You’ve probably heard of people braving sun, sand and rain to go places. Allow us to introduce you to Henrik Jeppesen, a Danish 25-year-old, who has been on 700 flights to 224 countries and territories, has filled up six passports, taken 40,000 plus photos (almost went to prison for one of them) and has been followed, robbed and attacked more than once in the last four years.
All this on a mission to visit each of the 324 countries and territories of the world (as listed by 59-year-old Travelers’ Century Club). He has been on the move almost every day since he graduated from business school in 2010. “After my 10th grade, I travelled for a year. And after three years of business school, I decided to see the world. Many airlines liked my idea and supported me,” says Jeppesen, who is relying entirely on sponsorships for his journey that he hopes will finish in a year.
Wake up call
“I am doing this with little money, and even hitchhiking within countries when I have to,” he says, at his room in The Leela Palace where he arrived this past weekend. Still fatigued from a recent episode of food poisoning in the Andaman islands, Jeppesen, who grew up in a small town called Thisted, obliges when we ask him to tell us more. “More than 200 airlines have sponsored me and I’ve stayed at almost 900 luxury hotels till date,” he says, before giving us the links to his blogs — henriktravel.com and hotelpassion.info — where he documents all of his travels, sponsors and adventures, complete with tips for fellow travellers.
“If you want to ensure you get a wakeup call, ask for 6.03 am instead of 6 am,” he gives us a quick example, before we start talking about the more serious (read life threatening) situations he has found himself in. “I was followed and attacked in Brussels. My wallet was robbed in China. And in Africa, my passport was stolen,” he says, but then points out that being robbed is just half as bad as being sick. “I had to be put on oxygen all through the flight from Andaman after food poisoning. That flight has been the worst experience till date.”
114 to go
An hour passes and we have barely covered six months of his four year journey. Jeppesen tells us that he is headed home for a quick break and a new passport after Chennai. “My seventh passport has run out of pages and I must get a new one,” he says. “After that it will be central Asia. I should reach 310 by 2015. The last 14 countries might take a while because for places like Antartica, I will have to get a special permit and join a research team to get there,” he tells us, as we exchange email IDs. “Of all the people I’ve met, at least 500 keep in touch over email. The internet has made things so much easier. Facebook is a great way to handle home sickness,” he concludes.