This Is How A Man Travelled To Every Country In The World Without Needing To Quit His Job

Gunnar Garfors became the youngest hobby traveller to visit all 198 countries in the world, and he did it all while keeping his full-time job.

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The first country he visited was Greece, as a one-year-old child. At 17 he started travelling without his family, and used Interrail with a friend to visit 13 countries in Europe. “I was then hooked,” he told BuzzFeed News.

But despite visiting every country in the world by the time he was 37, Garfors managed to do it while keeping his full time job in Norway.

"In Norway we have five weeks of paid holiday plus approximately two weeks of national holidays," he explained. "I have travelled on every occasion, almost every holiday and day off and many weekends."

Even with all that free time, how is it possible to afford so much travelling? "Be determined and save up," Garfors told BuzzFeed News.

"A lot of people claim to not have money, but it is all about priorities and dedication. They have the money, it will just take some planning. Then it is possible to stay for free on someone's sofa using sites such as CouchSurfing or Hospitality Club. You will not only get a free bed, but a free guide and maybe a great friend too."

Garfors also recommends you leave your suitcase at home.

"It is more flexible, and you won't have to pay for checked luggage. Just pack sensibly. I have travelled with hand luggage only for five weeks."

Via garfors.com

On 8 May 2013, Garfors reached his final country, Cape Verde, accompanied by two brothers, a sister and 11 friends. Although his mother couldn't make it, she had prepared a letter for the occasion, which was read to him by his sister.

“Congratulations on a mission well accomplished! This has cost you a lot of time and money, and we have shared you with the world for many years now,'" she said in the letter, before cheekily adding, "You have still prioritized your family, occasionally."

Garfors explains on his website how he counted 198 countries:

"There are 193 UN member countries in the world. I count all of them.
There are 2 UN observers. I count both the Vatican and Palestine.
3 additional countries are recognized by a fair number of the 195 above. I therefore also count Kosovo, Western Sahara and Taiwan."

After Garfors visited all 198 countries, he then managed to visit 19 countries in just one day.

These 19 countries were Greece, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

One of Garfors' top tips for travelling is to smile.

"Suddenly you will find yourself invited to a party, dinner, mountain hike," he said. "I smile a lot more now than what I used to. And I guess it works. I was recently told that I am a postcard for happiness!"

Pure Content / Via garfors.com

Despite having visited all 198 countries, Garfors remains loyal to his home and admitted that although he’s “a little biased”, Norway is one of his favourites.

Garfors published a book about his travels, called 198: How I Ran Out of Countries, which was translated into English this year.