Tourism

Meet the man who visited every country by the time he was 27

Have you got the Monday blues? Would you rather be overseas sipping cocktails and adventuring? We’ve got just the thing.

No, it’s not a free trip. But it is something – or someone – that will inspire you to start planning your next trip! Honestly, we’ll take any excuse.

Sal Lavallo landed in his 193rd and final UN-recognised country, Malta, in November 2017, and has since created a Youtube channel to share his travel tips. Which, obviously, there are a ton of.

Lavallo attended an international boarding school in the US growing up, then after studying at NYU, landed a job at McKinsey as a management consultant based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, which remains one of his favourite countries.

He’d been travelling regularly to visit internationally-based friends, as well as for work, but two years ago decided to take a break and travel full time for six months – which turned into over a year.

“I took off what I thought was going to be six months of work, that turned into a year and I had already been to about 160 countries by then,” Lavallo told CNBC last year.

“I said if I do one more year of not working I need to make it a goal – I need to achieve something.

“My final four countries were on four different continents so I had to go to from the Pacific in Tuvalu, then I had to go to Africa to Congo, then I went to the Middle East for Yemen and then to Malta for the finale.”

He’s visited the danger zones in Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan, where he stayed with families of friends.

Kabul is a city full of vibrant life. How horrible that for 40 years it has also been full of violent death. And how unjust that we only hear of the latter. My posts and stories focusing on the positives of Afghanistan and other countries are not to ignore the bad- we must be aware of it and motivated to stop it. But we must not sensationalize it and we must not allow ourselves to dehumanize entire populations. If we do that, then we erase what exists to fight for. I want to show you the good, the human and beautiful, so that when you hear the story of war and violence you understand what we are losing if we allow this to continue. I hope that by seeing these places in a positive light you are more moved to action upon hearing the negative.

A post shared by Sal Lavallo (@sallavallo) on

As well as the world’s newest countries, like South Sudan and Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste ?? was stunning. I went in with no expectations as I knew so little about it. I knew it was one of the world’s newest countries, getting formal independence in 2002. I knew it had a long colonial history to Portugal, making it lusophone and very Catholic. That was about it. I was supposed to visit with a friend, but when bad weather prevented her coming, I was a bit lost. I sent out a plea to the alumni network of my boarding school, the United World College, and thus I met @natag1 he then arranged my entire visit and enlisted his brother @max_guterres to drive me around each day. In the coming week, with the unending hospitality of these two who knew so much and love their country dearly, I fell in love with this half an island. I’m excited to share some of what I saw and learned with you.

A post shared by Sal Lavallo (@sallavallo) on

Tanzania is also among the traveller’s favourite countries – he has a small farm there and visits every year.

And now you can hear it straight from the source – his Youtube channel!

If you ask us, there’s nothing more inspiring on a Monday than the promise of a new trip. Or, at least looking through travel photos and planning a trip in your mind.


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