The year was 1990, a young Calgarian adventure aficionado set forth with a rucksack on his back to satiate his insatiable thirst for adventure and enlightening himself with something new every day. Twenty years hence in 2013, the man, now 44 years old, was extolling the final stamp on his passport in Ireland after travelling through 195 countries across the globe and having landed up in prison several times during his tryst with adventure. He has dared to go hitchhiking through war-raged Iraq, the home-town of dictator Saddam Hussain when the US had laid siege on the land, been the first tourist to visit Mogadishu and dwelled and gone on hunting expeditions with the pygmies of Congo. Meet Mike Spencer Bown, the world’s most travelled person who has been to every country in the world. He’s included the most perilous territories into his itineraries and done all the things he wanted to - all within a span of only two decades.
What Made Him Venture on the Path of Travel?
Like Tennyson’s Ulysses, Mike dreaded spending his life doing nothing and end up leading the life that the several billions on this earth choose to live- doing a 9 to 5 job during the weekdays and relaxing and rejuvenating on the weekends. A hard-core travel junkie at heart, the world’s most travelled person had always loved being amidst the wilderness in his younger years; going out of the ordinary and staying in the middle of dense forests, amidst flora and fauna without communicating with a single human being for days. During one such outback crusade, he had encountered a mountain lion and had been on the verge of death when he was compelled to go off food for days on end being afflicted with a disease because of parasites looming in the water. His curiosity to discover the several unfathomed ecosystems existing on earth, on beholding the beauty of the valley brimming with ponderosa pines and dotted with an array of lakes on the gigantic Rocky Mountain Range triggered him to endeavor on in his gargantuan journey which went on to make him the most travelled person in the world.
Why the Most Travelled Person?
Not that Mike Spencer Bown was the first person to cover every country in the world as the travel enthusiasts himself confesses that the number goes up to more than 300. But what makes him the most travelled person in the world is the way he has chosen to imbue the very spirit of travelling and immerse himself within every culture of every country he has come across unlike the others who have only travelled like passengers rather than experiencing what he calls the real “travelling feat”. Within the span of twenty three years Bown has visited India as many as 6 times, Indonesia 20 times, China thrice, Cameroon five, Africa almost a dozen, Egypt twice and Thailand a whopping 50 times or so. Where the question of funding his escapades arises, well, he had proved his adventurous clout even in this area. He experimented with a plethora of business ideas from exporting furniture from the soil of Java to dealing with gemstones and silver in Africa and Bali respectively.
What are the Most Travelled Person’s Most Dangerous Encounters?
Through his two decades plus journey across the globe, Mike enthralled and enamored himself by daring to try out some of the weirdest experiences available. He has had the experience of dwelling with the famous witch doctors of Mali, locking horns with Silverback gorillas during his Rwanda expedition and riding a reindeer sleigh in Russia with some locals from the Yakuti tribe who were inebriated to the brim. But what remains as Mike’s most memorable tryst with his globetrotting has been his visit to the perturbed capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, which also made him the limelight of Calgary’s newspapers. While officials were shocked at his decision of visiting one of the most dangerous corners of earth, Mike was quite confident about his purpose- he wanted to behold the beaches which were once considered among the richest and most stunning in the world. The world’s most travelled person was in for a surprise during his sojourn to Iraq and Pakistan both nations having depicted immense bonhomie to the Canadian, contrary to what many believed of the people being anti-white. He was most fascinated with the culture of Iraq, his hunting safaris of the antelopes with the Bambuti pygmies holding spears in his hands and swishing past the rebels of Hutu aboard a motorbike driving into a rain forest.
As he landed on Canadian soil in 2013 sealing his 23 years of vagabondage, the most travelled person confessed happily, “Every day of my adult life has been adventure, and for this I feel very grateful.”
Travel Tips by Mike Spencer
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