One of the youngest people to have visited all 193 countries in the world, Sal Lavallo, tells Winston Aldworth what he's learned in his travels.

1 All humans desire connection

People love to identify with one another and find similarities. We think people from other countries are completely alien, but then you find you can talk about sports, music, family, food.

2 Everybody dances


I realised that everybody dances. I'm a big dancer, I love dancing. So it's fun for me when I'm travelling to see how people do it. It brings us all the same joy—it's a beautiful expression of human happiness. You can connect and there's no language barrier.

3 We're closed-minded

I also learned how closed-minded we can be. I'm constantly surprised at what I didn't know. The things we don't even know that we don't know are sometimes the most amazing things. In Peru, my favourite thing was the potato museum — I didn't know there were 5000 varieties of potato.

4 Don't confuse people and politics

There's a difference between the political view of places and the social view. Working in foreign policy, I understand that a government's perspective is not at all the social or cultural perspective. You can go to a place where you think they're going to hate you because of where you're from — and that's never the case. You might go to a place that you think negatively about — and that's where you'll meet the nicest people.

5 Attitude is everything

Every day we should wake up and ask ourselves: "What will make me happy?" Too often we do what we think we should do and not what we want to do. And travel is no different. People think they have to see the "must-see" destinations, or go to the places you're expected to go to. If you're a retiree, you don't have to go on a cruise, you can go hiking. If you're a young traveller, you don't have to be in a hostel — go to a resort, if you want. Enjoy!

Sal Lavallo is a G Adventures Wanderer.

Sal Lavallo in Cambodia. Photo / Sal Lavallo
Sal Lavallo in Cambodia. Photo / Sal Lavallo