Melissa has traveled to every country in the world.

This episode with guest Melissa Roy was recorded back in late February.  While there was ample concern in regard to Covid-19 at that time especially in a place like China, in much of the world business went about as normal.

In fact, I left Bangkok on March 2nd to start a 8 week trip that would take me to Berlin for two conferences, West Africa for a month, and then a couple of weeks in Yerevan for my annual visit. All of these plans were made in vain.  My two conferences in Berlin were cancelled, including the Travel Massive Forum as I was on my flight.  After Berlin, I then went and met my friends in Dakar for the start of our road trip. On March 15 on our first day in Gambia, we had a team dinner where we decided to cancel the trip and to leave Banjul the following the day.  While I was very disappointed, in just several more days this looked like an astute decision.  Borders and flights began to close and cancel like dominos.  I am now in BKK, self-quarantining and of course social distancing.

Prior to this trip, I had recorded and finished episodes for April, May and June.  But it made sense to rerecord this opening introduction to be more attune to current situations.  So I am wishing everyone safe health. I encourage you to listen to fact based science.  And I hope for a quick end to this virus which threatens many as well as the global economy.

Speaking to like minded people, like you, this is an odd time for many of us.  So often, we are on a trip, and if not, planning for the next one.  This passion for exploration is part of our DNA, and for many of us, it is a tremendous personal frustration to be locked at home or even stranded in a foreign locale.  Whatever you can do, try and make this time fruitful and productive, and reach out to your loved ones, friends, and even strangers to lend a hand.  And now back to our regularly scheduled interview.

I reached out to Melissa shortly after she announced her accomplishment of traveling to every country in the world.  Social media and traditional media began reporting that she was the first woman of South Asian heritage to complete this quest.  On Counting Countries, I am always looking for diverse voices, whether it is nationality, ethnicity, religion, or any other differentiators.  It is great to get other perspectives.

I am reminding you that Counting Countries is partnered with Patreon.  Patreon is a platform that allows patrons, that’s you, to support creators, and that is me creating Counting Countries.  And thanks to my other patrons, Steph Rowe, Ted Nims, Bisa Myles, Ryan Gazder, Stephen Rothwell, and Adam Hickman. They get to listen to extra content, like the extra interview I did with Melissa , only for them.

Untamed Borders, the sponsor of Counting Countries, focuses on challenging locations for those chasing 193.  James and I decided to replace the interview we had previously recorded in regard to my visit to Afghanistan, with an updated interview on the current situation.  Please listen in to James Wilcox, founder of Untamed Borders.

Melissa continually resisted a life of conformity. Her family, her culture insisted she chart a path of other people’s expectations. But, the siren call of travel was overpowering. Her eyes were opened to travel with a semester abroad in Argentina when she was 18. The fire had been lit with the journey ending in her father’s homeland with an emotional visit with her mother. Of course no episode of Counting Countries is without a bit of controversy. Melissa touches on her visit to Syria, and you will be able to debate at home on the validity of her visit.

I encourage you to subscribe wherever you listen, Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify and write a review, even better when it is 5 stars.

Melissa was at her mother’s home in Michigan, while I was in the Counting Countries studio in Bangkok. Please listen in and enjoy.

Thank you to my Patrons … Stephen Rothwell, Steph Rowe, Adam Hickman, Bisa Myles, Ted Nims & Ryan Gazder.  Melissa Roy Counting Countries.

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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.

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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. 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. Melissa Roy Counting Countries.

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

More About Melissa:

Born in: USA
Passports: USA
Instagram: Mapped By Melissa

How Many Countries Are There?

Well… that depends on who you ask!

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!   

Melissa Roy Counting Countries.

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