Guy Who’s Visited Every Country In The World Reveals His Favourite Place
The guy who spent the last ten years travelling to all 197 countries in the world has named his favourite country.
With travelling being one of the most popular hobbies, it is the untouched and deserted that is so sought-after and evanescent.
That was the reason why Johnny Ward chose Algeria and the Philippines as his favourite countries.
The 33-year-old traveler from Ireland started his journey as a broke English teacher in East Asia for five years before he started blogging and over the past decade has worked his way up to earning over $1m.
The Galway-born explorer told UNILAD:
Both Algeria and the Philippines are two amazing countries. Algeria, due to the crazy western media, gets almost zero tourism but it’s an awesome country. The People are super friendly, the food is delicious, the sights, the Sahara, everything! And the Philippines is pretty much Thailand 20 years ago – still has loads of untouched places and it’s just paradise everywhere.
It wasn’t all paradise and beauty though. Ward has found himself in some sticky situations particularly when he was arrested in the Ivory Coast, hospitalised in 20 countries, smuggled across boarders, rejected from Saudi Arabia, and got caught in the middle of the civil war in Yemen.
Of all the countries in the world, the Irishman confessed it was Guinea that was his least favourite place to visit.
Guinea! I had to leave Liberia when a new Ebola case broke out and to get there is supposedly 18 hours in a rickety bus but in reality it takes about 70 hours and U sleep on the side of the dirt road, instead I took the back of a 16 year old guys motorbike, 16 hours through the jungle off road, insane. When I got there then, Conakry the capital was a bit rough around the edges so when I tried to leave, there was a prison break and the entire prison population were roaming the streets and I couldn’t leave!
A stark lesson that Ward took away was about different people, and how we’re all actually very similar.
The Western media’s portrayal of the world encourages fear of the unknown, but after actually meeting individuals from everywhere and embracing the cultures, Johnny saw how much of this is based on constructed stereotypes as oppose to reality.
Ward told us:
Western Islam phobia has gone off the scale, but the Arabic world for example is my favourite area in the world, the people are so friendly and the travel there is unreal. Deep down, we are all the same – we all want the best for our loved ones, we all want to improve ourselves, we all want to be happy, not so different.
There are about 6,500 different languages spoken around the world, so I was intrigued as to how Johnny communicated and managed to get around so well.
He said that because he traveled alone most of the time, he had no other choice than to learn the languages.
He was ‘Studying Spanish in Colombia, Thai in Bangkok, fasting for Ramadan in North Africa, staying in the slums of Bangladesh’.
Because he was ‘so broke’ in his first five years, Ward had to become fully involved in the local transport and culture because ‘hotels and airports were beyond me, and that was kinda the most beautiful thing about traveling like that’.
As well as fulfilling his own dreams of travelling, Johnny used his success and mobility to start a charity called Give Back Give Away which works on ‘community development projects to improve the lives of those who need it, from playgrounds for kids to market stalls for families to sell their wares’ while also giving away a free two week trip to see the work being done.
Having just completed his whole world challenge in Norway, Johnny expressed that he is ‘proud to have finished but also relieved, 10 years is a long time, I’m kinda free again now!’.
You’d think he would want to sit still for a little bit after such an adventure, but it seems that Johnny will always be travelling and has a property in Thailand which is where he will be ‘based’ (if you can call it that).
Johnny went on to tell us:
I have a property in Thailand and that’s where I’m based when I’m not traveling so I’ve kind of chosen that already! But I have no plans to settle down to be honest, I’m doing a ‘around the world in 80 days (no flights!)’ trip with cargo ships and trains etc later this year. Also, I’m doing a tuktuk race around Sri Lanka in April.
Next year I want to do Bangkok to Belfast by tuktuk too, and cycle from San Francisco to New York City. So I plan to be in Thailand about 6 months a year and then travel about 6 months, that’d be pretty awesome. I’d love to travel with my kids when I have them in my future too
So there is much more to come from Johnny Ward, both with his charity and personal travel challenges.
After such a broad experience of the world, the one lesson he took away is ‘That if we want something badly enough, deeply enough and we are willing to sacrifice a lot to get there, then we can honestly achieve our dreams’.