A man who travelled to every country in the world before turning 40 reveals what inspired him to start his journey

By the time he was 37 years old, Gunnar Garfors had already travelled to every single country in the world.

His love for travel started at a young age.

Garfors’ father was a doctor on a cruise ship that sailed around the Pacific Ocean.

At the time, he was just 3 years old — too young to read — so his father would send cassette tapes to him and his brother in their home in Norway in which he recorded amazing stories from the places he visited.

This was before the time when social media made it easy to connect across the globe in an instant.

Garfors recalls the tapes being a major highlight of his childhood, and he attributes the source of his wanderlust to his father.

“Every day we ran down to the mailbox, which is 100 meters from my parents’ house to see if there was a tape from our dad,” Garfors said. “And every once or twice a month there was a tape. I just remember this awe, and thinking, wow this is incredible. It really made a big impact on me and it certainly boosted my curiosity about the world.”

The tales his father told from his journeys around the world — to Alaska, Canada, China, and the Philippines, to name a few — inspired Garfors to book a trip to China with his brother, the first trip he took to another continent.

“China is something totally different: its lack of infrastructure, a totally different culture, new food, and all the rest of it,” Garfors said. “It really opened my eyes.”

That’s when his addiction to travel really began. A few years later he booked a trip to Khazakstan and Kirghistan in central Asia and “totally fell in love with those countries.” He decided that he wanted to visit all the -stan countries — there are seven of them — and after accomplishing that feat, he was hooked.

Before he knew it, Garfors had visited a total of 85 countries. That was when he just decided to take the plunge and visit all 198. It took him another five years to complete his goal. Read more about his journey around the world here.

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