World travellers compete for most travelled people award

2010-06-10 09:05

There are people so dedicated to travelling the world they have

made it into a contest.

Members of the Most Travelled People club, founded five years ago,

are chasing the elusive goal of travelling to 872 destinations.

Currently in the lead with 819 destinations covered is the founder

of the group Charles A Veley, a former IT millionaire from Brooklyn, New


There is a clinical description for the condition Veley and others

who have made travelling into a competition have: Dromomania.

This is defined as

an uncontrollable impulse or desire to wander or travel.

Rene Stolle, a German member of Veley’s group said he didn’t have

this illness when he started his travels. The 36-year-old wanted a change.

“Supposedly, everyone carries the dream of travelling the world,”

Stolle said in an interview with the German Press Agency dpa.

“My life had hit a dead end back then,” he said, describing what

prompted him to take on the life of a vagabond back in 2004. He travelled for

nearly six years and now lives in Berlin.

“I never intended to be away for so long,” said Stolle, who

describes himself as a slow traveller. “Ultimately, I wanted to get an

impression of the countries.”

His approach to travel has turned him into a critic of the more

than 8 000 members of the Most Travelled People club. “The concept establishes

competition among travellers, but travelling should be about individual

experiences,” he says.

Veley is aware that the club has ignited a competitive situation

and he doubts anyone, including himself, will ever get through the whole


“We are always adding new places. And there are already some really

difficult places out there.

Like Scott Island, a New Zealand island toward

Antarctica; only six people have ever landed on it,” he told the Guardian


Therefore, no-one will ever reach all the destinations.

Most Travelled People requires a photograph, passport stamp or a

credit card receipt to verify a visit.

There have been arguments over what is meant by the word visit, but

Veley said just touching down while on a plane is not enough.

Stolle had his fill of adventure when he travelled from Japan to


He nearly got into bad accidents on two occasions, once when his

sailboat caught fire and he suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

Those were experiences, said Stolle, who is number 54 among Germans

on the list of Most Travelled People.

“Every country has beautiful and less beautiful sides,” said

Stolle, who spent about €6 000 (about US$7 400) per year while on his


One of the most beautiful beaches he spent time at was White Beach

in the Philippines. “To many people it is the most beautiful place on earth,” he


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