Twipper of the Week: Gunnar Garfors from The Garfors Globe!
Current city: Oslo, Norway – I’m at home between travels
Total countries visited: All
What makes you interesting: I am not all that interesting, but I love sharing travel experiences with others and getting to know locals and fellow travelers, so I am not the worst company for a coffee. I think.
Best travel advice: Travel with hand luggage only. It is faster, more flexible, makes you seem less like a tourist and is friendlier to the environment. And it is far from impossible, bring washing powder and buy new clothes wherever you go, that is often cheaper than at home anyway. And you get more original clothes.
What destinations are on your bucket list: The most exotic countries of the world. I am currently writing a book about them so I will return to the top 20 of them in the next few months. Let me just say that both São Tomé, Príncipe and the Marshall Islands are among them.
How do you do to stay healthy when you travel: I go running several times a week. It helps me keep fit, and it is a great way of exploring a new neighborhood. You’ll also be surprised how many smiles you see when you run abroad.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: There are hundreds of episodes to pick from, many of which I have written about in my first book “How I Ran Out of Countries”, but what my sister Kjersti and I experienced in Lesotho made me laugh. We were stamped out of Lesotho in the border police shack on the edge of the infamous and feared Sani Pass, on the border between Lesotho and South Africa. The police officers giggled when they saw our tiny rented Fiat, although we didn’t quite understand why. The road there hadn’t been all that bad, despite a lack of pavement and an overdose of goats. It was when we started driving down from the top that we realized what the giggling had been about. As we would have known had we read about Sani Pass on Wikipedia. “It is a notoriously dangerous road, which requires the use of a 4×4 vehicle. This pass lies between the border controls of both countries and is approximately 9 km in length and requires above average driving experience. It has occasional remains of vehicles that did not succeed in navigating its steep gradients and poor traction surfaces, and has a catalog of frightening stories of failed attempts at ascending the path over the Northern Lesotho Mountains.” In Lesotho I was proposed to by a girl from one of the mud hut villages. We were stopped in the mountains, a mother and her two adult daughters were hitchhiking. We drove them to Linakeng, almost an hour away. They told us about farming and tough conditions in the cold mountains. We were however also told that the mother’s husband was the chief of the village. They were grateful for the ride. I got a big hug from the mom, who used the occasion to propose to me on behalf of one of her daughters. The prettiest one, even. A future as chief son in law in the middle of Lesotho was tempting. I would presumably tale over the chief title when my potential father in law would call it a night. The average life expectancy is only 48 years, so a transition of power could happen relatively soon. I showed some interest for the offer. My sister wasn’t equally impressed, and we left without .
Describe the last time you tried something new: I never say no to new opportunities or to try new things. Life is too short for that. It’s not too long since I tried orienteering for the first time. A great way to see and feel the nature, enjoy the fresh air while having to navigate and run or walk at the same time. I am not at all a pro, but I loved it!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Never to forget that everyone sees their own hometown and home country as the center of the universe. That is something every traveler should keep in mind. It should help keep any arrogance at bay. Travelling has also given me more input an knowledge about people, places and myself than anything else. Not to travel would be a grave insult to my mind and my intellect.
Next travel destination: I’m off to Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) in a week. That was the last new country I visited, number 198 of 198, so it will always have a special place in my heart.