Welcome back to the Friends That Carry On Podcast!
We’re a group of friends that like to travel the world together. We want to share our passion for travel through travel tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way and stories of our adventures! Over the past few weeks, we have talked with John Hemingway, and the Aquachigger. For this episode, Ric Gazarian joined the Friends, Jim Scott, Tony Price, and Brian Romine via Skype. You may also know Ric as GlobalGaz from his travels around the globe.
You can listen along here:
Who is GlobalGaz?
Ric is a professional photographer, traveler, blogger, author, host of “The Counting Countries podcast”, and documentary producer. He is a true travel leader and influencer. Rick founded and organizes a 3000-person travel networking group in Bangkok. He is also the chapter leader of Travel Massive in Bangkok as well as the Asia Coordinator. His books include “Hit the Road India” and “7000km to Go”, and he has visited all 7 continents! He aspires to visit every country in the world, and is currently living in Bangkok. The Friends were very excited to welcome him back, as they have enjoyed interviewing him in the past. You can find that interview on Episode 6 of the FTCO podcast.
COVID-19 and the Impact on Travel
While en route to Berlin recently, he learned that that two travel networking conferences he was attending were canceled. This was due to Coronavirus. Although the events were no longer going on, thousands of attendees were already on site. This led to numerous networking opportunities that he was able to be a part of.
He then flew to Senegal to begin a one-month road trip through West Africa. However, the adventure only lasted a little over a week due to many countries closing their borders. When entering Gambia, he and the travelers he was with recognized how the pandemic was spreading. They made the difficult decision to cut the trip short.
He is currently under self-quarantine in his home in Bangkok. Here he is taking care of emails, conference calls, watching Netflix, and playing his new guilty pleasure PubG. This is not his first experience being quarantined. Ric has quarantine experience from 2019 when he crossed the border from Nepal to Tibet due to H1N1. It is very interesting to hear the similarities and differences between how the virus is being discussed and managed in Thailand compared to here in the US.
142 Countries and Counting
They then talk about how Ric has now visited a total of 142 countries as of right now. In 2019 he visited Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. He worked with Untamed Borders who sponsor his podcast. Their role is to plan the trips, take care of security, and make sure the trip goes smoothly.
Recently he’s had to travel by plane between the countries he’s visited due to safety concerns, and then travel by vehicle within the countries themselves. The areas he visited were fully functioning and not the war-torn occupied regions. He visited Afghanistan for two weeks and while in Herat, Afghanistan, he visited the Jihad Museum. This museum documents the Afghani war against the Soviet Union. In Afghanistan, there is not a lot of outward negativity towards America as opposed to Iran. In Iran is where he finds that there is more hostility towards America. The Pakistani government has been more open to granting Visa’s to travelers than they ever have been before. Tony, Brian, Jim, and Ric go over specific processes for obtaining Visa’s in other countries. They also discuss the varying levels of difficulty involved.
Ric discusses his two-week trip through Uzbekistan. He finds the country to be very travel friendly with many sights to see including the small city of Nukus, famous for the Nukus Museum of Art, and the Aral Sea.
Upcoming Travel Plans and a New Book
As of now, Ric is not planning any new trips. His upcoming trips through October 2020 are on hold due to the Coronavirus. He had planned to visit Armenia, Papua New Guinea, the US, Malawi, Madagascar, and Botswana among others. After these trips, he would have reached 160 countries visited!
The gentlemen discuss Travel Massive, which is the largest online network of world travelers. During this conversation, they learn that Ric does 6 to 8 events each year with the organization.
We also learn that Ric is beginning work on a new book about a southeast Asian tattoo festival, called Sak Yant. We are looking forward to having an opportunity to read the book and hope to have Ric back on to discuss it at a later date!
Follow the Friends on More Adventures!
Are you excited to follow along and hearing more about our adventures? Follow us wherever you listen to Podcasts, or find more info here.