Modern Times Opportunities
Toby & Friends
"Covid Refugees"

"Covid Refugees"

And other stories from a 200+ countries world traveler.

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Aitutaki (Cook Islands). Photo by Julius Silver on Pixabay

Traveling the world.

A dream many have and one which (thanks to a period of unprecedented wealth, open borders and global opportunities) has come true for some of us as well.

In this podcast my guest is a very avid traveler who has visited every country as defined by the UN plus many disputed ones and some 48 “dependent” territories.

His insights after traveling well over 200 countries (some even as a young family) are as invaluable as they are intriguing.

Tudor collected maps from his early childhood on, so I guess the “travel bug” was instilled at a very early age. Today he has been taking on a number of high profile cases as the leading human rights lawyer in New Zealand, some of which he shares about here on Substack occasionally:

Humbling Journeys

When you listen to the Podcast, you’ll realize it wasn’t only Tudor’s passionate collection of maps that made him curious about the world out there. In fact, just like many of us, he had a real stroke of fate when his house burnt down after which he decided to take a sabbatical and use that time to go around and learn things. So if you’ve lost or sold something and are in need of a new perspective, why not hit the road for some time?

Tudor tells his story in a way I can relate to. A country like New Zealand is so versatile and beautiful, that you almost never want to leave. I know, having lived there for over a decade. But once you venture out, how much of the world is just enough?

And when the travel advisory says “don’t go there”, where does excitement end and danger begin? Once you’ve mastered the skills to put your most valuable things in a backpack, how to know when and where to settle down (yet) again?

Almost everyone I met during my own travels had a number of humbling moments to share and so did Tudor. Starting with hiding valuables in 5* hotels but subsequently preferring private guest rooms and backpacking without wearing brands or jewelry, the best experiences almost always come from mingling with locals.

Key Insights

I hope you will listen to the entire podcast, but if you want to skip ahead to the “Covid Refugees” story (which is very different from what you would typically assume of the title), you can skip ahead to 30:00 onwards.

Otherwise you’ll learn and hear about aspects such as:

  • How our differences vanish when we meet people heart to heart and face to face;

  • That stray dogs can be more dangerous than even politics;

  • How to best stay in touch when traveling around and tap into the community;

  • Catching the difference between a genuinely curious person you don’t know vs. someone just trying to sell you something;

  • Various travel hacks, e.g.

    • how to hack air fares and pay 50% or less (i.e. using miles),

    • how to find ways in and out of countries with less know airlines (i.e. using tools such as FlightRadar24,

and many more.

My Learnings

More than two decades ago I asked another globetrotter about how people around the world are different. I was thinking of culture, behavior, habits, etc. — but his answer was simple:

“people are people” and “everyone has a challenge”.

I was glad that more than 20 years later and after having traveled a fair bit myself, Tudor reaffirmed this simple mantra.

Not only that, with him traveling internationally through a time of global craziness when most of the world was still in lockdowns, I found his views (e.g. on how politically motivated fear can easily be used against people to make them stop thinking) refreshing and valuable.

The questions arising from such observations if such crazy things (God forbid) happened again, are obvious:

  • Where would we go?

  • What would we do?

  • How would we be independent, perhaps even “free”?

  • What’s the value of “real” estate if it ain’t mobile?

Perhaps freedom of movement is more valuable than any of the above combined.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate and have a great start in the new week!

My very best,


Modern Times Opportunities
Toby & Friends
"If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room." Taking Confucius' wise words to heart, the idea of this podcast series is to exchange with (smarter) friends in a virtual campfire session, without sponsorship and no particular agenda, but in the true spirit of polymathic learning, simply by sharing knowledge and thus coming up with new solutions to the most pressing problems of Modern Times.
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