The year was 1990, a time of acid-wash jeans, a startup band called Nirvana, and a soon-to-be lifetime traveler by the name of Mike Spencer Bown.
It was in that year that Bown decided to travel. No he wasn’t just taking a quick one or two week vacation, instead he would make his way to every single country and region on the planet.
23 years later and he has returned home to Calgary after a final passport stamp and a pint of Guinness in Ireland.
Talking to The Sun via his Facebook the world traveler reveals:
“Some of the least traveled people I’ve ever met have been to 100 countries, or even as high as 170 countries — what they do is fly between major cities and especially capital cities, stop off in the airport or take a hotel for the night, and then say that they’ve ‘done’ such and such country.”
According to Bown those people are just “passenger, not travelers” and he wanted something different out of his obsessive need to travel the world.
Two years ago BBC World Service and Time Magazine caught up with Bown as he traveled through the worn-torn region of Mogadishu, Somalia. Bown became the country’s first recreational visitor in more than two decades. Why would he visit such a place? Mogadishu is renowned for having some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.
Here are 10 of Mike Spencer Bown’s favorite accomplishments over his 23 years of constant travel:
1. Visited the graveyard of the blue whales, South Georgia Island, Antarctica
2. Learned to drive a reindeer sleigh while drunk with the Yakuti tribe, Yakutsk, Russia
3. Hung out with witch doctors on the Dogon Escarpment, Mali
4. Dodged angry forest elephants in Luango Park, Gabon
5. Sat face to face with Silverback Gorillas in Virunga Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
6. Checked out the “Red Neck” Inuit bar scene, Nook, Greenland
7. Dropped in on the villages of the Yezedi Devil Worshippers, Iraq
8. Paddled past sleeping tigers in the Sunderbans Mangrove Forest, Bangladesh
9. Stayed in salt hotels, San Pedro de Atacama, Andes
10. Drank Guinness in Ireland. He still is.
Could you live and travel on the road for 23 years in a row?