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 2: Mike Spencer Bown - 193 countries

Mike Spencer Bown - 193 countries

Mike is a true traveler and explorer, who over a twenty plus year time period has traveled to every country in the world.

Mike shared with me some incredible travel tales, including a road trip with a nun in a war-torn, African country.  

Mike has been on the road for over twenty years, exploring and discovering the remote corners of our planet.  He travels slow and espouses a simpler lifestyle with all of his belongings in one bag.    

More about Mike Spencer Bown:


  • Born in: Canada
  • Passports from: Canada
  • Favorite travel book:  I like old Jack Vance fantasy travel books such as The Dying Earth and Cugel’s Saga.  Also, early travel accounts such as the First Footsteps in East Africa.  
  • Favorite travel site:   I’m kinda old school, not a big user of the internet. I don’t travel with electronics, not even a phone or camera.
  • Must carry: Mosquito net, a Swiss Army knife, Flagyl (for Giardia) and Coartem ( for Malaria).  I bring a collared shirt for embassy visits.  I also bring an outfit similar to what an NGO or U.N. inspector would wear, including clipboard for impersonating officials to get past roadblocks. And finally a journals for writing in.
  • Favorite food: Any kind of exotic fruit or fish.
  • Favorite drink:  Soursop juice.  Chinese whisky with ‘special’ herbs.
  • Favorite Airline:  The cheaper the better. For example, I liked those old Tupolev flying in Iran.
  • Favorite Hotel:  I like to find one that used to be the best hotel in the city, but say, in the 1920s, and nothing has been done to upgrade or refurbish it, so it's a charming semi-ruin, in the $5 to $10 a night range.
  • Facebook   mike.s.bown




About Counting Countries

Counting Countries is the only podcast to bring you the stories from the dedicated few who’ve spent their lives on the singular quest of traveling to every country in the world. Less people have traveled to every country in the world than have been to outer space.

Theme music for this podcast is Demeter’s Dance, written, performed, and provided by Mundi.

About GlobalGaz

Ric Gazarian is the host of Counting Countries. He is the author of three books: Hit The Road: India, 7000 KM To Go, and Photos From Chernobyl.  He is the producer of two travel documentaries: Hit The Road: India and Hit The Road: Cambodia.  

Ric is also on his own quest to visit every country in the world. You can see where he has traveled so far and keep up with his journey at

How Many Countries Are There?

Well… that depends on who you ask!

  • The United Nations states that there are 193 member states.
  • The British Foreign and Commonwealth office states that there are 225 countries and territories.
  • The Century Club states that there are 324 sovereign nations, territories, enclaves, and islands.
  • The Most Traveled Person states that there are 875 unique parts of the world.
  • The Best Traveled states that there are 1281 unique places in the world.

Me? My goal is the 193 countries that are recognized by the UN, but I am sure I will visit some other places along the way.

Disclaimer: I will earn a fee if you order from Amazon/Agoda.


 2016-06-13  1h12m