“A STRANGER is a friend you have never met before.” It’s the motto of avid traveler and Danish Red Cross Goodwill Ambassador Torbjørn “Thor” C. Pederson who took it upon himself to visit every country in the world without flying, to do what no one else never done before.

His very first trip since the pandemic hit was to Palau, and on his way he sailed past Saipan on a ship with other sailors.

“Unfortunately, I was only able to see the beauty of Saipan from the ship I was on. It would be very nice to have a proper visit one day,” he said in an interview with Variety on Friday.

When asked what her message is for members of the CNMI community who dream of venturing out, even just to visit the other Commonwealth islands, Pederson shared a quote from the American author, human rights advocate. people with disabilities, political activist and public speaker Helen Keller:

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Pederson, who was born and raised in Denmark, added: “I grew up in a small village of around 1,200 people. Some of my classmates barely left the village, while others, like me, explored the world. Maybe for some it’s about being brave. But I suspect some people aren’t cut out for exploring. For me, there is a curiosity that I must satisfy. I must go and see what these islands have in store for me. Others will look at these islands and say, “It’s just more sand and ocean.” People know who they are. If they lack bravery, I refer to Helen Keller.

He attributes his wanderlust to his mother, whom he describes as the explorer and dreamer among his Scandinavian relatives.

“She was a tour guide on a volcanic island when the two met. She sparked my interest in nature, taking me for long walks in the forest and telling me about trolls and other supernatural beings. My mother introduced me to Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood and Ivanhoe when I was young. She took me traveling and told me that one day we would go around the world. She sparked my imagination and my desire for adventure. Yeah – I think we have to credit my mom,” he said with a smile.

Pederson said he learned a number of similarities between almost every country he visited.

“It’s funny, but almost every country has sayings or superstitions about knocking on wood or knocking on wood. I guess trees are almost magical because they start out very small and often grow to overtake most things, but in a peaceful and quiet way,” he said.

“Another element is hospitality and the desire to share the best with visitors. More often than not, I’ve found that people all over the world want to leave the best impression possible. As such, a guest will often get the best food, the best treatment, and see the best or nicest things. It’s so natural for most of us that we couldn’t imagine otherwise.

During his trip, Pederson has represented and promoted the Red Cross and makes it a point to travel on a shoestring.

Before arriving in Palau, the 195th country he has visited, he had also visited the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands just before the still raging Covid-19 pandemic hit the global community. .

He has visited 195 of the world’s 203 countries and will eventually set sail to visit the remaining eight countries on his list: Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Asked what he plans to do after he achieves his goal of visiting every country without flying, Pederson said: ‘When I get home I will go to sleep and rest for a month. . Then I’ll wake up and shave. My wife and I will see to visiting friends and families. Also try to start a family of our own. In time, I would like to write a book and pursue a career in motivation. And maybe I’ll go explore the world more.

To learn more about Pederson’s journey, visit www.onceuponasaga.dk or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and/or LinkedIn.