Think you have tried everything? Well, The Daily Meal has met someone who has probably been to more places and has tried more delicacies than most avid travelers.
At 33 years old, Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to have visited every country in the world. But not content to stop there, his next mission is to become the youngest person to visit all 321 countries and territories in the world according to the Travelers' Century Club list of countries. With 305 countries and territories stamped in his passport, he is nearly there.
Ever since he lived in London during a college study abroad program, Abbamonte has been traveling. He initially set a goal to reach 100 countries by age 30. In 2007, his goal became 150, and his passport stamps and goals grew from there.
After graduation, Abbamonte worked on Wall Street and used his vacation time to travel. To reach so many destinations efficiently, Abbamonte planned his journeys by region. For example, he would go to West Africa for two months, then North Africa, and so on.
After 9/11, Abbamonte quit his job and traveled for two years. Some 13 years since his first trip, Abbamonte has gone hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro, dodged bullets in Libya, conquered the world’s highest bungee jump in South Africa, tracked silverback gorillas in Rwanda, played golf in Afghanistan during the war, gone on safari in the Serengeti, and white-water rafted down the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. But Abbamonte’s favorite travel moment was summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his best friend.
Abbamonte’s time in each sovereign nation has lasted from one day to six months. He has lived in Europe, Africa, and Australia, but despite recently checking off Libya, the 305th nation on his list, there are still 16 places Abbamonte has yet to see. Still on the to-do list are Greenland, where he will go in June, and Antarctica, which Abbamonte will visit this winter. So what does it cost to see the world? Abbamonte estimates he has spent $250,000 traveling.
Along the way, Abbamonte has also had some amazing food. As he closes in on his latest record, the globe-trotting traveler shares in his own words his top 10 food vacations to take, and some travel tips. After all, he’s eaten nearly everywhere.