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INTERVIEW:
Romaine Welds, David Yang, and Odette Ricasa

December 21, 2022

Here you can meet Romaine from Jamaica, David from Taiwan, and Odette from The Philippines.
They’ve all just completed visiting all 193 UN Nations and were all the first in their countries to do so.

Welcome to another episode, recorded at The Extraordinary Travel Festival in Armenia two months ago. And in this one, you can meet Romaine from Jamaica, David from Taiwan, and Odette from the Philippines. They have just completed the 193 UN Nations list and were all the first in their country to do so.

Romaine Welds

Romaine Welds is Jamaican-born and raised, and he migrated to the US in 2007. This was, in fact, his first time flying and travelling to a foreign country. Currently, Romaine lives in San Francisco and works full-time with an American airline, which has enabled him to travel the world.

As a child, Romaine loved watching National Geographic shows, where he would dream himself away to far-away places. And never in a million years did he imagine that he would one day be accomplishing the goal of having visited all the countries in the world nor becoming the first Jamaican and Caribbean to do this.

His last country was Antigua & Barbuda, even though Hurricane Fiona postponed it for a few weeks. Fiona was a powerful storm that caused massive damage and disruption across the Caribbean in September 2022. She left a trail of destruction, causing widespread flooding, power outages, and infrastructure damage. And interrupted Romaine’s trip to Antigua & Barbuda.

More about Antigua & Barbuda

If you want to hear more about Romaine’s last country, I’ve done three episodes from there. It’s episodes 130-132 in your podcast app. Find them here.

David Yang 

Our second guest is 57-year-old, David Yang. He’s from Taiwan and has worked in International Business Development in the consumer electronics, video gaming, and toys industry. He visited many countries as part of his job.

He’s the first Taiwanese to travel to every country in the world, but he also lives in the US.

He started to work on his remaining countries around 2016 after meeting a fellow traveller who convinced him to go for them all. At the time, he had a third of the countries to go to and completed the goal in July this year.

Now he’s working on a new goal – to complete 300 of Travel Century Club’s list, and right now, he has about 19 left.

The official TCC list of countries and territories has a total of 330 as of January 2022. So, I guess that he will go for the complete list after the 300.

Odette Ricasa 

The last “193 baby” is 77-year-old Odette Ricasa, who became the first Filipino to travel to all the countries in the world as she arrived in her last UN country, Iraq, in August 2022. She also finished visiting all seven continents back in 2015.

She’s an active member of the “Philippine Global Explorers” travel community, where she heads the US West Coast chapter, and also a successful artist with over one hundred paintings, a motivational speaker, a talented piano player, and an author of six travel books.

Odette has been travelling a lot longer than the two gentlemen at the table.

Voice message From a Listener

I got a voice message from a listener, Steven Ramsey, an American who lives in Bandung, Indonesia. He tells me he listens to The Radio Vagabond while driving around on his scooter.

Thank you so much, Steven. Great to hear that I’m with you on your scooter. I hope you’re not getting confused listening to an episode where I’m walking around in an area with a lot of traffic. It might make you look over your shoulder if there’s the sound of a big truck or a horn in the episode. I don’t want to be responsible for any accidents. So, please be safe.

But it’s also what I do when I’m driving around on a scooter here on Koh Lanta, Thailand, where I am right now.

I just take my Bluetooth headset and stick them in my ears before putting on the helmet. I can use Google Maps to give me directions so I know where to make the right turns.

Actually, I started doing this when I was in Indonesia. Not in Bandung but on Bali.

And I’m sorry to say that that’s the only place in Indonesia I’ve been to so far. I’m sure many people would say that you haven’t really been to Indonesia if you’ve only been to Bali. It’s like, I get a little bit bummed when I hear of people who have to Denmark and have only been to Copenhagen. There’s so much more to see…

I really want to explore more of Indonesia, and I will take you up on a visit when I do. 

I was curious about how an American ended up living in Bandung, Indonesia – and not in Bali like so many other American nomads I know. It’s a long story that I’m going into right now. But Bandung, Indonesia, is now on my list, so I can visit him and get that story.

I enjoy hearing from you guys, so if you also want to send me a voicemail, scroll down to the bottom. Here you’ll see a little button saying, “SEND VOICE MESSAGE”. There’s also my WhatsApp number, so feel free to send me a voice message with WhatsApp – as Steven did.

If you prefer to write, you can also go to the contact form on TheRadioVagabond.com/contact and write me a message there.

Either way, please let me know what you’re doing right now as you listen to these words.

Follow the 193 Babies

You can follow Romaine on Instagram as @TravelingTheWorldWithRomaine, David Yang is best found on Facebook, and here is a link to Odette’s books.

Next on The Radio Vagabond 

On Sunday, I get to meet another one of my heroes, and this time one that I’d been following for years. Paul Barbado, aka Barbs from Geography Now.

Every time I’m going to a new place, I put on the episode he has from that country, so I get a lot of background on the place I’m going. You can start looking forward to hearing my conversation with Barbs – on Christmas Day.

But you’ll hear from me again already in two days in our Flashback Friday episode when we go to a mosque in Dubai. And then, maybe a new diary entry about my life right now on Saturday. Yes, I started doing a new type of episode where I speak for 10 minutes about what I’m doing right now. I did the first one on Saturday. Please find it in your podcast app.

My name is Palle Bo. See you.

SPONSOR

A special thank you to my sponsor, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world.

Hotels25 scans for prices on the biggest and best travel sites (like Booking.com, Hotels.com, Agoda and Expedia) in seconds. It finds deals from across the web and put them in one place. Then you just compare your options for the same hotel, apartment, hostel or home and choose where you book.

When you book with Hotels25, you get access to 5,000,000 hotel deals. And it’s “best price guaranteed.”

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