Elena Chechina has traveled to 158 countries

Hey now, I am your host, Ric Gazarian.  I met Elena back at the ETF in Yerevan and started to realize what a unique life she was leading.  She is a true global citizen with true family connections to Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Elena has somehow managed to balance the multiple moving parts of her life … 3 children, a spouse who lives and works in Northern Africa, a full time job, and of course Chasing 193.  In this conversation, we learn how she manages the complexity of her life.   

The next Extraordinary Travel Festival will be held on November 15, 2024 in Bangkok.  At the festival, we will have over 20 amazing speakers.  I am excited to announce new speaker Joe Cummings.  Joe has has spent time over six different decades in Thailand.  He wrote the first Lonely Panet Thailand Guide back in 1981. He offers an unique perspective on Thailand and travel that few have.  He is also a renaissance man, he is a linguist, an actor, and a musician.  You can buy your ticket now and use the code BANGKOK to save big at the Extraordinary Travel Fest.  If you have questions, just let me know.

I would like to thank everyone for their support of Counting Countries, especially my Patrons: Phil Marcus, Jorge Serpa, Per Flisberg, Justine Kirby, Marc Jorgensen, Sonia Zimmerman, Lori Pastorelli, Carole Southam, Sunir Joshi, Philippe Izedian, Gin, Simen Flotvik Mathisen, Ted Nims, Bisa Myles, Steph Rowe, Thor Pedersen, Adam Hickman, Katelyn Jarvis, Ed Hotchkiss, and Barry Hoffner for supporting this podcast.  You can support this podcast by going to Patreon.com/CountingCountries.  My patrons will hear extra content with Hayley that you will not hear.

I was in Bangkok for this recording while Elena was in Sweden. Please listen in and enjoy.   

Thank you to my Patrons …. Phil Marcus, Jorge Serpa, Per Flisberg, Justine Kirby, Marc Jorgensen, Sonia Zimmermann, Lori Pastorelli, Gintaute Liutkeviciute, Barry Hoffner, Ed Hotchkiss, Katelyn Jarvis, Carole Southam, Thor Pedersen, Simen Flotvik Mathisen, Adam Hickman, Bisa Myles, Ted Nims, Sunir Joshi, Philippe Izedian & Dale Wursten.  

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About Elena Chechina Counting Countries

Where are you from & where do you live:

I was born in Moscow. I live in Sweden.

What passports do you hold:

I hold 2 passports: Swedish and Russian.

Favourite travel app:



Must carry items:

Powerbank and headphones if traveling solo

Baby carrier & small stroller when I travel with kids

Favourite food:

Sushi and exotic fruits, pad thai

Favorite drink:

Traditional Sweet green tea with mint prepared by my husband in Mauritania

Sugarcane juice 

Favourite airlines:

Emirates and AirAsia (for budget travel)

Favourite hotel:

Traditional yurt in Kyrgyzstan

Couchsurfing with families around the world

Favourite travel book:

Books written by other travellers in our community like “Long Road to Cullaville” by Boris Kester; “Chasing 193: a quest to visit every country in the world”.

I also love books based on real stories or taking place in countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen e.g. The Kite Runner, Thousand Splendid suns, Desert Flower..

Favourite travel films:

I love Bollywood movies and especially these movies about travelling: “Zindagi na milegi dobaara” and “Yeh Jawaani hai Diwaani”

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 GlobalGaz.com

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: There are affiliates in this post. Elena Chechina Counting Countries 


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