Meet Paul, an English World Traveller who travelled to 141 countries
I’ve met Paul by accident during the art exhibition from our friend in Amsterdam. As soon as I met him, I liked his open spirit. The openness and kindness he had are the features of people who are usually travellers or artists of some kind. While chit-chatting I realised that his life was quite exciting and that he had spent most of his life abroad. Abroad…that sounds so good! 🙂
We met again on Four Seasons Art Fair and after that, we stayed in touch. A few years later I remembered Paul and I decided to ask him to share his opinions to help all of us who want to travel the whole world. If you consider yourself a fellow traveller, continue reading to discover what Paul, a proper world traveller, thinks about certain travel aspects now and then!
1. Hi Paul, a world traveller! 🙂 How are you? Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi there! My name is Paul, electronics and communications engineer from the origin, but became involved in international business development for Dutch and German industries through the years. Presently living in England, but have a house in Germany also.
2. You have told me that you were in 141 countries across the globe in the last 50 years. How did you accomplish that, to become a world traveller?
Well, the first step was easy, at the age of 16, I joined the Royal Navy and after 3 years of training was let loose into the world. Three world tours on naval ships and a number of foreign postings in Hong Kong and Singapore followed on from that. After 10 years in the navy, I moved to the electronics industry in The Netherlands where I had various jobs from instructing customer navies to project management to marketing and business development.
28 years in total, including extensive periods in Canada and the UAE. Moving to Germany after that, I again started a new career in international business development in a different line of business, staying with the company until my retirement in October 2014. I was usually to be found somewhere in the world 2 or 3 weeks each month doing marketing, setting up partnerships, taking part in exhibitions and conferences.
3. What country has left the biggest impression on you and why?
Upon reflection, I would say the Sultanate of Oman, having had a long relationship from 1971 until my last visit in 2014, seeing the development of the country from a poor state to the present situation without losing their traditional image or friendliness.
4. In your opinion, what country seems like a perfect place to settle down and why?
That is a difficult one, so many countries have appealed to me through the years, but many have changed socially and politically over time. Malaysia and South Africa have figured deeply in my thoughts at times, as has Indonesia (but not Bali). Definitely influenced by warmer climates and
the openness of the people.
5. Were you ever in Croatia? If the answer is yes, what did impress you the most there and what the least? What is the first thing that crosses your mind when you hear for Croatia?
Croatia has always escaped from my travel, will it become number 142 on my list of countries visited? I have it on my list of places to visit. The history I find fascinating.
6. From a world traveller perspective, which countries were the most expensive and which were the most affordable?
The first that comes to mind is Japan, but not if you are outside of the major cities. In more recent times Dubai has climbed up the list of most expensive. Norway and Sweden should be included in that class. The most affordable, probably South East Asian countries, with the exception of Singapore of course. South Africa is surprisingly affordable.
Within my travels, in Europe, I have found Serbia to be a pleasantly cheap place to be with a great selection of things to see in Belgrade. Since my retirement, I have been back there a couple of times.
7. As already mentioned, you started travelling in the 20th century, in the 70s if I am correct. What are the biggest changes from then compared to now in the terms of tourism, accommodations, transport etc.? What do you consider better now than before and what is not so good compared to those times?
Improved accessibility to various countries has been a major benefit (before Covid-19 came along). Now we can only dream of the old mobility possibilities. The flight costs have reduced significantly with the arrival of budget airlines, but good forward planning with established airlines can also be beneficial. Budget hotels still provide a good alternative to BnB, providing more facilities and information. I found quite a number in Indonesia, even in Jakarta, with good quality affordable restaurants in the direct vicinity.
8. Can you give any recommendations on what countries/destinations or places we shall not miss seeing in our life!?
Number 1. Malaysia once you escape Kuala Lumpur and travel across the country and northwards along the east coast.
Number 3. New Zealand, South Island, with a great variation in scenary.
Number 4. Sultanate of Oman in Salalah and the southern mountains.
Number 5. Serbia, Belgrade with the majestic Kalemegdan fortress overlooking the River Danube and River Sava
Number 6. your own country, people tend to forget that, my first hitchhiking adventure at the age of 15 around Scotland with three school friends
9. If you have to choose only one, what will be one of the best memory from all those 141 countries and where did it happen?
Actually, not a visit during my “adult life” but my very first international trip as a 14-year-old, to Italy in April 1963 with a mixed group of other children from the grammar school I attended. Travelling by train across Europe which took 2 days and spending 10 days in Florence and 10 days
in Rome. The travel bug had bitten and has still not let go.
10. Have you ever had a bad experience in any of those countries and where?
Not really, disappointment maybe but you can push that to the back of your mind quickly.
11. Have you ever encountered some tribes? Where and which ones?
Only in South Africa where I visited a village set up for tourists, to the north of Johannesburg. The Lesedi Cultural Village with samples of tribal villages of the Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Besotho and Ndeble tribes. With overnight accommodation in typical huts of the tribes and bush food.
The only other such experience was travelling through the South Pacific islands between the Solomon Islands and Fiji, where we were welcomed by various tribes. The first Europeans to visit some of the islands since the end of World War 2. Welcomed with traditional music, dance and grass skirts.
12. As a world traveller, share a piece of advice for everyone out there related to travelling/success/life!
To be honest, just ensure you do not get caught breaking local laws, particularly with respect to drugs whatever you have come to think of as everyday life in your own country. Respect people and traditions, in particular with photography of people and certain (government) buildings. Stay calm, polite and SMILE.
Thank you for this opportunity, and should anyone wish to contact me, you will find me and my photos at: