The Favourites of Chris Overgaard Pedersen

Chris Overgaard Pedersen is a Danish adventurer who has visited more than 130 countries at a young age. He is sharing experiences on his popular Instagram account aWritingNomad.

What are three of your favourite countries, and why?

I thrive in thin air with a stunning view and a tough challenge ahead of me. Few places in the world come close to matching Nepal with so many beautiful places, national parks and amazing treks. It sure helps that the people are very friendly and welcoming and the food is great.

I was so positively surprised by Guatemala. It is a fairly small country that kind of epitomizes everything that Central- and South America has to offer on a small scale. Beautiful mountain peaks, active volcanoes, lush jungles, the surf in the Pacific Ocean, the tranquil beaches of the Caribbean and so much exciting history from ancient days throughout the Mayan history and temples to the present day. It all comes with a low price tag and very friendly locals who are eager to show how fortunate you are to find yourself visiting this wonderful country.

Why? Tacos! Do I need any more explanation than the food…?
I used to live and work in Mexico during historical tours for Scandinavians all over the Yucatan Peninsula, and I absolutely fell in love with this amazing country. There’s the food, the fascinating history, the kind and different people groups, stunning nature and such a variety of activities and experiences that have taken me back to this great country several times again since the time I lived there.

What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?

Hiking Mount Lebanon
This experience wasn’t much about nature, to be honest. Sure, it was pretty in itself, but for us, it was more of a fun challenge and we ended up making some amazing friends. There were no trails from the side of the mountain we were on, so it was more of walking through fields and herds of sheep. When we were about halfway up, we walked for around 5 hours and realized that we were ambitious on time.

We met some local shepherds who didn’t speak a word of English but with our few phrases of Arabic and shades, we understood from them that we were crazy and had no chance that we would make it. We hiked on to the nearest village to get some snacks and figure out a way to get back and then we met the shepherds randomly at the local market. They insisted that they would take us up to the top of the mountain in their old pickup, as they knew a sketchy “road” up the backside.

Together with a few sheep, we jumped on the back and eventually made it to the top, where we were invited in for tea, beers and snacks at the Bedouin’s shepherd tent up there. We enjoyed some good laughs and “talked” for a few hours despite not speaking each other’s languages. Eventually, we went down again, but no chance that the shepherds would drop us off in the village where we stayed, before having met and had a feast with their family, where we stayed the whole evening and had a great time.

Watching Volcan Fuego
Watching Volcan Fuego erupt while sitting on top of Volcan Acatenango at 4.000m with a local Guatemalan Rum to stay warm.

Biting through one of the best tacos of my life
Braised Pork Belly with habanero, avocado and pickled onions in the desert of Baja California.

What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?

Fighting in Egypt
I’m a very calm guy who would never start a fight, but while living in Egypt for around 7 months, I ended up in fights 5-10 times, none of which I wished to be in. The first time it was a taxi guy trying to rob me, the second was two guys trying to steal from me, the third time was a guy who took out his private parts and touched himself while watching my female colleagues in the back seat and similar events.

Piercing my hand with 58 Sea Urching spikes
Piercing my hand with 58 Sea Urching spikes as I fell from a waterfall and landed with my hand straight on it.

A ton of highways, large buildings, piles of sand and no authentic experiences left for visitors to enjoy. 95% of the restaurants were American fast food chains and 99% of all shops and cafés were inside massive malls.

What are three of your best travel tips?

Go to places that are less developed/explored
This may seem obvious, but try to explore countries that still haven’t had mass tourism, and you’ll find that not only is it cheaper, but people are also very friendly, helpful and curious as to why you’ve made it to their less visited part of the world.

Use offline map apps such as Maps.Me or similar
From remote hikes to driving through the Arabian desert, this app (or similar) has saved me countless times and kept the travel experience smooth.

Be brave
Dare to try an experience you wouldn’t in a million years think of doing at home.

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