David De Clercq is one of the few people in the world under 40 who has visited every country in the world, and he is the founder of World-Adventurer. He is verified by Nomad Mania and he has visited more than 400 of their world regions. You can follow him on Instagram.
What are three of your favourite countries and why?
In terms of travelling, I was amazed and surprised by Iran, Ethiopia, and Myanmar. These were countries in which the reality far exceeded my expectations.
Are there any countries you don’t like visiting?
I try to find the best in each country I visit but unfortunately not every visit is pleasant. South Sudan disappointed me with its extreme hostility toward photography. North Korea, besides the obvious, left me ashamed to have supported the government with my tourism dollars, enriching those in power while others starve. India and Egypt‘s tourism is marred with scammers and rip-off artists, which takes a lot away from experiencing the countries’ incredible sites and culture.
What are three of your favourite cities, and why?
New York, the definition of an urban city. Sydney the most beautiful city, and Stockholm was one of the most unique with its many islands.
What are three of the worst places you’ve stayed?
The worst was probably on the border between Guinea and Sierra Leone. Where I shared a 2mx2m shack with a corrugated metal roof and no windows with two other passengers from my shared taxi who were padlocked in with me for safety during the Ebola outbreak.
Another time on the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica in a tiny “hotel” that charged by the hours where a man was outside sharpening a knife on the sidewalk.
A hostel in Harar, Ethiopia slaughtered an entire cow outside the door of the reception, and we had to step through the blood to catch an early bus. While waiting outside the locked security gate, hyenas were rummaging through trash and wandered around us. Luckily none attacked.
Do you have any favourite hotels or restaurants?
The most memorable hotel experience was at Suryaghar in the desert of Jaisalmer. My favourite restaurant is Aquarium in Torre Delle Stelle, Sardinia, because I proudly opened it!
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
Too many to name but some memorable ones:
Dressing up as Star Wars characters with my friends and going through the movie filming sights in Tunisia
Making music videos with my friend throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia
Never released and never will be.
Celebrating my mission in my last country Nepal with my friends and family in Kathmandu and then hiking Poon Hill together
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
Being extremely underprepared and overconfident while summiting Kilimanjaro
I was so weak and sick by the end of it I was taken down by stretcher between two camps. But at least I made it to the top.
Seven hours strapped to the back of a small motorbike, hugging my 17-year-old driver to cross the border of Guinea Bissau to Conakry
We through villages, crossed a river by canoe, and survived a race which ended with the other motorbike crashing and knocking the passenger unconscious. She was propped on the bike, still unconscious to continue the journey as nightfall would be dangerous.
Visas in general but especially in Africa
Not sure how many days of my life were lost to get Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan visas.
What are three of your best travel tips?
Stay calm (and polite when dealing with people)
Inevitably things won’t work out. You’ll miss your plane, you’ll get pickpocketed or lost. Whatever it is, don’t panic, take a deep breath, and figure out the next best action.
Trust your instinct
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Be open, friendly and curious
As one of the real joys in travelling is the people that you meet.