Lee Abbamonte is one of the most famous people to have visited every country in the world. He became the youngest American to visit every country in the world in 2011 at the age of 32. His final country was Libya, where something dramatic happened, as he explains in this interview. Lee is one of the most travelled, having visited 323 countries and territories on Travelers’ Century Club’s list, all 50 American states, all 63 American national parks and both the North and South Poles.
Lee was born in Connecticut in 1978, but he has lived in New York, his favourite city in the world, for more than 20 years. Some of his other favourite cities include Sydney, Cape Town, London, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Melbourne, Rome, Buenos Aires, and Paris.
I have known about Lee for years and had great chats with him online over the last few years, but we have unfortunately not met in person. I was planning to meet up with him a few years ago in Italy, but my plans unfortunately changed. He continues to travel a lot, and to my knowledge, he has almost visited every country twice. As one of the world’s biggest travellers, I would, of course, be very interested in featuring Lee as a big traveller on my site. He accepted my invitation and answered the following questions for me about his favourite countries, favourite travel moments, worst travel moments, and best travel tips. Please enjoy.
What are three of your favourite countries, and why?
Australia, New Zealand and Argentina because they’re countries with varied landscapes, outdoor lifestyles, amazing nature, interesting culture, great sports culture and friendly people, amongst many other reasons.
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
Reaching the South Pole and the North Pole because so few people have done it, and it was the culmination of my journeys around the world. Also, reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro because of the time in my life that I did it and who I did it with.
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
Not reaching the South Pole on my first attempt for obvious reasons. Getting shot at attempting to enter Libya for my final UN country visited, and probably my experiences being scammed in Nigeria over and over by the police.
What are three of your best travel tips?
I’m not big into hacks and that type of thing, but basically do a lot of research about where you’re going; learn a few words in the local language like hello, goodbye, please and thank you as it goes a long way with locals; and finally, don’t plan too stringently-always be flexible and leave open time for things that come up along the way.
Lee has more than 100,000 followers on social media and you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LeeAbbamonte.com. His website has many interesting articles about special destinations in the world as well as his 30 best lists where you can get to know more about some of his favourites.