The runaway who travelled the world

The runaway who travelled the world

Despite having little money, he's the second most travelled person on the planet

Although he's ranked the world's #2 on The Best Traveled website, 62-year-old Barcelona native Jorge Sanchez insists that he is nothing like the other competitive travellers.

He comes from a poor background, dropped out of school at 13, and has been on the move ever since, working sporadically in low-paying jobs on farms in Australia, New York restaurants, gold mines in Peru and dozens of other places.

But despite all that, he's managed to travel to all 193 countries recognised by the United Nations, and to every region of most of the world's countries.

He's done this by using his charm and ingenuity, and relying on the kindness of strangers.

He has slept under bridges in India, in telephone booths in China, up a tree in Brazil, inside a morgue in Liechtenstein, in prisons in Colombia, Paraguay, Georgia and Afghanistan - where he was mistaken for a spy - and as a pilgrim in houses of worship representing every major world religion.

Sanchez's philosophy is simple. He sees travel as a pilgrimage, a quest for knowledge and learning.

He says that if one wants to understand the world, one must see it. But he also believes that every great traveller must also know when it is time to go home.

Q: You ran away from home at 13, leaving a note for your parents that you were off to Western Sahara?

Yes, I left home when I was 13 and caught a boat from Barcelona to Mallorca. By the time I arrived in the Canary Islands, I was 14.

My father worked for the gas and electricity company; we had no car. They were poor. I looked at my dad's atlas at night and I knew that I wanted to explore the world.

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