Henrik Jeppesen is a 27-year-old Danish travel blogger who’s visited every country in the world.
Despite being a full-time traveller, Jeppesen says he has only spent an average of AUD$26 a day for his trips so far — in large part by being economical and getting sponsorships from airlines and hotels.
“The world is a very hospitable place,” Jeppesen tells Business Insider.
We spoke to Jeppesen to hear his story:
Jeppesen grew up in a remote area of Denmark called Thy that has a population of just over 40,000 people. From an early age, he made travelling and seeing the outside world a priority in his life.
At 14, he set a goal of visiting 50 countries in his lifetime. That soon changed to 100 countries, before he eventually decided to just go for every country in the world.
He started saving and looked for ways to travel cost-efficiently. He took advantage of local couch-surfing networks and hitchhiked thousands of times. Sometimes he ended up sleeping in public spots, like a bus station in Niger. 'The world is a safe place to travel,' he says.
One key tip: travel lightly. Jeppesen says he was able to travel for months without a single suitcase. All he had was his iPhone and charger, passport, credit card, headphones, and an extra pair of underwear.
His blog soon started to gain traction, and by 2010, hotels began to host him for free in exchange for coverage on his blog. He says he's stayed at more than 1,000 luxury hotels to date.
In 2012, after visiting 100 countries, Jeppesen reached out to airlines and asked for free sponsorships. More than 100 airlines have sponsored him so far. In 2013, Jeppesen went to Greenland thanks to this flight from Norlandair.
In total, Jeppesen says he's spent around $80,000 to $105,000 for the 3,000 days it took him to visit every country in the world -- which is about $25 to $33 a day on average. 'Some days were expensive, while many days were completely free,' he says.
Today, he has more than 100,000 followers on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. He's able to financially support himself through his blog and social media influence, which often lead to business partnerships. He also gives lectures and writes books.
His three favourite countries are South Africa, New Zealand, and Italy. He likes South Africa the most because of its diversity, people, food, and nature.
He says North Korea was the 'most interesting travel experience of my life.' Here's a picture he took while in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea.
He reached his goal of travelling to every country in the world after his visit to Eritrea in East Africa. Here's Jeppesen's photo of Eritrea.
Here are some budget travelling tips he gave on his blog: take advantage of credit card miles and points, avoid restaurants, follow travel bloggers, always try to hitchhike, go for low-cost airlines, and be creative with visas.
It wasn't always easy to make all these trips. Although no country bans Danish citizens, some countries like Saudi Arabia, Angola, and Syria made it difficult to get travel visas, he says.
He's also faced some dangerous situations. During his trip to India, the driver of the car he was hitchhiking in suddenly stopped and drank a whole bottle of vodka before driving again. 'It was very scary, but I got safely to a town in West Bengal after a couple of hours. I should have paid for a taxi, but I had the mindset of saving wherever possible at the time to increase the chance of completing the project of visiting every country,' Jeppesen says.
Pro tip on how to avoid dangerous situations: 'Don't hitchhike at night. Before going to certain countries, always have local contacts you can trust. It's worth it to spend the time to find trustworthy contacts instead of going and being at high risk,' he says.
Despite being to every country in the world, Jeppesen still has 36 territories that he hasn't been to yet. His goal now is to visit all 325 countries AND territories to set a new world record. 'Visiting all the territories is a lot more difficult. I don't know if I will ever be allowed to visit Wake Island and the British Indian Ocean Territory but I will do my best,' he says.
Jeppesen says he would recommend that others follow his lifestyle. 'It's probably the best decision I've ever made in my life. It's not for everyone, but I think many would love it if they find a way to make it work,' he says.
It's because the more you go to other parts of the world, you'll realise 'the world is a very hospitable place,' he says. 'There is much more to the world than what you see on the news. That's one of many reasons to travel,' he tells us.
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