Meet the man who travelled to every country in the world by 40 – and kept his job the whole time!

By Maria Kyriacou

Photo: Hans Olav Nomeand Vegard Skjefstad
Photo: Hans Olav Nomeand Vegard Skjefstad
This Scandinavian traveller took wanderlust beyond just a daydream, visiting every country in the world by age 40

Most people have a bucket list, but for many of us it remains just that – a list. Gunnar Garfors is a guy who decided he wanted to visit every country in the world before he hit 40 – and he managed to do it three years shy of his target.

At age 37, Garfors achieved his goal and becoming the youngest hobby traveller.

So how did this journey begin? In 2008, Garfors had already visited more countries than most people – 85 in fact. It dawned on him that he should just keep going till he had travelled to all the remaining countries, or as Garfors puts it –till he had run out of places to go.

Garfor’s website, Globetrotting Galore documents his journey and he has also written a book called 198: How I Ran Out Of Countries.

Garfors explains how he came to the number 198 like this:

“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. That makes the total number 198.”


Many of us would love to emulate Garfor’s trip, but wonder about work or funding the trip. Another impressive feat for the seasoned traveller is that he kept his job as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) throughout his travels. He managed to reach his goal by planning his trips away during holidays or weekends.

So there are no excuses for the rest of us! Garfors says it’s possible if you find a way to combine your job with your travels, which he still considers his greatest passion in life.


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