Debjeet Sen … and the seduction of travel
Debjeet has traveled to 119 countries
On today’s episode I will be speaking with world traveler Debjeet Seb. Debjeet was brought to my attention by Ryan Gazder, a fellow moderator of Every Passport Stamp. Ryan spoke very highly about Debjeet and I believe you will be charmed with my conversation with Debjeet.
Before I introduce Debjeet, I am announcing 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. I have been extremely fortunate to be be able to create this podcast and to meet so many interesting and compelling travelers, but I have also spent a tremendous amount of time and some money creating this podcast.
This is an opportunity for you to support Counting Countries. I have created several tiers of support, each one offering something in return. I will highlight the Senior Executive Producer tier which will give you access to extended interviews with guests of Counting Countries. To check out how you can support Counting Countries, go to patreon.com or https://www.patreon.com/CountingCountries. On another note, due to time constraints, Counting Countries will be publishing one episode a month starting in 2019.
Debjeet had a unique upbringing splitting time between the US and India. And Debjeet’s parents were a strong booster of family travel road trips, which planted a travel seed that stayed with him as he got older. In fact, even today, some of his favorite travel companions are his family. Sadly, Debjeet’s father passed away unexpectedly, but Debjeet and his mother celebrated his memory with a meaningful trip on the Pamir Highway.
Debjeet shares with us the humanity and fight for normalcy he experienced in Erbil. Debjeet tells us of the magic of Machu Picchu at first light and why he loves New Zealand. He scares us with a life threatening story in Maputo. And he shares with us what is is like working for a NGO in Africa and living and traveling in multiple places on the continent.
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But for now, here’s my conversation with Debjeet, who was in the Johannesburg between trips while I was in Bangkok. Please listen in and enjoy.
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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.
More about Debjeet Sen:
- Born in: Austin, Minnesota
- Passport from: USA
- Favorite travel book: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
- Favorite travel film: The opening scene of Up. While not a travel film per se, the introduction of the film beautifully summarize the wonder of travel and discovery that is inherent in all children and how said wonder transfers to adults and remains a constant fixture in their lives even when “reality” gets in the way. “Adventure is out there.” Truer words have never been said!
- Favorite app: One of my biggest travel-related fears is getting lost or not knowing how to find my way in a new country or city. I religiously use Google Maps on my phone, but also make sure to download the relevant maps on maps.me prior to arriving in a new country/city, so that I have some reference even if I am unable to purchase a local SIM card. I used to be a bit of an anti-tech sort of person back in the day (I am still a technology-phobe in many ways). Let’s just say that I learned my lessons after relying on my father to navigate using a paper map, which led us up an unpaved mountain track in Turkey on a dark moonless night; or when I followed the flight paths of airliners to trace my way from Fontainebleau to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport through morning rush-hour traffic.
- Must carry: Funnily enough, a wad of toilet tissue tucked into a side-pocket in my backpack and sanitizer. Without going into specifics, let’s just say that I’ve needed these two essential items in places as varied as in the middle of the steppes of Kazakhstan, or in the middle of the vast desert of northern Kenya.
- Favorite food: Oh man, it’s like asking me to choose a favorite child. I am a total foodie and will eat anything and everything. It’s hard to select one specific food, but I’ll list a few dishes that I love eating and cooking: deliriously spicy and flavorsome Thai drunken noodles, a simple bowl of rice with either Indian dal or chicken curry, fish wet fry with a side of local greens from western Kenya, meze from Lebanon, a steaming bowl of Japanese ramen… okay, I will stop here.
- Favorite drink: A glass of refreshing water straight from the tap. Nothing beats the thrill of opening a tap and pouring a glass of water that needs no further filtration or treatment.
- Favorite Airline: I am one of those weird travelers with little/no loyalty to any airline or alliance. I am mostly driven in my choice of airline based on my country/city of residence. I have been mostly living in Kenya and South Africa for the past 6.5 years, which implies a heavy reliance on Kenya Airways, South African Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines. I also use Emirates quite often. However, I definitely have a soft spot for certain airlines that I have taken during the course of my travels. I love Emirates for their in-flight service and entertainment options; Swiss for their complimentary chocolates (I’m one of those gluttons that will pick up a fistful of said delicious treats J); Kulula for their irreverent humor; Cathay Pacific for their fabulous premium class that is great value for money; IndiGo for showing that low-cost does not necessarily mean terrible service and seats that don’t recline—to name a few. I even grudgingly admit respect for Ethiopian. Flight schedules are perennially wacky, connection in Addis can be tight, crossing security in Addis tests the patience of the calmest of travelers, and luggage has a tendency of taking a route distinct from your own itinerary. Nevertheless, their Africa network (and increasingly connections to other continents) is unbeatable and they will get you from point A to point B, even if it means wheezing and puffing as you sprint between gates in Addis’ rarified air to make your connection when your flight arrives late (the norm, rather than the exception).
- Instagram: Everyday_traveler
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.
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.
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 states that there are 1281 unique places in the world.
- 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.
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