Rus Margolin … from communist to capitalist

Rus has traveled to 192 countries

On today’s episode, I welcome Rus Margolin to Counting Countries.  I learned about Rus and his prolific travel from seeing his photos on Facebook in Every Passport Stamp, and fellow EPS Moderator Petro suggested that I interview him for the podcast.

Russ grew up in the Soviet Union in Minsk, Belarus. Rus’s parents believed in travel and took him on frequent trips within the Soviet Union, including frequent trips to the Baltics.  In fact, growing up Rus was the president of the Young Communist League.  The Soviet Union collapsed in his youth, Rus won a country-wide English contest, and won a scholarship to Florida to attend university.  After overcoming some culture shock, he excelled at school, and made his way to Wall Street.

As a kid, Rus dreamed of exploring the world, cutting our pictures out from nature magazines, staring at photos of wildlife and nature.  After his arrival to the US, he was able to pursue his dreams of exploration, and make his dreams a reality.  He quit his job in 2013 so he could focus more on travel.  Rus shares with us amazing experiences of the crab migration on Christmas Island, witnessing a billion butterflies in Mexico, and viewing the penguins in Antarctica.  Russ also overeviews his recent trip to Syria, commenting on the normalcy of his visit while debating the sane-ness of his visit, while he rates the pistachio ice cream in the Damascus Souk.

I encourage you to subscribe wherever you listen, Apple Podcast, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify.  Remember go to Amazon to pick up your Counting Countries T-shirt.

But for now, here’s my conversation with Rus, who was in the Big Apple between trips while I was in the Windy City Counting Countries Studio.  Please listen in and enjoy.

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Check out our friends: Chasing 193, Volume II: The Quest To Visit Every Country In The World and Large Minority.  They organize international rallies around the world including: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, the Philippines and the Amazon.

More about Rus Margolin:

  • Born in: Minsk
  • Favorite travel book: Lonely Planet: Year of Watching Wildlife
  • Favorite travel film: National Geographic Migrations
  • Must carry: Camera
  • Favorite food:  Anything authentic and local
  • Favorite drink: Anything authentic and local
  • Favorite Airline: The cheapest
  • Website:
  • Instagram: Travel 2 Unlimited

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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.

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

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.

An analysis of these lists and who is the best traveled by Kolja Spori.  

Check out our friend and his new book:    

Harry Mitsidis, the author and extreme traveler, traces William’s arrival and unraveling in the travel community. It is a story worthy of a film … and this book.

william baekeland

Disclaimer: I will earn a fee if you order from Amazon/Agoda.

Russ Margolin Counting Countries


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