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Half The World Conquered!

On my last trip featuring Monaco, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, I reached a important milestone in my life’s ambition of traveling to every country.

I’ve now officially visited half the countries in the world!


Here’s me in the Swiss Alps celebrating  the moment.

98: Switzerland. I’ve now visited half the countries in the world

A video posted by Mark Zolo (@naughtynomad) on

I’ve now been to 99 out of 196 countries.

(Although Taiwan, Kosovo, and Palestine are not one of the 193 UN members—due to security council vetos by China, Russia, and the USA, respectively—most of the world consider them independent states.)

Here’s a map of all the countries I’ve visited so far.

amChartsAside from that, I’ve also visited Antarctica and several unrecognized, de-facto states. All of these have their own border controls and governments.

List of Rogue States I’ve visited

  • Somaliland (Formally Northern Somalia)
  • Transnistria (Formally Eastern Moldova)
  • Abkhazia (Formally West Georgia)
  • Ngoro Kharabakh (Formally West Azerbaijan)
  • The Northern Turkish Republic of Cyprus (Formally north Cyprus)

For those interested, I also did some short videos for Monaco (where I got robbed) and Liechtenstein below. Follow me on Instagram for more updates like this.

Country 97: Manaco

A video posted by Mark Zolo (@naughtynomad) on

Country 99: Liechtenstien

A video posted by Mark Zolo (@naughtynomad) on

Why did I decide on this goal?

In my first book, I told the story of having unprotected sex with a woman in Uganda who told me she had HIV afterwards. I was only 20 at the time, and the three months I had to wait to get tested were some of the most stressful of my life.

During that time I had to ask myself some hard questions.

If I had only 10-20 years left of my life, what would I do with it?

Forget about family, a mortgage, or a career. I’d have to make the most of the time I had left. Contemplating this, the answer to my question become immediately clear: I would travel the world and experience everything it had to offer.

Thankfully, I was blessed with a clean bill of health, but nonetheless that mindset remained, and over the next couple of years I travelled like a mad man, often visiting 12-15 countries a year.

The Next Chapter

It was only when I was around 27 and discovered the New York City underworld did I decide to slow down. I realized I was not going to die, and didn’t want to run out of the world too fast. I wanted to soak it up and enjoy the ride. So right now I’m stacking cash to provide for my future, living in the sunny Mediterranean.

I intend on travelling the rest of the world over the next decade, but for the next two years I’m going to continue working hard. I will be travelling here and there (I’m going to Iceland next month, for example), but a return to the grand adventures of my youth spanning several months will have to wait.

But worry not, Naughty Nomad readers, I have a few surprises up my sleeve…

15 Responses to Half The World Conquered!

  1. dc August 28, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    Wow, you’ve been to 99 countries but not Mexico, Colombia, or Brazil? Priorities, bro. It will be easy to rack up a lot more countries in latin america.

    • damien August 31, 2016 at 12:35 am #

      You should definitely do Brazil, Colombia & Mexico before hiiting your 30’s. Try to live in those countries

      • Mark Zolo September 6, 2016 at 9:53 am #

        I’m just about to hit 30. Going hit Colombia in the next year though.

  2. SamSkelly August 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    How many flags are you at now- is it near parity with countries visited?

  3. splooge August 28, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

    nice. from iceland you should make an americqs run. from greenland to fapkland islams. surprised you never hit brazil.
    you should hit vancouver for its nature n weed.

  4. splooge August 28, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

    *americas,falklands islands

  5. Ali S August 29, 2016 at 3:35 am #

    You thought you’d have 10-20 years to live with a HIV diagnosis? What are you living in – the 1960s? Traveling the world is an admirable goal, but you might want to brush up on some basic medical knowledge. With proper anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) someone with HIV can live pretty much like a normal person (only a higher risk of infections in your life) – just don’t have unprotected sex with lots of people.

  6. Zack August 29, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    Dude, how have you not been to Canada yet. You would love it there. Way better than the states..

    • Mark Zolo August 29, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

      I’m visiting next summer. Both my brothers will be living there.

      • splooge August 30, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

        cool, you should hit all parts since they are different to each other from the super nice noofies and snooty frenchies to the egotistic torontoians and redneck albertans to nature loving stoners in vancouver.
        prairies suck btw.

  7. Brian Mark October 2, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    I’d like to see a post where you go through the countries you’ve traveled to.. I’m especially interested in the ones you did’t like and would never go back to and why? Also on the other end, I’d like to know your favorite countries and why.

    • Mark Zolo October 6, 2016 at 10:59 am #

      Sure thing.

  8. diogo casanova January 10, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    you should also count Vatican and Greenland as countries bringing the number of countries to 198

    • Mark Zolo January 11, 2017 at 9:25 am #

      I agree.

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