When it comes to the world’s greatest travelers, there are some pretty formidable candidates to choose from, but a retired US technician has a legitimate claim to rival the legendary explorers.
Donald Parrish is regarded as the world’s most-traveled person, having visited almost every destination on Earth.
The 70 year old has traveled so extensively that he is now closing in on the record of becoming the first person to visit all of the world’s 875 countries, territories, autonomous regions, enclaves, geographically separated island groups, and major states and provinces. According to mosttraveledpeople.com, Parrish has visited 840, with just 35 destinations remaining.
Parrish is currently the number one most-ranked traveler out of more than 9,000 members on most traveled people website. However, fellow traveler Robert Bonifas who has managed to visit 839 is just one destination behind Parrish.
No one in history has ever managed to visit each of the 875 destinations on the list.
Donald managed to complete the impressive feat of visiting each of the world’s 196 countries three years ago.
For members to prove they have been somewhere, they must provide a series of documents including everything from visas to ticket stubs.
Born in the US in 1944, Parrish’s first overseas trip was to Mexico in 1957 at the age of 13. Parrish says that his interest in travel started with stamps. By the age of eight he says he could recognize the national origin of any postage stamp and shortly after he began a half-century subscription to National Geographic magazine.
After training as a computer scientist at the University of Chicago in 1968, Parrish began working in research and development at Bells Labs. In 1971 he made his first circumnavigation of the world, a journey which took him six weeks.
He has since become a lifelong member of the Circumnavigators Club, and is also a member of the Travellers Century Club, which requires that members have visited 100 territories across the globe.
After traveling to 31 countries in 2007 and 29 countries in 2009, he finally visited the last of the world’s 191 countries in 2011 when he visited Mongolia. During his life, Parrish has spent a total of eight years outside of the US traveling or working.
He has made 60 trips to Japan, spending a total of 22 months there. Parrish is retired from a job, and now travels at least half the year.