Inspiring Tales Beyond 193
The Road to Everywhere doesn’t stop at the UN. Most travelers’ wildest adventures are yet to come. MTP Founder Charles Veley, who completed his UN list in 2003, shares some of his most memorable travel stories from the 20 years since then – with tips for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps. Charles has pushed the limits of travel – traveling to far flung places like Franz Josef Island, Bouvet Island, and Clipperton Island.
Charles Veley has been called “The Godfather of Systematic Travel”. Charles began traveling to study languages, and later on founded Most Traveled People (MTP) after completing 193 and the TCC list. He needed a new travel list to challenge himself and other extreme travelers. Charles lives in San Francisco and has three children.
I founded MTP in 2005, after realizing that there was no system of record available for competitive travelers. I had recently surpassed the great John Clouse on the now-defunct Guinness list of countries and territories, but both Guinness and TCC had said they were incapable of tracking people’s travels. So as a software developer in a previous life, I established MTP. From 2000-2003, I was on the road full-time, systematically trying to visit every location on the TCC list (the UN list never held much interest to me, since I had visited both Tahiti and Paris at age 19, and recognized the UN list was not comprehensive). My first daughter was born in 2003, my son in 2005, and my second daughter in 2008. As they came online, I had to travel less and less, and eventually go back to work to support them. I still travel as much as I can, however, and hope to return to serious travel again once they are grown. For the 10 years prior to 2000, I lived on the road about 75% of the time while helping to build MicroStrategy from 10 employees to over 1000. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the business during that time was our expansion into new countries, and meeting and hiring people from new markets. Also, one of my annual responsibilities starting in 1993 was to gather all employees each January for our planning meetings, which took place over 7 days on a Caribbean cruise! By the time of my departure, we were chartering very large cruise ships. My family couldn’t afford to take me many places as a child, and my first travel to speak of was in the late 1980’s around the South Pacific under the pretext of a semester abroad in Australia (for which I never found time to register!). When I left the US Air Force in 1988, I spent the next several months on trains and buses criss-crossing Western Europe, and was hooked on travel!