Michael Noel has traveled to 192 countries

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Hey now, I am your host, Ric Gazarian. Checking in with our new guest, Michael Noel and I crossed paths in the Douala airport en route to Bangui.  We ended up sharing a dinner and a trip to a waterfall.  Always great to run into fellow travelers in the least traveled places, and he shared a number of stories which I thought would make a fascinating conversation.

As some of you might have heard the next Extraordinary Travel Festival will be held on November 15, 2024 in Bangkok, plenty of time to save the date. You can buy your ticket now and use the code BANGKOK to save big at the Extraordinary Travel Fest.  I am also excited to announce our first trip, and that is 3 different agendas to Bhutan after the festival.  Check out the website or send me a message.

We have some great speakers who have already been announced for the event with more to come.  One of the speakers is Pablo Nemo, who has been walking from south to north for almost two years in Africa.  You can vote for him in the Nomad Mania Awards as the Most Intrepid Traveler.  There are a lot of other amazing travelers, so take a moment to recognize them.  Vote today!

After the interview with Michael, I will be checking in with Harry Mitisdis, who has recently published Welcome To The Hotel NomadMania.  This is a classic whodunit with many fictionalized characters from the Extreme Travel Community.  Buy your copy today.  

I would like to thank everyone for their support of Counting Countries, especially my Patrons: 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 Michael that you will not hear.

 And we have a new patron, Phil Marcus.  You might have heard me refer to Phil on the podcast several times.  Phil have teamed up over the last couple of years on some very memorable Africa and Middle East travels.  If you follow Phil on IG or FB, you might recognize him for his BFF better known as Beaker, a famous muppet, who he travels with all of the time and appears in many photos and video.  And speaking of video, make sure you follow him on YouTube at Phil’s Guide To The World!, which has a ton of great videos.  

I was in Chicago for this recording while Michael was in Cali. 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, Gintaute Liutkeviciute, Philippe Izedian & Dale Wursten.  

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More About Michael Noel Counting Countries


  •       Where were you born

o   Mather AFB, Sacramento, CA

  •       What passport (s) do you hold

o   USA

  •       Favorite travel book

o   Currently published: “The Long Road to Cullaville.” Though of course I think my upcoming book “Breaking the Tourist Barrier” will be a favorite soon as well. 😉

  •       Favorite travel film

o   Not really into travel films, maybe some documentaries but nothing stands out.

  •       Favorite travel app or website

o   Been a big fan of the ‘Fog of World’ app recently, though make heavy use of ‘Flighty,’ ‘Mark O’Travel,’ and ‘Polarsteps.’

  •       Must carry item when traveling (like flashlight, Kindle, deck of cards etc.)

o   Only real need is smartphone and passport. Everything else is optional. I travel exceedingly light, nothing more than a small backpack and/or small satchel.

  •       Favorite food

o   Sooo many choices and it really depends. Honestly, my favorite depends on region, I do try to eat as local as possible. If you press me to come up with something I’ll say Durian.

  •       Favorite drink

o   Same as above, depends. I don’t really like anything sweet though. Again, if you press probably espresso, but depends on where I am in the world.

  •       Favorite airline

o   Tough one, as I have status on United Airlines so that’s where I’m most likely to get upgraded, treated well, etc., but let’s be honest, it’s not the BEST worldwide. Probably Emirates if I’m being honest.

  •       Favorite hotel

o   Actually not really a hotel guy…I like what’s closest to the action and what doesn’t wall me off from the locals. Often times that means staying in someone’s house or an Airbnb. But if you press me for an answer I’ll probably say the Hotel Sapphire in Istanbul, mainly because of location and it’s a great deal.

  •       How to stay in touch

o   Travel blog (unfortunately woefully out of date but still useful info there: https://sharingtheglobe.com. )

o   X/Instagram/Threads: @sharingtheglobe


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.  

michael noel counting countries

Disclaimer: There are affiliates in this post. Michael Noel Counting Countries 

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