Right after midnight, on December 6th, 2019 Alvaro Rojas became the youngest Spaniard to visit every country in the world. Something only approximately 250 people in history has achieved. Alvaro Rojas has shared some of his travel experiences in this interview.
What are three of your favourite countries?
After visiting every country in the world, there are so many that left an impression or that surprised you for numerous reasons that it’s impossible to pin it down to one favourite or three. I prefer talking about favourite regions than favourite countries, and if I get to pick three, it would be Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Middle East.
Alvaro has previously mentioned Tibet and Japan as favourite destinations.
Are there any countries you don’t enjoy travelling to?
Not really. Of course, there are ones where I’ll keep coming back more often, but eventually, I’d love to revisit them all. There are always reasons to go back, to explore new regions within a country, or to change that initial bad taste from your first visit. Travelling is very subjective, and usually, things like weather, your health or an unfortunate encounter can dramatically affect your experience in a destination. That doesn’t make it a bad place. It’s just that your personal experience wasn’t ideal. Maybe it will be next time around.
How many days have you approximately travelled?
1,565 days travelling. I keep an Excel sheet with many weird stats about my travels. In this count, I’m not considering summer’s abroad on cultural exchange programs, my two years studying abroad in the US and France, and two years as an expat in Angola and Gabon. It’s strictly a time spent travelling count.
What are three of your favourite cities?
Again, it’s impossible to pick just three, but I’ll play along: Hong Kong, Tokyo and Chicago.
What are three of your favourite hotels or places you’ve stayed and why?
Being a professional traveller and content creator, I’ve had the privilege of working with over 200 luxury hotels and boutique hotels in more than 100 countries. Some properties were incredibly unique and stood out over the rest:
Soneva Jani & Soneva Fushi in the Maldives
Two floors overwater villas with a slide, 24-hour chocolate and cheese rooms, and the most lavish comforts and service you can imagine.
Any &Beyond camp but namely their Tree House Lodge in Lake Manyara. You wake up in this treehouse villa surrounded by wild elephants eating from the branches next to your balcony and outdoor shower. Stuff you don’t even see in movies.
Time and Tide Miavana, in Madagascar
A private island with only 12 villas and with a 40-minutes Heli flight as a shuttle. I was the only guest for four nights and had a golf cart and a quad to drive around the island.
What are the three worst places you’ve stayed?
A windowless damp room in Taiwan
I thought I’d only sleep there and didn’t need much as I’d be exploring Taipei all day. Little did I know a Typhoon would keep me indoors for five days. I almost went crazy.
A very dirty inn in Djenné, Mali
Eventually, I gave up and had to lie on that dirty mattress since I was exhausted from the long ride there. Blood and other fluids stained an otherwise very yellow-orangey bed. A mouldy bucket instead of running water and tons of mosquitoes to keep me company.
A shack in the Amazon, in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia
Sleep was good, but I got some nasty bed bugs that were very painful and annoying to dispose of.
What are three of your favourite restaurants?
I’m not a real foodie. I enjoy good food in countries like Japan, Spain, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, but I travel more to meet people, not for food. However, here are my three picks:
Sushi in Tsukiji Market in Tokyo
Game meat in Botswana or Namibia, with any local beer
Asado in Paraguay arguably the best meat in the world?
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
Reaching Everest Base Camp on its Tibetan side on my 21st birthday, with a full moon.
Driving up to Victoria Falls and being greeted by an epic sunset.
Just a few days ago, on my 33rd birthday, I took a Heli to fly over Angel Falls twice in the same morning.
What are three of your worst travel moments?
The time I almost drowned in Zanzibar.
When I got hit by a car in Brazzaville.
The time I got scammed at the Sierra Leone border for a vaccine shot I didn’t need.
What are three of your best travel tips?
Smile. It breaks any prejudice, and it’s the best way to start off a conversation with a local or get out of issues with police or at the border.
The world is safe, and 99% are good. The more people I meet, the more I realize that we’re all essentially the same. Same fears, goals, dreams and defects.
Travelling comes down to priorities. If you want to travel, you will.
Do you have any little known travel tips?
I never check a bag.
I always board and deboard first.
I always carry USD and EUR with me.