WOULD YOU RATHER? A series of interviews with Travellers, Bloggers, Travel Bloggers and just generally interesting people. We’ll ask a series of difficult travel questions with two possible answers. They’ll tell us what they would choose and why.
For this Article we have Ric from Global Gaz who is on a personal quest to travel to every country in the world! Ric is currently on an amazing 137 countries and has created a podcast Counting Countries, the only podcast to bring you the stories from the dedicated few who’ve spent their lives on the singular quest of travelling to them all.
Once a corporate drone, who got laid off one too many times propelling him to a life of travel. A final lay off in the fall of 2008 after Lehman Brothers imploded, Ric never looked back. Ric shares with his readers off-the-beaten path locations, unique experiences and must-see places. And occasionally, will share some insights and travel advice that he has learned on the road.
Ric’s adventures have taken him to all seven continents. He believes “Travel, whether good or bad, contributes to an astounding mosaic of memories“. Some of these memories include being shaken down for a bribe by Russian cops on the streets of Moscow, being quarantined by the Chinese government in Tibet for five days, being felled by a case of unbearable food sickness in Yemen and being advised that the “number one mafia in Taiwan” might want to physically harm you.
During his travels, Ric has published two books: 7000 KM To Go and Hit The Road India. The first book traces a road rally from Budapest to Yerevan over 17 days crossing 11 countries. The second book follows a 2000 km rally in an auto-rickshaw from Mumbai to Chennai.
Now to the questions …
For the rest of your life only be allowed to leave your home country for 2 weeks a year or only spend 2 weeks a year in your home country?
This is a legitimately tough question … but based on my present travel schedule, I would need to choose only spending two weeks a year in my home country, the US. Might be a difficult situation if I was a lot older.
For the duration of a two week trip, would you rather eat Mexican food in China or Chinese food in Mexico?
I am not a big fan of Chinese food, so I will choose Mexican food in China with all of the implied risks.
Would you rather take a 12 hour flight on a plane with 100 snakes or 100 tarantulas?
I am really not a fan of spiders so I will be flying with 100 snakes and channel my inner Samuel L. Jackson!
Would you rather speak all languages or be able to speak to all animals?
Both would be incredible attributes. There are many multi-lingual people, but no one can communicate with animals. And I would finally be able to know what my dog, Khan Mak is thinking.
For your counting countries podcast would you rather interview Gregory David Roberts author of Shantaram or Tony and Maureen Wheeler founders of Lonely Planet?
Hands down, Gregory David Roberts. Truly, one of my top favorite books, I have read it twice, and each time I finish I lament that the book is too short (and it is 1000 pages). Great respect for LP and I use the books often.
Would you rather have to take less than 5KG baggage on every flight or always over 30KG?
This one is only quite easy for me. I am still part of that old school contingent that checks in a bag when I fly. My carry-on is over 10 KG just with my camera gear and electronics.
Would you rather try Surstromming from Sweden which is Baltic Sea herring fermented with just enough salt used to prevent it from rotting or Hákarl from Iceland which is the rotting carcass of a Greenland or Basking shark. It’s buried underground in a shallow pit and pressed with stones so the poisonous internal fluids that allow it to live in such cold waters can be drained out making the meat safe to eat, described by Anthony Bourdain as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he’d tried?
I feel nauseous just from reading this description. And I actually do not eat any seafood or fish, so this challenge is especially cruel. This is a case of the lesser of two evils, I will try Surstromming.
If you were reborn in a new life, would you rather be alive 100 years in the past when travel was tough but adventurous or 100 years in the future when travel is super efficient but the adventure is gone?
An incredibly frustrating trade-off. I think I would be very concerned about the lack of speedy travel in the past, severely limiting what I would be able to see. So, I guess it is back to the future with super-efficient transportation.
If you were to make a 3rd film, would you rather make Hit the Road: Argentina or Hit the Road: Chile?
Big fan of both countries. Driving from Iguazu Falls to Ushuaia would be an excellent route and great adventure. Bring on Hit The Road: Argentina!
When your travelling (not in Chicago or Bangkok) – Monday to Friday – would you rather complete a 5K every morning or spend two hours volunteering?
When traveling, I am easily walking 5km a day exploring my surroundings. But some of my best travel experiences has been volunteering. I have done a lot of volunteering in Armenian and Thailand over the years and have been richly rewarded.
Would you rather a free but very rough basic budget trip to Madagascar which you haven’t ticked off or an all expenses paid one week trip in the United Arab Emirates which you’ve already been to?
I have been to Dubai three times and I have never really connected. Dubai can be done on a budget but would be so much more fun on someone else’s dime. So I would choose Dubai and live the high-life for the week.
For your counting countries podcast would you rather interview Justin Beiber or Kanye West?
Not big fans of either. I would have to pick Kanye. He is a great interview and an obvious live wire. Who knows what he would say. Would be great ratings.
Would rather have Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlet Johansson randomly turn up to your Bangkok International Travel Meet Up?
Either pick would be a win-win. I am going with Scarlet, big fan of the Avengers. I haven’t seen the Hunger Games.
Would you rather compete against a Sumo Wrestler in a big tournament in Tokyo or against a Mongolian Wrestler at the Naadam festival near Ulaanbaatar?
Both would be amazing and painful experiences. I have seen wrestling in Mongolia but not yet in Japan. I will choose the Naadam Festival and hope that Steven Segal is in the stands cheering me on.
Would you rather your 193rd and final country was Ireland or New Zealand?
Fantastic question … I have 56 countries left before I travel to every country in the world. I have been “saving” Ireland to be my last. I hope some family and friends will meet me in my last country, and Ireland is a lot more accessible. I am planning on visiting New Zealand next year.
Would you rather only be able to visit 192 countries and never enter the 193rd but you can visit any of those 192 whenever you want without restrictions or you visit the 193rd but once you do, you have to pick 3 countries and they are the only 3 you can ever go to again?
You are not making these challenges easy. I would have to choose being able to visit my last and final 193rd country. This has been a goal for several years plus and I would feel shortchanged if I was not able to accomplish this quest.