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 72: Felix Mechnig-Giordano … flirting with disaster in Syria

Key Links

  • Counting Countries Apparel
  • Group Trip To Bhutan In November
On today’s episode, I welcome Felix Mechnig-Giordano to Counting Countries.   Before I introduce Felix, I am reminding you that Counting Countries is now partnered with Patreon.  Patreon is a platform that allows patrons, that’s you, to support creators, and that is me creating Counting Countries.  I have been extremely fortunate to be be able to create this podcast and be able to meet so many interesting and compelling travelers, but I have also spent a tremendous amount of time and some money creating this podcast.  So for example, some benefits are extended interviews. Some Patrons are able to listen to exclusive additional interviews from former guest like Fabio Cao. And a shoutout to Ted Nims, my newest patron, and a fellow Chicagoan.  Welcome and thank you for your support. And a reminder, Counting Countries is offering its first group tour to Bhutan on November 7th.  This is a great agenda which I consulted on and helped create.  I have been to Bhutan three times and looking forward to returning for a fourth time. Besides seeing amazing things like Tiger’s Nest and the Punakha Dzong, I have scheduled this trip to coincide with two festivals. I have also negotiated a daily $25 discount from the mandated government minimums.  Please go to to see more information as well as disclosures.   Felix as an audacious explorer, who recently shared his story of being detained by the Syrian police for several days.  We take a deeper dive into his chilling detention and what transpired. Spoiler alert, he was eventually released. Felix talks about the perfect beach in Kiribati and why he finds Niger fascinating.      I encourage you to subscribe wherever you listen, Apple Podcast, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify and write a review, hopefully a positive one.     But for now, here’s my conversation with Felix, who was in Australia while I was in Bangkok. Please listen in and enjoy.    Thank you to my Patrons …. Bisa Myles, Ted Nims, & Ryan Gazder. Be the first on your block to sport official Counting Countries apparel! You can purchase today on Amazon. And now you can listen to Counting Countries on Spotify! And Alexa! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts today! And write a review!   Check out our friend: Large Minority.  They organize international rallies around the world including: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, the Philippines and the Amazon.  And watch my full length documentary in Cambodia when I traveled with Large Minority.   


More about Felix Mechnig-Giordano:


  • Born in: Duesseldorf, Germany


  • Passports from: Germany and the United States
  • Favorite travel book: Der Weltensammler by Ilja Trojanow
  • Favorite travel site: is probably the only app I use for practical travel purposes, but I also love using Instagram to connect with travellers and use the been app to keep track of my travel map
  • Must carry: Camera and flashlight
  • Favorite food: Fruit. Although I love all fruit the one that stands out most is Grenadilla, not just for the flavour but for all the unexpected places you can find it.
  • Favorite drink: Nothing too exciting, beyond juice I really enjoy Coke, but my favourite alcoholic drink is a simple gin and tonic.


  • Favorite Airline: Turkish airlines, for consistency of service on short flights and for a route selection I love. Also the Turkish lounge in Istanbul  is always a highlight
  • Favorite Hotel: Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Rwanda


  • Map: NomadMania
  • Instagram: Hidden Frog
  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 226 countries and territories.
  • The Century Club states that there are 327 sovereign nations, territories, enclaves, and islands.
  • The Most Traveled Person states that there are 875 unique parts of the world.
  • The Nomad Mania divides the world into 1281 regions.
  • SISO says there are 3,978 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.
An analysis of these lists and who is the best traveled by Kolja Spori.     Check out our friend and his new book:     The Curious Case of William Baekeland William is a former guest of Counting Countries.  Harry Mitsidis, the author and extreme traveler, traces William’s arrival and unraveling in the travel community. It is a story worthy of a film … and this book.   Disclaimer: I will earn a fee if you order from Amazon/Agoda.


 2019-04-11  2h6m