Don Parrish was officially awarded the title world’s most well-traveled man after a recent trip to the remote Conway Reef off the coast of Fiji. Parrish has been to every country and territory around the globe, and he is not finished yet.
The 73-year-old Parrish has dedicated the majority of his life to traveling. He has visited places some of us can only dream of.
His list of visited destinations includes Switzerland, Russia, North Korea, Easter Island, Somalia, Madagascar, Finland, South Africa and Mexico just to name a few.
The Chicago resident began traveling after spending the summer of 1965 in Germany working in a metal factory.
He has become one of just 23 people to have completed the Travelers’ Century Club by visiting the 325 countries or territories on their list.
Parrish has been to all 193 United Nations countries and more than 1,000 places on the Nomad Mania list.
Parrish ever the proud American has also traveled through all 50 states in his home country.
Now that he is retired from his telecommunications job, he has saved his money to be able to take trips around the globe.
He said: “I like to see the real place where things happened and I like making connections.”
He continued: “I travel by myself, with one person, with a few people, in small groups, large groups or with a driver and guide.”
“I live frugally — no smoking, no coffee, I drive old cars and I have spent my life savings.”
Becoming the world’s most traveled man requires extreme dedication and as Parrish himself acknowledges “some suffering,” including sacrificing the chance to marry or have children.
His travels left him in some unnerving situations as he ventured into some of the world’s most hostile locations, such as the narrowest part of the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He says traveling at night in remote places like this is one of the most dangerous parts of the journey.
He said: “In 2010 I visited Bossaso in Somalia. My travel agent refused to help me because he thought I would get kidnapped.”
“So I requested security from a local guy I used to plan the trip.”
“The word security got translated into four armed guards who stayed in their own room at the hotel and even followed me from my room to the computer room when I did emails at 11pm at night.”
Don isn’t finished yet despite traveling to more places than any other person.
His list has more than 20 destinations he still wants to see before he’s done with traveling. Most of the places left on his list to visit are remote islands including the Bounty islands, the Scott Islands, Paracel Islands and Guantanamo Bay.
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share!”