Listen: Stefan Krasowski on Visiting All 193 UN Countries
"Steffan Krzyzewski come from Minnesota in the US. I've I just recently gotten to one ninety three. UN countries which is why we're talking today. You bring me back for follow up. But I'm happy to be here I don't remember that comment but I'm glad to have you back and curious to hear a little bit of your final part of the journey and I just wanted overview a couple of different different things to remind the listener Remind us again. Why the love of travel was the catalyst what spurred your love for expiration in discovery like many many in my boat there? There's a collecting background. Where you you get interested in collecting different things and I did not travel much coach growing up? My parents not not active travelers so it was my high school junior year trip to China. We had started studying Chinese Back in fifth grade grade and went to China and traveled around and it was just eye-popping exciting thrilling and so as soon as I could I went to college and University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Philadelphia but spent semesters in Shanghai and Hong Kong and then moved to China right after graduating college. And the you've been in Hong Kong. I arranged at ride classes three days a week and just every every Wednesday night I would head the Shenzhen. See what buster overnight train rain was leaving in hop somewhere new and got addicted traveling in China going every province in in the country. And then step-by-step expanding out to the region and the wider world pulled out of curiosity. You didn't come from travel family. What's your family? Think of what you've done what you've accomplished in the travel world world totally supportive. Do they think you're a little crazy. What's going on when you get together for Thanksgiving? Oh I've got one wonderful parents sand and Brother who's a doctor and a scientist who's WHO's very different although we both Studied Chinese at the the same starting and he studied in China in highschool so my parents Prince of been extremely big about education that they work worked to put put us into the best schools that that we could get ourselves into an and get that environment and Mother reading to me every night Even when I developed an interest in books like James Bond or Tarzan in bucks as a as a first or second grader that would have pretty racy stuff she wouldn't our through and and Be Happy to expose me to to new ideas. A Matt so the circumstances weren't for for them to be traveling a huge amount growing up but they're always been very supportive and and As as both my brother and I got older than the I was living in China my parents did start traveling and in quite a quite a lot of times they visited me. TRAVELLED AROUND DOWN SO my father's a adult of million miler now so it's it's certainly not not anti travel in out of curiosity whose commander and his better yours or your brother. I should hope it's me because I still go back several times a year and actively do stuff with China and he hasn't significantly kept up with it since since going into medical school. I mean I know he did say at the time that Learning Anatomy class was pretty easy Z.. For him when when he had been studying Chinese characters for some time but when he was when he was at his best to you. As far beyond me reading classical Chinese the It's it's it's much more different than than say Latin. It was never a spoken language. The written Classical texts are incredibly hard. Pardon any was brilliant that I can. I can get through the first few sentences of the Dow ditching and and that which is which is hard enough but He was he was way beyond me as scholar. Could use to your brother in and Stephan. What was that inflection point? So you explain how you really were taking advantage of semesters abroad in Hong Kong China the region starting to explore like crazy. What was the moment when you decided to chase when ninety three? What was that light bulb moment? It was. It was somewhere around Azerbaijan Georgia Armenia trip that I took from China on one one of the holiday weeks that that China has an at that point I was had been to just about every country in Asia and and was loving it than in seeing the possibility awesome -bility of doing much more in learning learning about frequent flyer programs which was making some of these possible Places like the caucuses were connected to China. Southern routes in Chai from China and Could use my north west and then later when they became Delta Delta Miles on on these is trips so things that I thought were previously unattainable for time or cost reasons were suddenly feasible and and And I never I never had an interest to be a full time traveler even if I had unlimited resources for that I push myself very hard on trips. The I've I've taken several three week trips Only wash twice longer. Once a four week I think in the that was in Central and west Africa and a five week around the Pacific and I was so exhausted after three weeks of pushing myself that that is the the long term travel all thing wouldn't wouldn't fit for me and and professionally isn't isn't where my interest lies and and certainly not as it is where my marriage marriage would be taking me so the I like short intense trips. It but was there a day where you sat around and counted up the country's on the map happen you saw that you're at fifty or a hundred and then you read an article. What was that final? Push where you said okay. I've done this now. I can do that. There was more of a a different back back to that other by John. Looked at within. The cost was to get to Nakhichevan which is a separate part of other by John that on the Traveler Century Club list as a separate territory and it was it now? It's quite easy to visit in affordable all and more flights at that point it was it was looking that expensive and I decided I'm not going to get addicted to a crazy list like that and subsequently I've ended knocked divide and gotten addicted to that list but it was It wasn't it was it was Wasn't necessarily one day except perhaps perhaps when I got got to eat team more. So that was the last country in Asia that I hadn't been to and did say I went to to all this trouble to get east team or deal with Indonesian and flights which wonderful delightful country in many ways except traveling Logistically is Is One where a lot of things. Don't go to plan and and So once I got to East Timor as I'm going for the UN Stephan. You're last on counting countries actually November of twenty sixteen eighteen. And you're at one hundred eighty six countries at that point. But you didn't finish your you analyst until August of Twenty nineteen in for some travelers. That's a lifetime Some travelers as we know have done all one hundred ninety three during that same time period. So you took your time to finish off the last seven countries I want to focus on four of your final five two of them. I found pretty surprising in two. I didn't so your final countries was Italy. How did Italy early of all countries end up being one of your last countries? There were three that I was saving to the end of Italy Greece and Turkey and and Mainly not not so much animus. I'm really WANNA have a big party or something. It wasn't that it's it's I'm history is my favorite subject fascinated with ancient history. And all of those three are are are so special in central to to world history and world world civilizations that I wanted to to save them to really enjoy lavish in terms of time and and Destinations destinations trips to go. So that that was the original thinking and then What will get into why I got stuck on on a couple of others and so then finally I just? I just couldn't wait. These are wonderful places that I'll visit multiple times in my life but That that that roughly was the idea As well as the flip side is after seeing so many ancient Roman ruins in North Africa. That have this kind of thinking. Why should I go to Italy and see the crowds? But you know that's just that's just one of the ten thousand different things that are fantastic by deadly to to go see show as a history buff. You mentioned Italy Turkey Greece. What's a highlight for you? Visiting those countries by all of all of the above. I mean it's it's just incredible. How you You could pretty pick pick any point on the map and see multiple layers of of incredible history I mean what I. I walked off the plane Lina in Milan. I had booked the trip like a week before last minute and I can only get one one ticket to the last temptation Or the Last Supper or the last supper painting and and I had like an hour and fifteen minutes from touchdown in Milan Malpensa to to getting getting getting in the door picked up a rental car drove as far as I could into the city abandoned the car where other people were illegally. Ugly parks hopped on the subway and guide in and saw that and and So Italy I've really I've really just started. I've been a bit in the North's I've I've seen the Vatican again but I haven't properly visited row. I've been around Sicily different territories in. It's it's just pick your pick your time in history Greece more specifically the ancient In the ancient era I mean I just gets it gets incredible to. You're just driving down the road and you see the road sign Its Tab obeys in the ancient Also known as thieves. And now it's just a a scruffy scruffy town but just pull off the road and spend the night there because these names out of history are incredible and and the answer Turkey Turkey. I took a A road trip from von the famous Lake van in the Armenian Indian churches in the East and drove all the way across the country The the more or less southern route through the Kurdish areas than around the Jian coast and So many eras of history from the first Essentially I city of multi-level housing and that goes back back. Thousands of years all the way up to the modern times. I mean it's just I just couldn't i. I had take UNESCO sites off the list because there's only so many you you can see in a day it's It's incredible and Turkey actually. has this fantastic museum pass system where you can get the countrywide one or you can get one. That's for a week league or are some regional ones arrest Boland's and the prices are so low and every mega site in the countries included. It's it's not like many countries where the tour pass includes everything except the one really must see"