Lee Abbamonte – Youngest American Globetrotter

When it’s about travel, no one seems to be best suited to answer queries than

Lee Abbamonte

 

. The youngest American to visit every country in the world, he has done it all, be it hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro, conquering Mt Kilimanjaro, or white-water rafting the 5-level rapids of the Zambezi River. An adventurer at heart, he is also passionate about sports and an avid lover of the New York City Yankees.

At the young age of 35, he has visited 312 countries and is deemed as one of the world’s most-traveled individuals. A travel expert, he is an active member of the Travelers Century Club. He has also been featured in New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and also appears on Fox News, BBC, Travel Channel, and Discovery Channel.

Let’s take a look at what he has to say about his specialty – travel.

Lee Abbamonte

1. Your first foreign experience can determine your outlook on travel as a whole. What was your first international adventure like?

My first trip abroad was phenomenal and totally set the table for the rest of my travels and certainly my outlook on the world. I went to England as a study abroad student and that experience completely changed my life.

2. Visiting every country is a huge personal goal. How did this challenge come about?

As the story goes, I never really decided to travel to every country until I did. What that basically means is that I just traveled for fun and because I loved it but I would often choose to go to new places I hadn’t been before. So after a while I had racked up a bunch of countries-never intending to go to them all. One day back in 2006, I got an email from a friend that mentioned a record to become the youngest to visit every country. I basically looked at a map to count how many I had been to, see what I had left and then it was just basic math of time and money and it seemed to work out. I decided to do it and it took me about 13 years to complete it-although I wasn’t really in a hurry.

3. What defines “visiting a country” in your terms? Is it spending the night or spending a week?

My definition of a visit is a period of time that satisfies me with the visit. I have spent months in places and also spent less than a day in some. Some I was happy with my length of stay and some I have been back to multiple times to make up for it. Basically, it is up to the individual to determine how long and how much they want to see and do and to be honest, some places don’t offer much to see or do so a day or so can be fine at times.

4. In recent interviews, you mentioned trying to visit every country twice. What made you contemplate this new goal?

To my knowledge, nobody has ever done it twice so that’s intriguing to me and I have already been to 135 or so of the 193 at least twice so it wouldn’t be a huge stretch for me. Although I am in no rush to do this!

5. By now, you must be an expert in travel packing. Apart from your passport and credit card, which items can you not travel without?

To be honest, I travel extremely light and there really isn’t much I couldn’t live without. Aside from what you mentioned I would add in my laptop and iPhone; mainly for pictures, storage and making life easier as opposed to calling and playing on the net.

6. If you had to mentor a young traveler, what would you tell them?

My advice is to just go. Don’t think, don’t worry, just go. I would also advice starting in somewhere safe and easy like England as I did. England and the UK will give you a great taste of Europe but with most of the comforts of home including of course English. This will whet your travel appetite and then head over to France and have your try at a safe foreign language destination. I always tell people to start easy, don’t go straight for Turkmenistan!

7. Can you share any tips with those who travel a lot for either work or pleasure on how to achieve a balanced lifestyle?

A balanced lifestyle is the key to staying normal with an abnormal life. You need to balance work, travel and personal life; which can be tricky. However, I feel that if you make the effort you can attain this but you have to put forth effort with others. Work and travel are easier to balance if you can work from the road but the same thing goes, you must put in effort and be disciplined.

Lee Abbamonte 2

8. Apart from traveling, what is your next great adventure?

I am moving into a new apartment in New York and just enjoying my time at home.

9. If you had to pick, which country would be your final destination?

French Polynesia, specifically Bora Bora…seems like the perfect place to be a final destination as it doesn’t get much more beautiful than that!

To follow Lee Abbamonte on his adventures, check out www.leeabbamonte.com. Or, you can follow him on Twitter @LeeAbbamonte.

Roxanne Genier
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Roxanne Genier

Luxury Brand Management Consultant at Roxy Genier
Roxanne or Roxy, founder of Luxe In A City, was nominated as one of the Top 5 Luxury Travel Bloggers by the readers of USA Today. Aside from overseeing this luxury travel blog, she spends her time teaching how to perfect the feeling of luxury to authentic niche brands while traveling the world with her family.
Roxanne Genier
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