This is it!! The almighty milestone of 195 has been reached, once and for all! And it feels absolutely incredible to announce it live to all my followers on The Digital Globetrotter! I have dreamed of this moment for a long time, and although this milestone has never been my ultimate goal as a full-time digital nomad and traveler, it is definitely worth raising a glass and pausing for a moment to reflect on what it means for me and my future. The truth is, my life as a globetrotter will continue as usual, as I see no reason to stop doing what I love, I still enjoy what I do and I am infinitely thankful every morning for having the chance to be able to live yet another exciting adventure on the open road.
In This Article...
The hardest visa I ever requested
Reaching Libya has not been an easy one for me. In fact, it was such a challenge to be honest. It felt like the biggest obstacle I had ever undertook to reach a new country! It felt like the world was testing me with massive obstacles, one last time, between Civil wars and Pandemics… My first attempt was in November 2019 when my trip was canceled because of the bombing of Mitiga airport by General Hafter forces a week prior to departure. This was actually the last remaining airport available, as the main Tripoli International Airport had been disabled by the revolutionary forces who ousted Gaddafi a few years back at the beginning of the Arab spring. Then in 2020 Covid started which closed international borders all over the world and force me to stay on standby. This lasted for a year and a half, and when I finally found a small window between Libya’s endless wars and covid, I grabbed my opportunity.
A surprise 3 Day Lockdown
But even then, it was a challenge managing to get a visa to get in. After 3 months of trying and 2 failed attempts, I managed to get a visa in July and was ready to fly! Until a day before my flight, when Libya’s government declared a 3 days full lockdown, starting right on my arrival day… At this point, I felt like it would never happen, as we all know how easily governments from all around the world extend lockdowns during covid. I couldn’t believe how unlucky I was! But fortunately, it wasn’t extended and I managed to jump on the first flight on August 10th 2021 from Istanbul to Tripoli. And what a relief it was to finally land in my last country… An emotional moment that I will always remember for the rest of my life.
The “195” Cake
My hosts in Libya were very aware and prepared for this event! They had printed signs with the “Libya 195” on them, as well as an incredible surprise: a delicious cake, carefully prepared by the daughter of Ali, with a nice edible world map, a Libyan flag and crowned with 3 candles portraying the precious record of 195! And the rest is history! I think I never appreciated so much a cake in my life, surpassing all the 39 birthday cakes I have had since birth!
My experience in Libya was a very interesting one. The country is still in a technical civil war and 80% of the territory is still captured by general Haftar on the opposing side, which restricted the areas where I could travel. But considering Libya has a very rich history dating thousands of years ago, I was still fulfilled by staying inside the 150km around Tripoli that was accessible. My full report of my Libya trip is available in another post.
My memoir Globetrotter becoming Best Seller!!
What is Globetrotter? In simple words, it is my memoir. 17 years spent roaming the world, living non-stop in a suitcase, to 230 countries including every one of the 195 countries recognized by the United Nations… I had to crown this important milestone with something big, and a book was just what I needed to share a piece of what I lived for all those years. But why stop at only one… I decided to build a team of dozens of editors and translators to work together and have the book launched in 5 languages. That’s right! A lot of work, but with so much time off during lockdowns, I guess we can say it was a good time to invest the endless hours of editing. It has just been launched in English and quickly reached BEST SELLER status on amazon in several categories! I could not be happier with the reception!
It has then been launched in French, which also gathered a lot of attention in the french market, so much that it reached Best Seller status on Amazon in only 2 days! The subsequent release will be in a few weeks in Spanish, Portuguese and Russian following the English Original launch. The idea to release it in several languages was an idea I had, to reach as many people as possible. I knew that the market for international books wasn’t big, but I owed it to the world. One of the first thing we learn as travelers is to always give back to the community. This is my special way to do so.