GlobeRovers Magazine, July 2021

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TRAVELLER in the SPOTLIGHT A GlobeRovers Q&A with Ric Gazarian of

Ric Gazarian ( Ric Gazarian is an avid traveller, travel blogger, professional photographer, drone pilot, author, podcaster, documentary producer and industry speaker. He is on a quest to visit every country in the world, has visited all seven continents and has travelled to over 140 countries. Ric has produced two documentaries: Hit The Road: India and Hit The Road: Cambodia. Ric drove a tuk tuk for 2,000 km (1,243 mi) across India and 1,400 km (869 mi) across Cambodia. The films trace his adventures across these countries.

Endeavor to visit the eastern part of the country which is virtually untouched. • Algeria — This is the largest country in Africa but not often mentioned when people talk about planning trips to Africa. Nonetheless the country offers so much: Roman ruins, rich history and beautiful Saharan landscapes. It’s easy to get around and it is cheap. GR: Which is your most preferred country for travel? RG: Myanmar. I have been here five times over the last 15 years and it is simply not enough. I have barely scratched the surface. I am continually amazed at the pure magic of the temples of Bagan and the Shwedagon Pagoda. Beyond that are the more remote temples of Mrauk U or the face tattoo women of Mindat. And the islands in the Andaman Sea are absolute perfection.

GlobeRovers Magazine (GR): We talked with Ric Gazarian about his travels and started by asking how many United Nations member states he has visited. Ric Gazarian (RG): I have been to 142 UN recognized countries. GR: What are your top 5 preferred countries for leisure travel? RG: Here are my top 5 not in order of preference: • Armenia — This compact country offers so much … ancient culture, historical landmarks, diverse landscapes, and great food. Yerevan is one of my favorite capitals to hang around, relax and enjoy the cafes. It is easy to get around and has a great cost structure. • Thailand — There is a reason why this country is on the top of so many people’s lists. Thailand is a great introduction to South East Asia. Bangkok is a world class city, which offers amazing rooftop restaurants and incredible temples. Up north, you can trek in the mountains and explore landscapes. And of course the islands, you can party in Koh Samui or Phuket or chill out on a small island and have the beach to yourself. • Uzbekistan — This is another country that offers so much! You can go to the west and explore the dying Aral Sea and a world class art museum in the remote city of Nukus. I had such high expectations for the Silk Road and was not disappointed when I finally witnessed the beauty of Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand. Uzbekistan has great tourist infrastructure, and the prices are great. • Bhutan — This is one of those fabled countries that in many ways is an accurate portrayal of the myth. This mystical kingdom is set in the Himalayas and severely limits tourism. 162

Globerovers · July 2021

Phuket Vegetarian Festival, Thailand. GR: Where do you wish you were right now? RG: Libya. I have not been to a new country since March of 2020 when I left Gambia and spent a year in Bangkok to wait out Covid. My next scheduled trip to a new country is Libya. This country has been on the list for a while, and the security situation is improving allowing for some additional exploration of the country. Leptis Magna is one of the best-preserved Roman Ruins in the world and is untouched by tourism. GR: Among those countries you have not yet visited, which ones are at the top of your “must-do” list? RG: Everything I haven’t visited, but some of the tops are the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Papua New Guinea and more!