This guy visited every country in the world before turning 40

The best photos from his journey around the world

The highlights from his journey
In 2008, Gunnar Garfors had visited a total of 85 different countries.

It was at that point that he decided to make it his mission to travel to every single country in the world — 198, to be exact.

He accomplished his goal on May 8, 2013, earning him the title of the youngest person to travel to every country. He was 37 years old.

He's since written a book called "198: How I Ran Out Of Countries," and created a website dedicated to his travels.

Garfors — who works at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) — managed to keep his job throughout his travels; he never wanted to quit.

Instead he wanted to combine a job he has always enjoyed with travel, his greatest passion in life.

Garfor sent us the best photos from his journey around the world.

Crossing the border from Afghanistan back into Iran was anything but easy for Garfors. After waiting outside of the Iranian embassy for a considerable amount of time, Garfors had to convince the Iranian ambassador that he was visiting Afghanistan as a tourist and not a spy. Eventually it worked and the border police (pictured here) let him back into Iran.

This picture of an old man was taken in Herat, Afghanistan.

One of Garfors' friends who he was traveling with took this photo of Garfors trying on a burqa in Afghanistan. The photo later appeared on the front page of a French newspaper with the caption, "Close up of Afghan woman."

While traveling through Antarctica by carrier, Garfors and his guide got stuck in the ice, which is when his guide pulled out an ancient Nokia phone to call for help. “Solidarity is very strong in Antarctica," the guide said. "This is like a UN in miniature; everybody helps everybody."

According to Garfors, "penguins in their real environment are a must see. They are incredible swimmers, and posers."

Garfors never travels without a suit jacket, even in Antarctica. He says the inner pockets help him keep his essentials — passport, phone, and wallet — safe and with him at all times, and a suit ensures he gets better service in most places.

While in Benin, a French-speaking country on Africa's west coast, Garfors tried several types of Obama beer — none of which he liked —and sampled some delicious street food.

Archery competitions are common among locals in Bhutan. Garfors says the shooters shoot at targets over 100 meters away.

While in Peru, Garfors visited the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Here Garfors enjoys a beer with a local policeman and cassette tape salesman in N’Djamena, the capital and largest city in Chad.

Garfors received a warm welcome in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

While in Congo, Garfors was able to capture this photo of a mother with her seven children.

It took a few tries for Garfors to be let in to Eritrea, a country in the East of Africa that's bordered by Sudan and Ethiopia. This was also the first time — and only time — that Garfors had seen hello spelled with a w.

Garfors had one thing to say about the Faroe Islands, an archipelago that lies between Norway and Iceland: "What are you waiting for? Just visit Faroe Islands."

Here Garfors stands 1,335 meters up, on the peak of Mount Klubbviktind, which is near the Skjomen fjord in Norway. Garfors built his own log cabin in the area that he now visits every summer. The cabin has no road access though, and can only be reached by boat.

In the words of Garfors, "who needs a flashy car when you can travel?" This was taken on the way to one of Norway's best surfing spots.

This picture shows a scene that's common in Greece: men playing in chess in a coffee shop.

Garfors says this onlooker in Kerala, India, was anything but impressed by his boating skills.

In Jordan, Garfors made it to Petra, a breathtaking archaeological city in the south of the country.

Although Iran is probably the last place you'd think of to go skiing, Garfors says the skiing in the north of the country is a must, but not to be surprised at the number of fully covered women on the slopes.

Neda, a girl Garfors met in Iran, wanted to marry him. He declined, but agreed to have their photo taken dressed up as a royal couple.

It's not unusual for children in Yemen to start smoking hookah and chewing khat — a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula — at a very early age.

Garfors referred to Kiribati, an island republic in the central Pacific, as a "proper Pacific paradise."

Here Garfors captured a man in Kuwait selling dried fruits and other sweets from a stall by the side of the road. Garfors says Kuwait is "a country with one of the world’s worst cultural combinations: extreme Islam mixed with extreme capitalism." He says he wouldn't want to go back.

Garfors received yet another marriage proposal while he was in Lesotho. A mother proposed on behalf of her daughter, and if Garfors had accepted he would have lived in a hut like this with the possibility of becoming the chief of the village.

Garfors set a Guinness World Record after visiting 5 continents in one day in 2012 with one other travel companion, Adrian Butterworth.

Garfors and his sister visited a town in New Zealand that has the second longest name in the world. According to Garfors, the name translates to "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one."

Garfors broke another world record when he visited all 19 counties in Norway in under 24 hours. Here he poses with his travel companions.

Garfors enjoyed a typical seafood meal while in Zambia.

While in Bhutan, Garfors enjoyed great views of the Paro Taktsang, a cliffside Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas.

Garfors visited a small school when he was in Somalia. Most children attending the school hadn't seen foreigners before, so they all wanted to touch Garfors to make sure he was real.

While in Artush, a tiny mountain village in Tajikistan, located in Central Asia, Garfors stayed at the home of a local teacher.

Garfors was lucky enough to be able to see the famous blowholes in Tonga. He says that the waves push water through small tunnels, which then creates geyser effects on land.

Garfors says that he had most of the beaches he visited in Tonga completely to himself.

Garfors visited the Door To Hell in the middle of the dessert in Turkmenistan. It's a crater that's 30 meters deeps and 70 meters across. Gas has been burning inside the crater since 1971, when a gas drilling operation there went wrong.

The burning fire makes for beautiful lighting.

These children in Tuvalu, a Polynesian island between Hawaii and Australia, invited Garfors to go swimming with them. Garfors says Tuvalu will be the first country to disappear if ocean levels continue to increase.

This was Garfors' stash of cash and credit cards that he used during his travels through Uzbekistan.

He made friends with a few animals while in Uzbekistan.

Here, he tries out some local transportation in the country: a donkey.

Garfors visited Chile with his girlfriend at the time, who is originally from the country. Here he is in Vina del Mar after receiving a royal welcome from his girlfriend's family.

A butcher in Vietnam patiently waited as Garfors snapped this photo.

Garfors ended his trip around the world in Cape Verde, a country that sits on an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa.

His shirt in this picture appropriately says "been there, done that."

Reaching the final, 198th country on his list called for celebration.


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