a that’s a whole whole another topic we get to and try to get to what is the mtp 995 composed of so so we’ll start with a 193 and you realize that it starts to break down when you think of Puerto Rico french Polynesia you know green land and so what it as I was starting and trying and people were asking me how many countries I’ve been to I was I was on one of them my first around the world trips and I thought I didn’t know and then I started counting and I thought well Tahiti should be something different right someone should make a list and that’s when I discovered the traveler century club list so that is a club based in the United States which has around 325 or so items and so that goes into a bit more detail like Greenland’s a separate thing and French Polynesia split into two or three parts and so I started following that and realized wow I have a I have a long way to go and so that was kind of the next step and as I did more and more of that I was you know I was going to complete that I realized that Guinness had been maintaining a separate list and I thought wow there’s really no official kind of list here and I’m learning as I go that many places are like the traveler century club list is really kind of arbitrary and it’s not split up the way it should be so that’s how I started conceiving of most traveled MTP and when I first put together MTP it was 573 and I took traveler century club Guinness I took the ham radio list so the people who do radios have their own sort of geography way of counting the world’s land area and I kind of rationalized all that and and whenever there was an overlap I split out the overlap and that came to 573 and then I started the club and people would vote on how you know on what next thing should be done with the list and so over the years that’s grown now to 990 995 I think and much of that is with the larger countries splitting those into into regions like you know the US has 50 states and Russia has 90 oblasts or you know the equivalent of states or provinces and so the large countries doing that and then just some other island groups that people hadn’t looked at as being separate and so it’s it’s an evergreen list no one’s close to completing it right you know for many many years I was not on top right now I happen to be but there’s other people that could catch me pretty easily if they if they really wanted to so it’s it’s a it’s a kind of a shifting slope I try not to change it too much but we do change it a little bit every year at New Year’s so New Year’s places and when you when you look at the these these particular places that you haven’t been to are you more drawn to say you optimize a strategy so you go to Russia for four weeks you go to every single oblast or every single province in China it seems like this which is 90 you could jump up in the list quite a bit yeah is that something you you feel motivated by or you feel like no it’s the secret at all in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean I’ve been dreaming about going there for a long time I didn’t have the resources I didn’t have the opportunity I’d rather do this even if it’s 10 times more expensive than going to Russia yeah so you have to you have to want to do both if it if your motivation is is just about those you know numbers first of all Russia is not all that easy to get around so it’s not so easy to to pick up lots of places but what’s hard about Russia I felt renting a car I’ve been there many times you know best to east and then you drop off your car marina it’s it’s it’s easier now I should I should say we know when I was doing it the road wasn’t really built yet across us from cheetah onward to to to emmer so that that part was a little bit difficult and then of course there are a lot of northern provinces where you can’t you can’t really drive you have to fly oh yeah true yeah so um but yeah I mean it’s certainly in the european part part you could just drive around and um anyway for your question you have to want to do both um some people just say oh I don’t like remote islands or some people get really seasick on boats and so they they tend to not want to go on those on those longer trips um but then you know when you’re like let’s say you are trying to go around Russia um there are ways that you can do it you know more quickly if you just want to drive to a border uh and you know take a photo and turn around um you know that’s that’s okay uh but it’s better you know and I’ve learned over the years it’s it’s just better to just stop and do more and if you’re the more you stop and stay the more you you meet people the better experience that you’re going to have um and and fond of memory so it’s a lot of times it’s just how much time do you have but I mean for Russia I don’t think I don’t think it would be possible to just stay there for four months and cover the whole thing um at least I I wouldn’t want to do it that way sort of like you have to you you break it down into maybe 10 oblasts uh and and take a trip or like whatever you can do in the summertime when you have the time um so I know Russia for me I was focused on on on trying to cover every place but it came over the course of like six six different trips of like really really driving around or flying or um you know a couple a couple of times it was just hanging out you know in Moscow um and I still there’s all the arctic islands I don’t have I spent two days waiting for a helicopter to try to go to the um curial islands and uh it was in Kamchatka and fog never lifted now now of course there’s an airport there that has um you know that has the the highest level of uh landing systems so you can so the transport is much more regular now but so that curial islands are outstanding for me but you have to have the motivation to want to go everywhere yeah there’s been there’s been tales about you and I want to run them by you and I’m not sure you if they are even true so um there is this tale that you’ve been going on a trip with apparently a newborn at home um and then you you’ve been taking off for a 60 day trip probably was planned where you had to a remote island uh 60 days round trip I don’t know if this is even true but those are tales being told about you is that something you’ve done and that’s that seems like some extreme dedication to the cause yeah it’s actually worse than that uh so yeah for Buve Island um you know I really most I’d say most of most of my actual travel I was doing full time was before uh before I had kids so you’re talking about my or my first child born 2003 next one 2005 and then 2008 so I was really trying to push before the end of 2003 um and try and finish the TCC on the Guinness so Buve Island is a really difficult place it’s the most remote uh some most remote islands in the world most remote piece of land in the world and uh it’s way in the middle of the south Atlantic and and there’s just like hardly any way to get there that’s not it’s not on the way to anything so um when opportunity came up it had been you know many years in the making and it kind of came out of the blue where a guy from South Africa called me and said you know basically we’re gonna I had the chance we can take you on the on our Antarctic research vessel um we’re gonna be leaving in five days or something so at that time my first child was just a month or or two old and uh you know and I had to talk seriously to my wife about it um and she supported me uh and so with that was like a really special circumstance um and we were 72 days at sea so the whole thing was like you know 70 75 or 80 days of being gone um and you know it wasn’t it wasn’t just Bouvet we wound up being able to visit Bouvet was in the first uh first five days so five days sailing out of Cape Town and we were able to to land Norwegian Norway owns Bouvet and so they had to change out a weather station and by weather station just like this little ball size of a bowling ball with antennas and stuff so they had um they had to put a new one down and tie it with strong cables so it won’t blow away um and the South Africans had to pick up some rubbish that was there from the last time three years ago that anyone had set foot on there so I was able to go on the helicopter but you know after that there’s no there’s no like exit ramp from that trip um and so I spent Christmas in New Year’s with the with the crew they were bringing all the South Africans down to their summer base uh to to the Senai base where they spend this that’s like four weeks of spending the summer doing their experiments that they plan all year for and then switching out the crew um and bringing bringing them home so while they were doing that on the base we on the ship were going all the way across the South Atlantic and we landed on the most remote island of South Sandwich which is South Tule which turns out to have been involved in the Falklands War we were stuck in ice for two weeks during that during that time so there’s a there’s a lot of stuff going on but there wasn’t any way just to say hey you know can you let me off here and I’ll go home so it was definitely the longest that I’ve been at sea and it happened to be right when my daughter was first born yeah well these additional details make make it a much more reasonable trip right but that’s that’s not what you assume when you first hear it right when you it’s like twitter and a long conversation right there’s there’s a lot to it there’s just a couple things you just made me think of um when we’re coming coming back so you know we’ve been in very cold climate for for a long time and out of civilization so and coming back when it was like the day before we’re going to hit Cape Town it started getting a little bit warmer and you know we were we were going to see Cape Town on the horizon so I stood up on deck and I just kept standing there looking and looking and looking and I got sunburned like I got so sunburned that my my skin and actually three days my skin peeled off I had to go to like a salon to have them peel the peel the skin off and put some some stuff on my face but that was one thing and then the next thing was like you when you’re gone from civilization for so long like I just I would stand there at an ATM because you’re using barter system on the boat or maybe you had a credit card number or something um but to go to an ATM and just like put your card in have money come out have people walking all around you it just it seemed so crazy and strange and foreign I felt like a like a caveman or something it was extremely unique for anyone who hasn’t been gone so long from from society it was pretty freaky actually I can’t I can imagine um do you have the opportunity to take your children now on your trips now that they are probably a little older um do you travel with them do you feel that’s something important you want to share with them well we you know we did so there’s a there’s a financial component also but we we we did um when they were very little we did some some traveling with them and tried to try to like work it in um after that it’s just it’s been we divorced and have three kids and you know money got to be a lot tighter so um it hasn’t it hasn’t I would love to but it hasn’t really been as possible um I try to bring the kids at least to the east coast of the United States where I grew up uh once a year in the summer so that they can see that side of the family and also you know understand that there’s different things than California out there but one thing I learned with small children is they don’t really remember too much about about the travel like they they had been to south of France and you know they just don’t remember anything you have to tell them that they were there and they don’t really start to appreciate until maybe you know 14 years old or so so they’re just getting to that age and so for this Christmas I I promised at least my two girls to take them where they where they wanted to go and they um they decided they want to go to Europe and go to Dubai so we’re just waiting for the COVID openings uh you know when it when they will allow us in to be able to do that trip so I you know there’s finances but also just the kids should really be old enough to really appreciate it all otherwise it’s a lot of I think you you you’ll have both um I took my children um probably 40 50 different countries by now and we did um trips when they were quite little um like two years old um and we kept doing it I say two or three months every year um that I’ve been on the road with them and what happened is I fully agree yes they they forget a lot 90 percent of the early memories they don’t exist anymore but I think there’s an intrinsic um comfort to be in a different environment and they make their own little maps where they’ve been and so they have one map and they do the markers and I’m going to keep repeating this so they’re 13 now so the twins so they they know quite a bit and we haven’t been traveling for plenty of reasons the last two years as much but they really miss it before they were like oh no we don’t want to go on another trip please stop you want to stay home and play with our toys and I don’t know we have to go take some toys and I was always cruel and now all I can can can hear and I think this there is a certain relationship they’ve built with this idea of travel they have all their places they have their map and they know where they want to go they say they kind of plan the trips that we all should together or that I should take um and I think that’s I’m really proud of that right so it’s something that I nurtured and I wasn’t sure what would happen I’m like will they remember will anything come out of it and I feel there is something left of what it might be that by the time they turn 18 and they’re like travel is the worst ever we never want to do it again I kind of doubt that but it could be yeah I’ve heard I’ve heard it go both ways and no so let me let me just say that’s fantastic if I could have done things that way uh I I probably I probably would have um but it just wasn’t that that wasn’t the way things went for me um and and the kids you know they they do have some small memories of we used to go to um Tofino in in Canada on Vancouver Island uh every year and you know they see pictures and they have little vague memories went to um went to a place in Fiji uh one year and they you know they remember that and they do want to they they they want to go I think they’re going to get a lot more out of it now and you know if I could have if I could have done it your way I definitely I would have um and they and they would be better better travelers now I think yeah when we talk about places that you felt out of your experience they were quite surprising in a positive way so when we encounter new places we have a certain set of expectations um realistic or not we go there and then sometimes it’s a big letdown and sometimes it’s poor for a very variety of reasons we feel this is a really positive surprise I think for a lot of travelers and I include myself into this for the most part there is the idea of you have friendly locals you have an environment that’s relatively safe it’s good food it’s pretty affordable you don’t feel like you’re being ripped off all the time um that that really constitutes often something that is more more positive but again our expectations play a big role yeah when I’ll ask you what would you feel like is your top five of these positive surprises what would you tell me well uh well let me let me just say first that you know marketing plays a big role in um marketing word of mouth Instagram now in terms of what people think they want you know in terms of where they think they want to go if they haven’t traveled all that much um and usually the positive surprises come when you just don’t have any opinion whatsoever and then you say hey this is actually something that was really good and or you know it could just be your own particular experience that you found someone really nice in some town somewhere and got to eat a dinner at their at their house or whatever whatever it may be that you had a particularly good experience so it’s hard to absolutely predict but uh you know you and I were chatting earlier and you had mentioned you know Thailand for example that people would have a set of expectations about what Thailand is like usually there’s when you have one of those that’s heavily marketed like just look nearby to something that’s like that like like Myanmar has many regions which are undiscovered for tourists and you know things are cheaper it’s not as overrun and you can have some you know equally good or more authentic experiences right next door and probably it’s gonna you’re gonna enjoy more because not as crowded or or you just didn’t have that expectation so yeah you know I think probably I had more more anticipation than than other people but you know just to give a top five I’d say Lebanon jumps to mind because most people don’t think of Lebanon as they think of it more in terms of negative things that happen in being near Syria and having um Iranian influence but it’s the hospitality and the cuisine the scenery like just such a nicest people and um so that was that’s a surprise you know and for that matter Iran for Americans people think that you just think of the Ayatollah and you think of people being kidnapped but the hospitality there and the cultural diversity is is it’s a world class um South America I think that you know I think people are going more and more to Bolivia but Bolivia to me was um a really nice surprise compared to Peru where um you know if you go to Machu Picchu it’s pretty it’s usually pretty pretty crowded so that’s an example of things that really heavily marketed that you have expectations about but I mean actually like I just went to Cajamarca in the middle of in the middle of Peru like last year right before the lockdown I was going to some parts of Ecuador and Peru and Bolivia that I hadn’t been before and almost every place was more enjoyable than than what I expected or where I’d been before because it was all kind of undiscovered authentic um it’s part of that was expectations part of that is maybe that I’m a little better at traveling now than I was before when I went nearby and part of it’s just because it’s off the beaten beaten track and people yeah you come there and people are like whoa look you’re not from here and that’s you know they don’t get that in Lima or in Cusco but they’re still really pretty I felt Lima was was one of those places that I didn’t have any expectations for but it has this similar weather than San Francisco it has this cold fog coming in and the sunny periods are really nice but it’s these beautiful gardens all over the area of Mara Flores it’s extremely safe and if the sun comes out they have this beautiful beach down it’s it’s it’s not a real it’s more a city beach so it’s kind of rocky but I was really surprised how how intense the sun is our culture their waves are and what it’s just one of those I don’t know I have this childhood of experience of strong sun and the cold water and that’s exactly what I found there was next to the freeway and I’m like oh this is going to be terrible but it was awesome so it was kind of a strange experience but I really found in love with Lima but that’s definitely all right yeah and I think you know maybe my uh the way I categorize Lima differently than you right now is because I’ve been there been there a few times and it’s more like a transit place for me now yeah yeah yeah and uh you know I I’m thinking back on Cape Town I remember first going to Cape Town has your perceptions changed over time when I first went to Cape Town of course went down to keep a good hope and I just said my god I’ve really this is the farthest ever I’m really come to the end of the earth here and this is the farthest I’ll ever be able I’ll ever go this is before I you know found the TCC and started doing all this crazy traveling but wow this is really it uh you know I’ve been to the edge so now I’ll go back and then I’ve been back to Cape Town like 10 20 times since then and it’s a it’s a transit point yeah yeah I fully agree I mean the last couple times I went to Cape Town I skipped the city entirely and I went straight either east or north um which is odd right so there seems to be always an ultimate frontier that we are looking for and always this this this this it’s in your mind because it’s it’s all depends on what where you’ve where you’ve been before like for one of the only trips I’ve done this year or the only real trip I’ve done this year is to um uh it was with a group of of similar travelers and one guy organized a really nice boat and the the main goal was to get to Clipperton Island which is a French island in the Pacific Ocean off of Mexico it’s like 700 miles off the coast of Mexico um and I had I had been there I had gone through the whole adventure of getting there on a fishing boat a long time ago uh 2003 uh so I had been but none of the other people had been because it’s really one of the most rare places in the world however this this uh voyage also stopped at the uh Red Villajijeros which is the island south of Baja uh which is set aside a separate World Heritage National Park for Mexico and it’s it’s separate certainly on MTP most people consider it separate from Mexico we were going to stop there and that’s new for me so as we came to Clipperton I was yeah yeah well you know it’s Clipperton I’ve been there and you know it wasn’t so much of an enormous deal for me I was like pointing things out to all the other people um yeah of course I want to land and and it has changed over the years so it’s something else that you notice but uh where where how you think about places really has a lot to do whether you’ve been there before as I had said these are the most rare places in the world everyone’s like flipping out it’s the a lifetime achievement and I’m thinking yeah well okay it’s fine well what I the jadedness of frequent travelers is definitely a problem right so we do see that I remember for instance my my first international first class trip I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself and I had no idea what was going on right I expected economy service but it was quite different and I find myself in a similar position you know a couple of years later um say five years later and there was I don’t know what it was someone didn’t give me the champagne after two minutes of dye sat down and I was bitching about it right so it’s it’s it’s weird what happens in your mind about something that from every point of view the people who look at you you’re the same person right you’re maybe a little older but you look you’re the same the same box I would say for better or worse they put you in but for you the experience is completely different because of that set of expectations a set of prior experiences you built and that’s quite devilish and that it brings out this the certain arrogance and I think this happened to a lot just before COVID that people when I traveled to places and I have a good mix between you know that I heavily traveled heavily tourist and then they’re pretty empty but I felt the the crowd that was really annoyed about that trip that wasn’t excited at all that basically complained about the most little things out there that had no patience so when the internet was slow that was just basically in the Instagram world much less over the place that they’ve been they didn’t appreciate it these people were always they always were a share of tourism right so this is nothing new but I it seemed like they suddenly constituted 90% of whoever goes there yeah so something strange was going on the dark side of tourism had really taken over and that’s kind of for a lot of people now COVID obviously is a reset where they’re basically all restraints this is a skepticism we don’t travel anymore because it’s dangerous maybe it is that’s obviously a personal decision but a lot of these people are relatively young right in their 20s or 30s so the risk of COVID is relatively small how did that happen what did COVID change for you it is this whole crisis is reset where we are forced to stay home we are looking at your own involves has it changed anything or you just say in person as a year ago yeah I mean well for me it’s I’m busy building the website and my kids are 13 15 17 now so you know it feels like I can’t I can’t really go the way out the way I want to and it’s been you know it’s been that way for a couple of years now so I don’t feel like COVID is all that much different I did have to shut shut things down completely for a while but I don’t I don’t feel like I miss it as much as because I feel like beforehand I was really doing a lot of travel and I feel like sort of satisfied well that being said you know one of the reasons I wanted to take my two girls this year is because when you know when Europe opens it’s it’s going to be you know not deserted but it’s going to be an ability to see places is without like how you say when not if yeah yeah I mean in the probably in the summertime when hopefully when they like I would I’ve avoided for the last 20 years because it’s just more and more more and more overrun um so that to I mean I’m sorry to interrupt but I meant to crack last October which is always in the kind of a late scene so where and to crack the degree guy let our creek without creek and I felt it’s it was it was almost strangely calm like I was still in a tourist town but there were no tourists everything was closed actually all right there was no other shops open I mean the locals went about their business nothing had really changed there right I but I didn’t have a comparison I haven’t hadn’t been there before so it might have been completely overrun but now there was like two docks on the beach and that was it there was literally nobody else so it was kind of creepy too I at some point I wasn’t even sure if I prefer that because before you have all these tourist services you have restaurants you have tons of competition but it was like one restaurant in a whole town you’re still running so I wasn’t actually so sure if that’s better to be there now I think I think you know in that case it’s depends whether you’ve been there before and like I one of the few places I went right in the middle of everything last year it was in June I went to Portugal because I there was a a luncheon and some friends were doing it and I wanted to attend there but also it was kind of to try and prove as an American still over the one of the only Americans I know that got through when you know Europe was officially closed my friend and I found a way to to transit through Heathrow and it you know it was kind of the same kind of excitement where we didn’t know if we were going to be able to board the plane at every step of the way so it was like when we finally landed and got in it was like oh this is amazing but going around World Heritage sites in in Portugal they were abandoned and because I had been really locked down and crowds just the year before in Portugal in Cintra and some other places I really appreciated it I thought no this is this is fantastic you can get whatever groceries you need if you know restaurant is serving takeaway whatever I will take it a million times versus being being you know feels like Disney World and some of these some of these places especially in June so I you know on your situation in Crete I would I would say probably you’re lucky there I did want to say also just regarding the sort of dark side and Instagramers and so on you know there’s a there’s a time in my life for up until let’s say two years ago and I had a girlfriend who’s a lot younger and one of the reasons that we we’re together for about six seven years and one of the reasons that we were together for so long and I wanted to be with her was because the first time that we traveled together she was so so enthusiastic and you know bright eyed to see something new it was like running around taking pictures and just and just very fun and articulate and beautiful and all those other things but the traveling together it made me realize that if we went together we could go to a place like Machu Picchu or you know wherever it may be some place that I’d already been but it felt new to me because I was seeing it through her eyes you know like Cape Town we went and climbed up Table Mountain and it did all these all these other things and it gave me a reason to want to do to plan out a trip see how places have changed but do it do it really in a fresh way so you know there it’s definitely possible to get that new point of view and maybe that would be the same thing going with kids right yeah to an extent I can I can fully see that and I think what I’ve realized the motivations of why I travel have changed slightly um certain needs for additive they haven’t been replaced but I for a while I thought of myself um as a pretty pretty decent photographer so I went to people and I preferred to go to places where I find the right setup for my photography I’m not that interested in it anymore in so much into great photography anymore that’s tough because you need to you know a lot of times you need to get up pretty early to catch the light or hang around exactly so there was you look at things completely differently and then I had these these I talked about it on a different podcast a friend of mine whenever we went to a new place he would look out for synagogues so he had his Jewish heritage angle that was the most important thing when he traveled so he went to the synagogue even if there was just one person left we would go there usually it was almost abandoned or it was more sometimes they were beautiful and brand new but there was a particular angle he looked at and that was kind of his um his his motivation to see how these places changed over time or when he’s been there before or to see how this Jewish heritage has survived over the years and I think if you add these motivations these layers of why you go that kind of makes it so interesting because you go back to the same place otherwise it would be jaded if you look through the same prism but if you added a couple of new prisms say you suddenly very interested in education and you go to a couple of schools or you go to orphanages or suddenly you become interested in macroeconomics and you you kind of sway all the roads or you become interested in animals and look at the zoos I think there’s tons of stuff you can you can add but but the jadedness are often compared to to what teenagers suffer from because they they suffer from being extremely bored right so they they’re 13 and 14 15 they they spend their life with the fear of being you and more bored that’s what they tell me we don’t want to be bored right who said that my my my children are with many teenagers not necessarily when we travel but it sets in even when we travel yeah and but it’s the wrong abstraction layer so what I’m trying to say is we we look at certain things and say oh we know all this all right that’s kind of me being in first class being an idiot instead of looking at it from a different way where I at look slightly low in that abstraction layer and find something that’s new something I’m curious about and that’s kind of a mental exercise that’s tough to do and I sometimes I’m not sure and I think your way ahead of me there but a lot of people with with their travel they they strive for this and strive for new experience of what they find is just that weird reflection of their own in a different place and then travel doesn’t work anymore right so they kind of they become jaded they become happy disappointed because travel experiences yeah no it’s there’s there’s a kind of people that it’s you know it’s like a very American breakfast dish to have pancakes and like some places in the world they catch on but they do it because it was an American cuisine and like I don’t people who travel and they’re like you know why can’t I just want to have some pancakes they try and take their same routine and put it in a different place and that just doesn’t work for me the whole joy is in fine it’s figuring out a different routine trying it if you like it or not I was just listening to your story about interests and and gaining new experiences like it can it could be through seeing it from a younger person’s eyes but maybe I would guess that you you actually became more interested and excited about getting to a new synagogue because your friend was excited about it yeah I mean maybe you had the interest before or not but uh I didn’t have this number really religious until a couple years ago that’s a new thing I mean but when you’re with someone and you’re traveling you’re like sometimes you’re like oh you know look we if we press if we press harder we could get to this other synagogue by before nightfall you start getting into the same into the same interest as they are and you never ever would have thought that way before yeah I mean for a while I think for for one summer I went pretty much all over France just looking at churches and I became an expert in architecture and then like every little glass detail and but because my girlfriend was interested in that but I had no idea really I mean I knew what was taught in school that was it but I got really good at this and I find it really fascinating but it never lasts so I mean I forgot all about that so I think it’s this this if we become a mirror of ourselves and I think this escapism works for a short while but it’s it’s not helping if you don’t if you don’t add another layer to like a vertical or horizontal layer depending on how you want to look at this where we can find new experiences wherever because it seems like you and me too we’re kind of addicted to this new experience something we learned something we felt surprisingly safe or surprisingly satisfied with what we see and it needs to be a slight differential to what we we we expect and what we’re used to yeah I mean trouble is the only answer that’s what I’m trying to get at right yeah and then and doing it in a new way whether it’s along a different dimension or just the geographic dimension I mean I think part of it for me is conquering that new experience having that uncertainty and being able to break through that that gives me a feeling of accomplishment and and then to have the the the the capability to describe it to other people and be the expert that that feeds my ego like a position of power I have the knowledge firsthand knowledge um yeah and then you know that’s just always always nice to be able to to talk about it so it’s kind of acquiring you know it’s just like getting wealthy on on experiences and then yeah and then feeling powerful because you can then talk to anybody about it I mean one of my favorite things is to get into a taxi let’s say in New York City or some place that has a really diverse population and then guessing where the person is from just by the way they look or by the name and then being able to talk to them about their hometown and they’re usually extremely surprised and like I remember getting a free free rental car because I was the first person that’s guy running the rental car agency had ever met the new the new where Sierra Leone was and had been there and talked to him it’s like yeah take the car for free it’s just it’s just a great feeling to be able to have that kind of connection and you only you only get that if you’re really interested in and how everything fits together and and you know want to want to see the patterns of immigration the patterns of of um you know how people live why why uh two cultures live near each other may fight each other or why they may have migrated in a different direction um you get you get that and you appreciate it a lot more by going there and looking around then just reading it in a book I remember studying studying as a child and think intellectually kind of understanding what’s going on historically but going if you when you go to the place and then read the book wow this is really a powerful book I really I you know I I wish that I had been more careful of a student when I was when I was younger because this is really great stuff yeah have you been inspired by other books that other travelers have written so I for me a great inspiration was Jim Rogers right his travels around the world and the economic perspective that he brought to the table I thought it was marvelous I’ve never read anything like it um at the time and I probably still remember it as one of my best books I’ve ever read on the topic what would you quote or or larger collections of experiences that are maybe outside of popular culture maybe we covered James Bond earlier Indiana Jones I would I would add the blacklist to this you know James Spader he kind of plays a similar character a little more wise a little less flashy um what what else would you feel like you’ve been first of all Jim Jim Rogers so I um I was reading uh his first two books were really really really good and so then I would um I read his other books too but I got the chance to meet him um at we we I forget how we first got in touch but he was um showing off his car the first time we met personally was he was showing off his car in Monterey at the Monterey car show in California you know the yellow car that he used to the Mercedes that was raised up that he used to drop from his book um yeah so he wrote the motorcycle book first yeah then he wrote the trailer yeah yeah the Mercedes yellow that he went with his wife and he got he spent like all chapter describing why he why he had that you know he chose that colors and why he had that um built that way uh so he was showing off that car so he met I invited him to dinner and we went uh three of us with my with my wife to dinner and she said he was rubbing trying to rub her leg under the table but uh so he’s like a flirtatious guy but um we then got to um we met in New York a couple of times uh and went to his house and um helped celebrate uh celebrate birthday parties and and stuff I remember this one situation where I forget why but I wound up in possession of his Jim Rogers like a baby rattle you know a little silver thing that’s when you shake it it makes noise a little toy and I like he gave me something and maybe it was inside or whatever and I remember we were going to be leaving and his wife like frantically chasing us down if you’re holding Jim Rogers uh baby rattle he is he’s a special kind of personal he was his unique dude yeah yeah that’s for sure but I I I found that amazing the way he it’s kind of a modern tale that you expect only happens on to be what it actually happened what he actually did that and uh it’s it’s maybe I’ve forgotten this I have to reread it maybe I forgot some of the the particular adventures and it’s I still want to do some of those routes that he he had covered so I’m gonna do the Africa route where I go from Kenya or Ethiopia all the way down but then up there and go like him yeah that’s something I hadn’t done yet he wrote he wrote very well also um I you know I have to say that uh I probably did more travel reading um when I was when I was younger and not actually not actually doing doing it um because I used to love Marco Polo and um and uh read um Pico Ayer and um just Hemingway and you know I would get lost in some of this imagery um but as as I was actually traveling more and more if I were to pick up a book or look something up it was going to be much more factual of just like let me google map this place and just just get the get this this setting and then I’ll figure out from there because I feel like I I know enough um I need to put my mental uh my mental capacity onto uh onto the actual execution of this trip or you know reading it’s a bit like art you know when you when you come to close I feel when you realize how it’s made it becomes less art right it becomes more the the craft it’s the yeah you know how it’s made and it doesn’t it’s still a great piece of art but you you feel like you’ve seen it from the perspective that ruined it from you yeah especially modern or contemporary art it’s a bigger problem and I feel with the travel um images that we have in our mind and I think that are being put there by good marketers or by good artists and good writers it’s a similar experience we have these expectations um we don’t really know where it started we get somewhere and it can be quite a letdown so the expectations are usually at a hundred percent perfection level as you said earlier when you’re doing something and the reality can exceed that but it’s often it’s much more likely in terms of statistical relevance it’s much more likely a letdown and so it was for me for the for the world heritage so it’s what what I experienced most of them I found extremely overrun they’re very expensive because usually $50 entrance fee often more what where where are you talking about well nally bella for instance think about the churches yeah it’s free for the locals but it’s like 75 dollars um it was really busy when I went um what’s another place um I went recently I went to Jordan to Petra yep beautiful I liked it and I like this one view from Indiana Jones it was as I expected but it was crazy expensive and it was really nightmarish um the experience in the canyon because there were so many horses and they would literally run you over there was no they wanted you to take that horse and if you were stupid enough not to do that um they really wanted you to suffer so I thought that was a strange experience but I went there at night the next night and it was awesome there was nobody else there oh like hand light and yeah redeemed redeemed it well so then that’s like an example of how you gain the power of now you would tell people hey don’t go during the day go at night and do it this way because that’s something that you that you learned through suffering uh first hand yeah it’s um uh I it’s it’s a it’s a very Jesus story right so I suffer for you and that you’re going to have a better life you can redeem yourself through me this seems to be in over an age or r r seems to be on to something yeah I don’t I don’t uh I didn’t see myself that way I just like you know like obviously not in that that overarching theme right but as a little Jesus as a little tiny little one solver so I’m not I’m not going to compare any of us to that’s right what would little Jesus do exactly he would suffer for us I was just and I was thinking of these overrun uh places when I was with my um girlfriend just thinking for example in Rome so she had been subject to all the marketing and and uh this wasn’t even in this wasn’t even in mid summer was like I I tried to go in off season it was pretty like third week of September or so and we we did a lot of Italy and we did some amazing things like I put together a lot of my knowledge to get this amazing trip together for two weeks really jam packed as we were working at the time so couldn’t you had to really uh use your time wisely but to go through Rome like I would just skip Rome but she says no no I have to see the roman coliseum and um like okay this is really really important so I’m like I found a way to you know to get close and be able to park without you know to get her very close I’m like okay go ahead and she’s someone you’re coming with me right it’s no I’m not because I’ve I’ve been inside of there look at the look at look at the crowds um it’s gonna be worse and you just want to go to get your photo and your selfie inside and so I’m gonna stay and watch the car and you know first she thought that I was that I was uh overreacting or something but she went and you know came back after half an hour and like hair like this and oh my god that was that was terrible I had to try and make my way through all these like Chinese and Japanese tour groups it’s so hot it’s so crowded it’s not even worth it I wouldn’t you know I wouldn’t do it again and I was like sitting and sitting you know reading the news on on my phone or something in an air conditioned car um or with a breeze open through the windows and it’s very comfortable like yeah you know told you but so sometimes yeah there is there is a limit to tourism and when it’s and it’s probably a natural limit but there is this this dark side and I think it’s it’s kind of a responsibility that we have as as explorers so to speak you way more than I am but it’s a responsibility to kind of I don’t know to educate or to come up with better models so that places are ready to to deal with this and I think the European capitals had that really bad in 2019 because of lots of discount airlines they had enormous fear actually before the summer for the crowds that will ruin the cities for the locals but to and to an extent that you wait six seven hours I was in I was in Paris and that was at New Year’s it was kind of cold and I forgot what the site was it wasn’t an important museum and I got there and they said yeah it’s a six or seven hour wait I’m like what do you mean by that that’s the line and they couldn’t even make the reservations before maybe some online tickets but most of the line that was waiting out there in the snow would have waited six hours for a middling museum it wasn’t great yeah I’m like this this cannot be real so there is this this dark side and yes we can talk about we want to spread out but sooner or later everyone wants to go up to the Eiffel Tower everyone wants to go to the Louvre right everyone wants to see the other sides of Paris and they actually probably write oh the Louvre is full so let’s go to another place and I was at the equal misfortune and I went to Costa Rica only recently and I thought they have pulled it off they seem to have made for for maybe by sheer luck maybe by because it was too expensive or maybe because they didn’t do enough marketing I don’t know what the reason was but it seemed to be pretty spread out it seemed to be in harmony with places around them it wasn’t they were big developments but you know they were but because there’s a 50 mile ocean ocean that isn’t really developed it didn’t really matter if there was a big development a big resort what time of year did you go sorry what time of year did you go I went in February just last month yeah so February is going to be a great time to go there because not you know most most people are in school or working and so it’s going to be less crowded but also Costa Rica doesn’t have like this kind of Eiffel Tower places that sure everyone has to like converge on it’s sort of good places but all all spread out when you look at Copey P and Copey P has crossed yeah it’s closed it’s still closed it’s like two years it’s been closed because it’s overcrowded yeah so yeah I mean that’s it’s just terrible the you know the and the government did step in and that was a pollution issue because there are people that actually live there and um it was just getting like there’s like sewage in the waters and and so it’s a place that’s not really known for for wise government actually let’s put it this way yeah yeah yeah so but it was just going to be so bad most most places like the museum in Paris what do they care people gonna wait six hours great well you know but do you think there is something we can actually do there is something that we can kind of develop as a framework to make this more manageable to make this a more healthy development because it seems to go and follow these boom and pass cycles oh I mean my what can what can we do I tell people not to go any time between June and September or you know many in September just find it find a different way or go go to another hemisphere find find a newer different place and just like accept that you’re not going to visit the Eiffel Tower in the middle of summer unless unless you have some like incredible VIP connection that’s going to bring you through all the all the crowds um don’t expect to just be able to go and and enjoy well one thing one thing that I wanted to to say and I think you would be a great inspiration I think a lot of travelers from from my point of view they’re being channeled into a relatively finite amount of destinations and then in the destinations there’s a finite amount of things to do with things to see before you die where it’s this bucket list right off them and if they would have a wider focus and if they wouldn’t have and I realized in in Charmai apparently was really famous in China everyone was from China there’s no other tourists left because apparently there was a movie that took off and everyone in China knew about Charmai if we would find a way to to educate but not in a in a in a boring way but in an entertaining adventurous way if we tell people well the what you’re looking for is maybe in more places than just at the Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower these crowds would disperse that’s well that’s what MTP is about like if we don’t mention Eiffel maybe Eiffel Tower is a world heritage I don’t know but you know it’s about giving people there’s more than just the 193 even you know there’s so many different places here’s a list that is giving you a thousand new ideas about you know about about where to go and each one of them has something to offer and 99% of the time you’re not going to be so so miserable if you if you just know how to handle yourself like read the trip reports and and make a decision based on that but your horizons should be a lot a lot wider like 193 is not enough and for me it was the TCC is even not enough that there’s so many more places you know and then you can you can push people from being that like I can only go to where I’ve been marketed to to the Boris Kester model of like don’t don’t expect anything bring your sleeping bag and your yoga mat I mean that’s certainly the the other end of that that that’s that spectrum one thing that I’ve noticed and maybe that’s always been true so maybe I’m just looking at it the wrong way I feel like the what you know and what Boris knows and other people who’ve been to lots of places they’re sharing their knowledge and they’re very open about sharing that knowledge but somehow it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention like DD I think there is viral Instagram posts with millions of likes about this one really artificial image say from a greek greek beach but we don’t really see this from from the extreme traveler community or maybe that it is I just I haven’t seen it I think we’re busy more busy doing and then we are marketing you know I think that they quote unquote influence there’s not so many influencers that are on the top tier of of travelers because they’re trying to make a business influencing representing brands representing tourism boards whatever whatever it may be and so they it’s just like a different focus and then you know by that influence people are following are following that so yeah I mean it’ll be it’ll be great but the thing is like if you want to follow Boris Kester you don’t really want to follow every exact place that he’s walking to because then you have a million people why it’s like that it’s like you want to do a mix of both well I mean why not I would start there to be honest he had some incredible guides about places I never heard of you know in Africa and he goes to like 20 different places in that country and only has a trip report like it’s relatively long for each particular place it’s amazing I’ve never seen that before and the data is available somewhere else but not in such a clean compilation I mean I think that people have to have the attitude that they want to go they want to go somewhere else and not and have their own experience and I think that probably they have to learn by you know learn by having one or two times where they just get shoved into a crowd and you know and learn that that’s that’s what’s that’s what’s happening right now I was just about that topic I was just in Tulum you need to learn for themselves yeah you’re absolutely right I was in Tulum and I didn’t really expect big crowds because it was still coronavirus but you know the the Mexican coast got a lot of people so I kind of knew there would be some people and because this outdoor site is Mayan ruins at the at the water and suddenly you and you didn’t really see that coming there were probably 10 15 000 people nobody wears a mask there and they just stormed through this place it was really surreal um it was a really strange experience and there was not a ton of crowds otherwise in Mexico but right there and they suddenly appeared and they weren’t talk groups or anything I don’t even know where they came from right now it’s lots of locals locals but also I mean Tulum is an example of a place that’s just completely transformed based on you know it’s like used to be for for pp island co co tau is like the underground of ravers that all want to converge in one place to party and I mean I remember going to Tulum in whenever 2005 and it was hard it was pretty sleepy like it was just being developed to the south and it was amazing it was fantastic and so I always wanted to come back there and I brought my girlfriend back there um 2013 2014 it was all pretty pretty built up you can see the construction and you know was putting a strain on the sewage systems because that’s like a kind of narrow strip of very sandy land down there but it was like all the best fish tacos in the world the most extreme yoga retreats and you’re starting to hear more and more about that’s where people are going to party like oh yeah of course they’re spending New Year’s in Tulum and you know like the burning man on the beach kind of thing almost yeah and it blows up like that it can’t it’s it’s never going to be the the way that it was so I am not surprised at all that even during the coronavirus you would you were getting uh you know it’s still Mexico’s open and so you’re getting everyone trying to go to Tulum we’d look at um look at it but it was there’s one place where I couldn’t see that I didn’t see that coming that there was yeah proud out of nowhere and but absolutely you’re right um there when you think about these places like you just mentioned Kotao and there used to be kopi pi and it seems to be something that that keeps on wandering so it’s a moving target where this this crowd congregates right now what other places for you would come to mind you still have a bit of this original hipster feeling so to speak I may be not the not the best person to ask about about what’s cool about what’s cool right now um I know what felt that way at the time I mean but it’s that is really driven by a lot by backpackers so uh like um Laos like Luang Prabang was that way and now it’s getting a little bit too too much so people are going then to the to the secondary cities in Laos you know but yeah we just get kind of on the backpacker circuit and you ask where people are going that’s like magnets word word of mouth because people are they’re going to you know hook up and drink and smoke and do whatever whatever else and that’s like real time information and they’re not following so as much of the of the like the um high end instagram people I don’t think so no for sure it’s a different crowd when you think I’m going off the list of remote places because I haven’t been and if I haven’t been then it’s probably not on anyone’s radar really that all that much so um I’m probably a bad person to ask about what’s cool when you think when you think about the next 20 years where do you feel is trouble going will we see hundreds of thousands people chasing 193 countries I know I remember the list was really really tiny 20 years ago and that’s substantial I think it’s a few hundred people maybe yeah it’s like 300 and um but so many people are trying to do that now so I think that I think that it’s going to be um it’s I think that’s going to continue and more people are going to be getting on to the to the larger lists I definitely there’s more people pursuing extreme travel and ever before the information is better than ever before um the maps the google maps the satellite coverage for um and and wi fi everything is just better and easier uh than it than it was before so like before you couldn’t even know about these places you still can’t physically get to you know all these places in a lifetime um so like it’s a small world but you can’t really cover all of it and so it’s still it’s it’s still going to remain an open challenge but people are going to be able to and they’re going to try to do more and more so I think I think the people are really going to try to get all the world heritage sites and actually try to complete um mtp or at least like from the un go to the un plus list which is like um 264 so that’s that’s like the un plus french Polynesia is different and things like that so um yeah I think that’s going to keep expanding and you know I I do think that I do think that the world capitals are going to continue to experience overcrowding and that probably going to have to put in some kind of quota system you know uh or or reservations and uh you know to know before you go like uh you know like butan for example where you need to you need to apply basically and set things up in advance yeah I fully agree with you I I feel given these mega trends that people can work from home and I think this has got to continue even if some people will go back to offices you will see a lot of people who have the ability the lifestyle to pretty much live and work from anywhere they want and that obviously gives you this this this this entry drug into travel right so you see 50 60 70 80 countries you can work from anywhere it looks similar well you can buy some english maybe you need some spanish some chinese some russian but that’s about it maybe some french and to get to get a basic life to work in in in what digital nomads and vision right so they get a lot of dirty rap but I think there’s some really powerful ideas behind it and there’s a lot of you know world peace behind it there’s always my my saying you will never nuke a country you just visit that because you’re so angry about that country it won’t happen right you will come back and say okay it wasn’t great but it wasn’t it was terrible either you will not be enemies with that country I think nobody’s really enemies with any country anyways um we just get this you know made up political ideas but it gets harder the population is you know pushing hard against that because maybe china is our enemy but it doesn’t mean they have to go to work with them yeah I think that you know all the the trends are further good it’s the logistics of of managing crowds that um you know that that comes into play and that’s during during certain seasons like october fests in you know if people want to go they think it’s going to be this great party but but I think I don’t know a lot of people who who travel there want to go back and do it again um so you know either maybe there’s some people that really like those kind of crowds but I I believe that there’s going to have to be some kind of quarter system where people are just going to have to you know learn for themselves and recognize that they should be diverting and also you know I would hope that that the the way people get educated is that they would be less prone to just accepting the marketing on face value and like only focus on Bora Bora versus any of a hundred different pacific islands that are really beautiful on where you could have a nice experience and also um you know trying to be open to learning like about the about the local culture or just trying to experience in the shoes of a local person as opposed to just trying to get that selfie you know and that’s you know that’s that’s something that’s gonna it’s not going to go away but I think that I think that generationally we are so much different than people were in in the 1950s for example about our understanding of so many different places and um like the only times that Americans got were traveling was because they’re in the military you know and so they only saw things from that point of view I think I think the world has come a really really long way and the fact that there are these crowds is because it’s accelerated so fast so I don’t I don’t see that changing no one’s going to be backing off of the same things that are that have gotten them thirsty for these experiences they’re going to want to find new and different ones so hopefully it will kind of filter out and distribute a little bit better and people will want to be doing their own thing and not just following the crowd yeah I’ve heard from people who went to Hawaii over the last 12 months that it was pretty calm it was difficult to get to and then the Institute at the coronavirus testing regime it’s gotten a little easier but now suddenly it’s gotten really busy again they say you have to wait like an all red starbucks and it’s like because there’s still restrictions in place in terms of social distancing it’s gotten so crowded that it’s like they’re the crowded most crowded in terms of impressions ever given to them like a key especially a little because that’s a man and you can actually go to relatively easily yeah I read I haven’t been recently but I read I read that it’s busy I sincerely doubt that it’s you know as busy as it’s ever been I mean it’s just like relative to last year it’s it’s relatively busy and you do have these restrictions so and there’s also some conflict because people are showing up from states where they didn’t they’re not required to wear a mask and in hawaii you’re actually required to wear a mask um and so there’s some conflict with with law with enforcing that if you just came from Idaho and you say well I’m from Idaho we don’t have to we don’t have to wear it and you came on vacation and you think it’s an affront to your personal freedom and you think you’re coming to hawaii to relax they’re making you wear a mask so there’s some it’s not it’s not as much of a paradise as people would hope it’s not empty and they also they really do have the restrictions there’s some yeah yeah absolutely that that is going to remain a challenge well Charles I really thank you for taking the time I learned so much thanks for taking us on this trip around the world so to speak. Sure Torsten I mean it’s great to meet you and now I think it was kind of uh uh rambling and just open open thought but uh I think we covered a lot of stuff and I know I hope to uh I hope to hear more from you in the future and best wishes to everybody out there uh and travel more. That sounds like a good motto. Charles thanks for doing this. All right see you Torsten. Thank you. Bye bye.