After Being Laid Off In 2008, Ric Started On His Journey To Visit Every Country In The World: He Only Has 51 Countries Left To Go
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22nd Jun | 3 min read

Born in Boston, living in Bangkok, Ric Gazarian is travel blogging at GlobalGaz, podcasting at Counting Countries, and of course he is on documenting his travel on Instagram.  He's have been to over 140 countries as he attempts to travel to every country in the world.  

Why I Travel

I was laid off in 2008 during the Great Recession.  I used this as a jumping off point to travel the world in 2009.  After this trip, I knew I could not go back to a 9-5 situation and I wanted travel to be a bigger part of my life.  

I love travel and I am still inspired.  I love learning about the world and seeing and witnessing amazing things.  Whether that is the Royal Drummers of Burundi, meeting the locals in Peshawar, Pakistan in the old city, or visiting the Shrine of Hazrat Ali, a mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan at sunrise.  

 I've Met Many Great People On My Travels

Definitely.  I met my friend Keith from Canada at a Muay Thai camp in Phuket.  We teamed up to drive a rickshaw for 2000km across India and another time driving a tuktuk in Cambodia for 1600km.  

And I volunteered in Armenia at an after-school group where I friended two of my students, Gor and Moosh.  When they got older, we teamed up together to film two documentaries. We filmed the two adventures when I drove across India and Cambodia.    

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How I Choose Where & How Long To Travel

Well, I have 51 new countries still to visit.  So, I usually start with a map, and look at what countries I have not traveled to yet.  I try and group some countries together to make my travel more efficient.  

The usual length of my solo trips really runs the gamut.  It could be a four-night trip to Brunei, two and half weeks to Uzbekistan, or spending 6 weeks traveling through the Middle East.  I am always balancing out my time with how much there is to see in the country.  

How I Prepare For Trips To More Remote Locations

I might prepare in a similar fashion, but I might have to depend on other sources for information.  If you are traveling to Amsterdam, it is easy to get a Lonely Planet or check out tens of thousands of reviews on TripAdvisor.  But those sources don’t work for example if you are traveling to Djenne, Mali.  Then you have to depend more on your travel network and reaching out to friends or making connections on social media.  

Preparation is very important. If you are visiting a country with a more “foreign” culture; try and learn more about the local customs.  As many people say, it is always great to learn how to say a word or two in the native language.  I think many times these countries offer a more rewarding experience for me since I enjoy learning more about places that differ from what I am used to.

Things That Prevent Me From Traveling More

It is typically a combination of money and time.  Overall, I am quite flexible in my travels (except for this year of Covid), but could always supercharge it with more time and resources.    

My Travel Bucket List

The list is so long! And always getting longer.  A real stretch goal would be visiting the North or South Pole.  I would love to visit remote islands like Pitcairn or Tristan da Cunha.   My friend recently stayed with the Nenets who are reindeer herders in the Russian Arctic.  After I saw those pictures, I added it to my bucket list as well. 

Advice To New Solo Travelers Looking To Explore The World

Do your homework and research.  Join FB travel groups, connect with people on Twitter and start networking to get better information.  And you can do a search on Instagram as well.  

Check out the TripAdvisor Forum where you can connect to locals or someone who has traveled to the location recently.

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