This interview series feature interviews with travel bloggers and writers. If you are a travel blogger and a writer and have something to share with and say to your readers, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
In this interview series, let us meet a world-traveler and travel blogger, Henrik Jeppesen, from henriktravel.com. Henrik is the first person I know that has visited every country in the world. He travels on budget and has many interesting stories to tell. He has a blog page features a photo from every country and passport stamps that stamps EU-passports.
"I do not collect objects. I collect experiences"
"I have visited every country in the world, and I did it before my 28th birthday. I continue to travel."
"My next goal is to visit every territory in the world. It's even harder than visiting every country"
Welcome Henrik! Tell me about yourself, your blog and your coming adventure.
I am 28 years old, have been to every country in the world, and write on my blog, HenrikTravel.com and on social media. My next project is to visit every territory in the world.
What makes you decide to travel to every country and territory in the world?
It’s a process. First I wanted to do 50 countries, and then 100, and then I felt comfortable doing them all. Why? I think because I could. I had the chance to visit every country, and I love travelling. It was probably not on my mind as I thought of it as being unrealistic, then when I realized I can actually do them all both safety and financial-wise, I decided to go for it.
How do you feel about being the only tourist in Syria?
I went to Syria in December, 2015 after many months of research. Danish journalist, Rasmus Tantholdt has reported from Syria for the past many years,and I decided to seek his advice on how to get a visa. He told his fixer about me, and the fixer then told his friend, the Syrian ambassador to North Korea about me. After many e-mails back and forth I picked up a visa at their embassy in Pretoria, but having a visa isn’t always enough to get into the country. I flew into Beirut where my contact picked me up and took me to the border. The immigration officer wouldn’t believe I was in Syria as a tourist, but after a long talk with my contact back and forth they decided to stamp me in.
How do you financially support your travels?
In the beginning I focused on staying with locals to eliminate the number one cost when travelling: Accommodation. I also focused on booking lots of tickets when low-cost airlines had promos. Now I work with companies to support my travels and make a living.
What are your favorite countries so far?
It’s such a difficult question to answer. I love many countries for different reasons. I like Italy and France for the food. South Africa has a lot to offer for travelers while Iran probably has the friendliest people in the world.
Have you had any troubles and embarrassing moments on your travels?
My driver went to prison in South Sudan for taking a photo of me in front of a building. They wanted to throw me into prison as well, but after they checked my camera, they let me go. I'll go with South Sudan as my least favorite experience for this reason.
One of the most underrated countries you have ever visited.
There are many, but Rwanda would be one of them. I had very low expectations, but it’s a surprisingly great country that feels well organized. In that part of the world you normally have a bad infrastructure and a lot of problems to deal with as a traveler, but not in Rwanda. It’s such a beautiful country as well. Paying 5 dollars for a bus ticket across the country is one of the best things you can do.
You said North Korea is “the most interesting travel experience of my life.” Could you please share your experience there?
In my opinion, North Korea is the most interesting country in the world. The national airline is the only 1-star airline in the world and an experience in itself. Two of the scariest flights I’ve ever been on, but I survived. North Korea is unique in many ways. You can’t explore the country freely. Many things feel strange, and the food is extraordinarily bad.
If you would live anywhere in this world now, aside from Denmark, where would you choose to live?
Maybe New Zealand. It's beautiful, safe, friendly and excellent food of great quality.
Important lessons you learned from your travels.
That you need to do what makes you happy. I am now more specific about what kind of travel experiences I like and which ones I don't like, but more importantly I have learned that the world is friendly, welcoming and safe.
Thank you Henrik Jeppesen for a great interview. Enjoy exploring all the territories in the world!