24-Year Old American Now the Youngest Person to Visit Every Country in the World

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Eric Thanh Nam Nguyen entered Eritrea this morning, becoming the youngest person to to visit every country in the world. Eric is 24 years and 175 days old.

The son of Vietnamese refugees to the United States, Eric deferred the start of medical school to finish his quest.

Journalist Jakob Øster has an excellent introductory piece on Eric.

Gunnar Garfors, himself a holder of travel records, is an inspiration to Eric and has the first word and photos from Eric out of his final country, Eritrea. Eritrea is one of the most closed off countries in the world, with limited, censored and very slow internet access.

To gain a flavor of Eric’s extreme  read World Record Chaser: – I am kind of stuck in Yemen, also by Mr. Garfors. En route to Eritrea from Venezuela, Eric toured Mogadishu. Eric is not an airport transit traveler. He goes all in.

Travel Records and Those Who Chase Them

Huffington Post has an extensive piece on Eric, travel records, and country collecting by traveler Jessica Elliott.

Ms. Elliott also explores the recent publicity machine around reality TV performer Cassie DePecol’s effort to become the fastest person to travel to every country. Ms. DePecol’s disingenuous claims to be first ‘documented’ women to travel to every country, using criteria and verification known only to her, are a matter I had something to say about as well. Check out the Counting Countries interview with Audrey Walsworth, one of the pioneering women who preceded Ms. DePecol:

Eric’s journey did not come with a sponsorship machine attached. His future plans involve medical school and possibly combining his love of the world and medicine with an organization such as Doctors Without Borders or the United Nations.

Not the Stereotype

Eric Thanh Nam Nguyen

Country Collecting can appear the preserve of rich country white men. In reality, there are people of all backgrounds chasing every country in the world. Each traveler has their own experience shaped in ways by their appearance and their passport.

Eric is a particular inspiration to those who see some of themselves in him. His honest reporting of his travels is an education for us all. For instance, attempting to get on a boat to Socotra, Yemen:

Country Collecting and Extreme Travel

Every Passport Stamp Home

I run a facebook group called Every Passport Stamp that welcomes all who dream of traveling everywhere. We share travel news and tips from around world. Whether you’ve been to one country or them all, we welcome those who share a passion for travel and learning.

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Angie W
Angie W
5 years ago

Requested to join your Facebook group. Any criteria to join?

Stefan @ Rapid Travel Chai
Reply to  Angie W

Just approved you. Main requirement is to not be a spammer, which with Facebook groups is a large number of the member requests. There is no tool to vet people or ask questions so we hope for the best and have been rewarded by meeting many great travelers who we would not have met any other way. Welcome!

Angie W
Angie W
5 years ago

Thanks! Glad to see there are so many people out there having the same questions as I do, and more so seeing them being answered and helped. I’ve found a wealth of knowledge there, thanks again!

Stefan @ Rapid Travel Chai
Reply to  Angie W

Glad to have you take part!