He wants the whole world under his feet.
Manhattan travel addict Sal Lavallo is gearing up for the biggest journey of his life — a tour of 18 countries on five continents that would make him the youngest Amerian to visit all 195 nations on Earth.
“I want to bang out all the countries in one epic trip before my 27th birthday,” Lavallo said of his planned summer sojourn.
If all goes according to plan, Lavallo will unseat Lee Abbamonte, who was named the youngest globetrotter by Travelers Century Club at age 32.
He’ll need nine visas and a fistful of maps.
“It’s going to be a lot, but I have a good feeling I can get it done,” he said.
The native Indianan and NYU grad hopes to first zip to Cuba and then to the South Pacific for Fiji and Tuvalu. Next is Europe for Andorra, Sweden, Ireland and Denmark, followed by the Middle East, where he’ll check off Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Bhutan, Syria and Iran. He’ll close out the tour in Africa, with stops in Libya, Algeria, South Sudan, Malta, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Iran will be tough, because of the recent travel ban.
“I’ll need to go to Iran’s Kish Island. Since it’s a tourist destination, it’s easier to visit,” Lavallo said.
Lavallo was even able to infiltrate the Hermit Kingdom for six days last year.
In North Korea, “all I wanted was an ice cream cone since everyone was eating one, but I could never have one,” he said. Americans are forbidden to use local currency there.
His wanderlust was ignited 12 years ago, at age 14, when his dad took him to Japan and China.
“Since then, I’ve been addicted to turning what I’ve learned about a place into firsthand experiences,” he said.
One of his most memorable encounters was meeting a monster in Gambia.
“I turned around and saw this red creature sharpening huge machetes,” he recalled. “My friend told me it was ‘The Devil,’ and I had to pay him money to make him go away.” Turns out it was a local tradition where a masked dancer collects money in celebration of a baby’s circumcision.
Lavallo, who previously worked as a consultant for a management company in Abu Dhabi and now lives in Murray Hill, saves cash by staying with friends and incorporating work with travel.
“People always ask me, ‘How can you afford to do it?’ I tell them the more people you know, the better.”
To earn the title of youngest globetrotter, Lavallo will need to show passport stamps and plane tickets as proof to travel communities including Travel Century Club, MostTraveledPeople.com and BestTraveledPeople.com.
If all committees agree on the authenticity, he’ll join a select club of about 100 people who’ve been all over the world.
“My goal is to not only inspire people to travel, but to see all the beauty in the world,” he said.
Travel junkie sets out to make history on epic journey – New York Post