Counting Countries

With a membership of only around 100, it’s one of the most exclusive clubs on Earth. In fact, more people have been to outer space than have earned their way into this, the ultimate travel club. According to the United Nations there are 193 sovereign nations in the world. Welcome to the only podcast to bring you the stories from the dedicated few who’ve spent their lives on the singular quest of traveling to them all. Welcome, to Counting Countries. With your host, Ric Gazarian.


episode 61: Stephen Hughes … is a threat to national security

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On today’s episode, I welcome Stephen Hughes to Counting Countries.  Steve and I met on the road during a visit to Iran, where we are both not allowed independent travel.  I enjoyed our time together since Steve is not shy about sharing his opinions, and I knew he would be a good fit for the podcast.  

And this episode was a long time in the coming.  We met in 2016 and recorded an episode in 2017. Unfortunately, the file was corrupted and never published.  It took many months to reschedule and was finally recorded for a second time in the summer of 2018. This recording was of really, really poor quality.  I was going to have to schedule a third interview. But Counting Countries is not a one-man operation. My producer/editor is Evo Terra, the author of Podcasting for Dummies, was called in for emergency help.  While this podcast is not the best in audio quality, Evo was able to resurrect this interview from the grave and make it listenable. For those who have any questions on podcasting, feel free to reach out to Evo and his company Simpler Media on Facebook or the web.        

Back to Steve, who became interested in travel with his interest in maps, flags, and the game of Risk as a kid.  He lived an unconventional life, quitting school at 16 and working at a bank. He hit the road with a friend for three years in a camper called the HammerMobile as they toured Europe at just 18.  

Steve shares with us falling off a three story building in Mexico, being bit by a scorpion, and almost being lost at sea.  And he tells us why he was refused entry at the Canada/US border. He is considered a threat to national security.            

I encourage you to subscribe wherever you listen, Apple Podcast, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and of course if you like the program, feel free write a review like hoosiergrad02 did.  “One of the best travel podcasts out there.  Motivates me to travel more and to places I would have never discovered before”.  Thanks Hoosier grad! Thanks for sharing this great feedback.

Remember go to Amazon to pick up your Counting Countries T-shirt, just like Guiness World Record holder, Maurizio Giuliano recently did.

Besides hosting this podcast, I also wear a couple of other hats in the world of travel.  I have produced and been featured in two full-length, adventure travel films; Hit The Road: India and Hit The Road: Cambodia.  In both films, I am piloting a rickshaw for days on end in both India and Cambodia. It is amazing and authentic way to see the country and meet a lot of people.  So, I made films documenting the adventure which are available on iTunes and Amazon or simply go to  And before our conversation with Steve, I will be speaking with Julian Carnal the founder of Large Minority who organizes the rally in Cambodia.     

For this episode, you might want to have the kids in another room due to some salty language.  But for now, here’s my conversation with Stephen who was in the UK while I was in Boston, home of the New England Patriots. Please listen in and enjoy.   

More about Stephen Hughes:


  • Born in: Chatham UK
  • Passports from: 2 British passports for convenience
  • Favorite travel book: Flashman paper series; an historical travel about and lothario and a cad!!
  • Favorite travel film: Favourite travel film; Road trips across USA stand out. Duel - Steven Spielberg’s first film I think and also My Little Sunshine as they travel to the beauty pageant!
  • Favorite travel app: Don’t really use apps or travel websites but it’s now our Facebook page and before it was Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree
  • Must carry:  5 books as I read voraciously when traveling
  • Favorite food: I normally search out the spicy food but also the local traditional food wherever I am       Favorite drink:  Water of course but only until 4pm when it turns to booze of any type.  
  • Favorite Airline: I always use the local airlines of flying internally and don’t really have a favourite long haul but if had to choose one; would probably be one of the Arab ones!


 2018-09-06  1h11m