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 96: Ben Dowson … Nicking Sheeps

Key Links

  • How Many Countries Are There In The World video
  • Support Counting Countries at Patreon
  • The new Counting Countries Merch Store

Thank you to my Patrons…Phillip Jones, Simen Flotvik Mathisen, Thor Pedersen, Steph Rowe, Adam Hickman, Bisa Myles & Ted Nims.

Be the first on your block to sport official Counting Countries apparel!  You can purchase them today on Amazon.

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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.  

Ben made a brief appearance as the guest announcer for the January episode of Gina Morello. 

After a bit of research, I pieced together who Ben was, pulling on a long thread and realizing that he was connected to many previous guests on this podcast.  Ben has a very, very deep travel resume.      


Do not be thrown off by the length of this podcast, it is really a twofer.  You will hear from Ben first and you will hear from Dave Seminara during the second half of the podcast.  Dave is an avid traveler himself and also the author of Mad Travelers: A Tale Of Wanderlust, Greed, And The Quest To Reach The Ends Of The Earth.  You can buy this on Amazon and wherever else you buy books these days.  I read the book and do recommend it. The main focal point of this book is William Baekeland, a former guest of the podcast, who is alleged to have conned fellow extreme travelers of nearly a million dollars.  If you don’t know the back story listen to William’s podcast as well as the William Baekeland Controversy episode.   


My patrons who support the show, will hear more content from Ben, over 33 minutes, which only they will hear. Thanks to Phillip Jones, Simen Flotvik Mathisen, Steph Rowe, Ted Nims, Bisa Myles, and Adam Hickman for supporting Counting Countries. They help pay for the production of this podcast.  You can support this podcast by going to


Ben is an “old school” traveler.  Ben forges his own path, and constantly bears left when all of his friends turn right.  This is a very candid conversation sharing the magic of travel and also some of the challenges that those of us who are obsessed with extreme travel confront.  I feel like I only scratched the surface of Ben’s 30 year plus travel career as he chased 193 and so much more. 

Ben was in Jakarta while I was recording in the home of the New England Patriots.  Please listen in and enjoy.  

More About Ben:
  • Where were you born: Born in Newark, UK. Grew up in a small village south of Nottingham
  • What passport do you hold: British
  • Favorite Travel Book: No idea. Maybe Michael Runkel's "Meine Reisen an der Enden der Welt" as he is mate of mine! I remember enjoying Heinrich Harrer's "Seven Years in Tibet". Bill Bryson can be quite funny. My folks want me to write a book. If I do, I'm sure it will be my favourite.
  • Favorite travel app or website: Kayak and NomadMania
  • Must carry item when traveling (like flashlight, Kindle, deck of cards etc.): Olight flashlight. Bivvy bag. Hydrapak collapsible water bottle. Used to carry mini ipad, but no need now, as iphone pretty much does everything. Same goes for camera.
  • Favorite drink: Ice-cold beer. Pocari Sweat. Red Bull. Fresh mango juice. Banana milk shake. Water. Coffee. Each has its specific time and place.
  • Favorite airline: Emirates for comfort, SQ, for style, Turkish or Ethiopian for network

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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. Fewer 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

Well…that depends on who you ask!

  • The United Nations states that there are193 member states.
  • The British Foreign and Commonwealth office states that there are226 countries and territories.
  • The Traveler’s Century Club states that there are329 sovereign nations, territories, enclaves, and islands.
  • The Most Traveled Person states that there are949 unique parts of the world.
  • The Nomad Maniadivides the world into 1301 regions.
  • SISO says there are3,978 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. 

Disclaimer: I will earn a fee if you order from Amazon/Agoda. Or book a trip through G Adventures.  PS  Thanks!  


Produced by Sonorous Lab Studio


 2021-06-10  3h48m