8. ETIC Marquetalia – Colombia 2020
7. ETIC Principality of Sealand 2019
6. ETIC Baghdad 2018
5. ETIC Liberland 2017
4. ETIC Mogadishu 2017
3. ETIC Anabar 2016
— ETIC Gaza 2015
2. ETIC Grozny 2014
1. ETIC Munich 2008
8. ETIC Marquetalia – Colombia 2020
7. ETIC Principality of Sealand 2019
6. ETIC Baghdad 2018
5. ETIC Liberland 2017
4. ETIC Mogadishu 2017
3. ETIC Anabar 2016
— ETIC Gaza 2015
2. ETIC Grozny 2014
1. ETIC Munich 2008
Dear former Extreme Travelers,
We cannot cross country borders for several months – or maybe more!
The overreaction to a virus has destroyed the very essence that defines us.
Unfortunately it came to my attention that a few among us parrot official propaganda, like
Already previously have I expressed my discontent about so-called “extreme travelers” who watch too much television and who travel to “see” in foreign countries exactly what the media had programmed them to see (especially in “official rogue states” like Iran, Syria, North Korea). But now, after the COVID-1984 regime has taken control, their gullibility through TV has reached a clinical dimension. As a result, all the rest of us have to endure a forceful contagion: the cure from Corona is now much more harmful than the disease.
While any individual is of course free to stay at home, to wear a face mask, and to practice “social distancing” voluntarily (when it’s compulsive it’s autism, and when it’s mandatory it’s called apartheid), however it is completely and utterly un-acceptable for anyone to demand or enforce such un-freedom against all of us, against you, against me, or against any other person without symptoms. The 40 days of Quarantine, isolation on little islands, originally invented for ship crews carrying the plague from Crimea to Venice, were always meant for the sick, and not for the healthy.
The current coronation of the virus, as a dictator over all humanity, is completely against the spirit of us “extreme travelers”, it is against our fundamental human rights, and against all known country constitutions – which were hard fought for by our ancestors, in order to protect us citizens from an abusive state!
As bonafide extreme travelers, we must strongly protest the COVID-1984 regime, because it tramples on our highest values: the freedoms of movement and of association, among others.
Can we really call ourselves “extreme travelers”, if we are not able to cope with the risk of a Common Flu? (290.000 to 650.000 deaths globally p.a.)
Imagine the Cojones that Columbus or Joseph Conrad had, in comparison to “us”.
I’m not saying that there is no Corona, no, this virus with the characteristical crown around its nucleus (see London Olympics 2012 video below) has been a known cause of respiratory disease and flu since its discovery in 1960, by David Tyrrell, who worked at the Common Cold Unit of the British Medical Research Council. Like every virus, the current Corona version is a mutation. (No consensus yet if natural or man-made.) That’s why there can hardly ever be an effective vaccine for flu viruses.
The good news is, we have our own individually controllable immune systems, and as a group we automatically develop herd immunity after some time (but much slower if we are locked inside). Like any average flu, this year’s Corona wave has so far killed about 206.000 people globally.
Personally, I know one current Coronavirus casualty (aged 77), and two (aged 51 and 39) with symptoms. But most people don’t know anyone with Corona personally at all. How about you?
It’s fair to say, without television this #scamdemic wouldn’t exist.
But even if there was indeed a much, much bigger Pandemic 2 in the future (natural or man-made), this must never be allowed as an excuse to let governments – with their inherent attraction to authoritarianism and corruption – freak out on a boot kicking spree. And worse: on forceful chipping, quantum dot tattooeing and tracking of all “their” taxpayers with nano-tech RFID chips, surveilled by a 5G grid. That’s exactly what the COVID-1984 regime is trying today.
But to stay within our little eco-system: how can it be that an “extreme traveler” wishes to lock down his travel mate, in an apartheid regime, wearing a muzzle, his opposing views censored in all media, and snitched on by his neighbours? That is the real sickness out there.
Sunny and healthy regards to all of you bonafide “extreme travelers”,
Kolja Spori, Founder, ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress
P.S.: For those who seek qualified background information, please google Event 201, ID2020.org, GAVI, Aadhaar, Rockefeller Foundation Scenario Lock Step, Contagion Live 2019, World Bank Pandemic Bonds, Microsoft Crypto Body Mining (these all link to their original websites/documents, not to third party comments!)
And please forget political distraction like “Trump said …”, “Republicans vs. Democrats” or “USA vs. China”.
Colombian Extreme Traveler Jack Goldstein opened the 8. ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress 2020 at his own hotel
Lancaster House in Bogota, www.LancasterHouse.com.co
The evening was attended by the heads of the UN-VMC (United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia), the leadership of FARC (Fuerzas Alternativas Revolucionarias del Comun, now a political party), the ARN (Agency for Re-Incorporation & Normalisation), the Ministry of Tourism, several media, other Colombian dignitaries, a Hollywood documentary production, and 36 of the most extreme travelers, who flew in purposely, from as far as Azerbaijan, Siberian Russia, Finland, Singapore or HongKong, and many other countries.
Two leaders of FARC, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, former fighter name “Timochenko”, and Martin Cruz Vega, former fighting name “Rubin Morro”, with event hosts & organisers Sandy Cohen and Jack Goldstein.
Timochenko brought his dog (Queenie) instead of Lenin’s cat, for a picture with US extreme traveler Gina.
ETIC Dinner with UN Colombia Head Carlos Ruiz Massieu, FARC Head Rodrigo Londoño Timochenko, Host Jack Goldstein, Co-Host Sandy Cohen, ETIC Founder Kolja Spöri, MTP Founder Charles Veley (left to right)
The official event polo shirt
Early next morning we all drove together on the new “Peace Road to Marquetalia”
Initially a 10 hours drive south-west
in a car escort, performed TOGETHER in a promising joint exercise by FARC,
and the Military !!! Additional thanks to several hundred government troops of Bataillon 18 who secured the mountains around Marquetalia.
We reached the end of the asphalt road in the small village of El Oso, where you can sense the revolutionary spirit of the past,
now officially the starting point for history & nature tourism in the area. We were the first foreign group in 55 years, and even the FARC leaders hadn’t been able to make it here, to their mythical founding republic, since 55 years.
The overwhelming credit for the event idea and execution goes to Jack Goldstein (right) – and then to Martin Cruz Vega (left), formerly known as “Rubin Morro”, who is now a politician and book author, and responsible for turning down the FARC arsenal of military weapons to the UN.
Welcome dances by the local Nasa indian community
a welcome presentation by local officials
and welcome drinks.
FARC today: a political player …
… and before: a feared war party (employing terror methods like kidnapping), until the Havana Peace Accord in 2016.
ETIC group foto in El Oso before climbing uphill to Marquetalia.
First in UAZ offroad vehicles
which were plenty of fun
then by horse,
and by foot,
a very steep
and slippery 6.5 kilometers,
sometimes in pouring rain (here: FARC Senator Victoria Sandino, center),
quite a challenge for our extreme travelers from age 17 (Ethan Avinami) to age 75 (Don Parrish),
all under the watchful eyes of the United Nations team leader Enrique Sanchez – and their UN drone.
Excellent cooperation with the UN-VMC United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.
Randy’s mobile phone fell off while on horseback – and was retrieved in a complex search & rescue operation.
All in all, the “Peace Road to Marquetalia” was a miraculous logistics operation, and a great success.
protected for us by the friendly Bataillon 18,
until we finally reached the hidden mountain plateau of Marquetalia (One of only two surviving founders of FARC, “Sergeant” Miguel Angel Pascuas aka “Black Death”, can be seen to the left, sitting in front of his tent, aged 79!)
The infamous remnants of the Battle of Marquetalia, where FARC had shot down two government helicopters in the early 60s, can also still be witnessed here.
FARC had set up our tent camp
complete with kitchen, basic sanitary facilities,
and a campfire where legendary rebel stories where shared in the evening.
FARC founder Manuel Marulanda’s famous hut, on top of Marquetalia, and today in the eye of a thunderstorm
Finally we also met FARCs most famous foreign member, the Dutch “Lara Croft” Tanja Nijmeijer (here pictured with extreme traveler and fellow Dutch B. Kester).
Tanja has a unique charisma (see above music video about FARC-founcer Manuel Marulanda). She resigned from FARC a day after our visit, after almost 20 years of fighting for – what she perceived to be – a good cause.
Back in Bogota, each and every participant received a certificate and now proudly feels like a hero, for having made the “Peace Road to Marquetalia”.
Jack Goldstein, Martin Cruz Vega, Extreme Traveler M. von Hassel.
This was an extreme adventure, even for the most extreme travelers. For a really good and ETICal cause: to strengthen the peace process in Colombia!
The friendly Colombian Deputy Minister of Tourism Constanza Olaya Cantor (left) also attended the awards
The leaders of the 3 systematic travel clubs, NomadMania: Harry Mitsidis, Most Traveled People: Charles Veley, and Travelers Century Club: JoAnn Schwartz, with ETIC conferencier Per Besson (left) and founder Kolja Spöri (right).
Farewell foto at the rooftop conference room of Hotel Lancaster House.
Our trip received quite a bit of local attention:
United Nations: El Turismo de Aventura llega a Marquetalia
IOM – Organización Internacional para las Migraciones: Expertos internacionales participan en expedición turística guiada por excombatientes en Marquetalia
Reliefweb: El Turismo de Aventura llega a Marquetalia
Alcaldía Municipal de Planadas Tolima: Alcalde Municipal Ing. Jhon Hueje acompaño el recibimiento de 35 extranjeros denominados viajeros extremos por el mundo
Hoy Diario del Magdalena: Extranjeros participaron en expedición guiada por excombatientes en Marquetalia
Caracol Radio: Le apuestan al turismo en el sur del Tolima
Red+ Noticias: Red+ Historias | Viaje al corazón de Marquetalia, por red+
Personal traveler blogs / reports:
Jack Goldstein: Hashavua Bogota: Shabad con Timochenko
Kari-Matti & Patrik: Maailmanmatkaajat: helmikuun kuukausikokous
Kolja Spori: Hosted in the FARC mountains: Marquetalia, Colombia
Kolja Spori in Doug Casey’s International Man: “What the FARC?”
View this post on Instagram
Haciendo Historia en Colombia. 36 de los top viajeros extremos del mundo nos embarcamos en una de las aventuras mas extremas: Hicimos la Ruta de Marquetalia y llegamos al punto donde se fundo las FARC, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, hace 55 años. Fuimos los primeros turistas en conocer e interactuar con los ex-combatientes. . Nos transportamos en buses con una delegacion de las Naciones Unidas, Bomberos, escoltas y prensa, desde Bogota, 10 horas hasta llegar al Oso. Ahi pasamos la noche. Al dia siguiente madrugamos, recogimos mochilas y carpas y nos dirigimos a Marquetalia, 2 horas en jeep por un camino de tierra y luego casi 3 horas a caballo y los mas valientes caminando, hasta llegar a la cima de la montaña donde todo comenzo y donde aun se mantien restos de un helicoptero caido. . En total incluyendo a los ex-combatientes, representantes de la alcaldia de Planadas, de la ONU, Gobierno, ejercito colombiano, bomberos, comunidad de Gaitania, el resguardo indigena Nasa, Red +Noticias, Netflix, eramos mas de 250 personas. Con el acuerdo de paz se esta creando un proyecto turistico, en conjunto con las Naciones Unidas, el Gobierno de Colombia y los ex-combatientes para que la gente pueda conocer estas areas que hasta hace 3 años eran de los sitios mas peligrosos del mundo #ViajandoConSandy . . . #visitandotodoslospaisesdelmundo🌍 #colombia #marquetalia #tolima #gaitania #viajera #viajes #travellife #travelgoals #instatravel #travelphotography #travel #traveltheworld #traveldiaries #travelgram #viaje #viajaresvivir #traveldestination #conociendoelmundo #panameñosporelmundo #panamatraveler #panamatravelers #panamatravellers #extremetravel #tcc #travelerscenturyclub #panameñosporelmundo🇵🇦 #viajerosdepanama #panameñasviajeras
[Fotos by Sandy Cohen, Martin Cruz Vega, Phillips Connor, Jimmy Gerum, Jack Goldstein, Thorsten Salaske, Randy Segler, own. I’ve lost track of ownership of fotos from our different whatsapp groups. If you feel you have not been credited correctly, or if your foto shouldn’t be here, please let me know. Thanks. More changes, fotos and videos to follow.]
The ETIC Awards 2020 were held at the Hotel Lancaster House Bogota, Colombia, on the occasion of the ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress in Bogota & Marquetalia.
João Paulo Peixoto and Charles Veley, for their daring trip to Aksay Chin
JoAnn Schwartz, as President and on behalf of the Travelers Century Club, for their longtime commitment to the community of systematic travelers
Jack Goldstein, Lancaster House Bogota, for his tremendous work and dedication to organise the programme and VIP list at the ETIC 2020 in Bogota & Marquetalia
by Kolja Spori
Gentleman Adventurer to the World’s 193 UN countries. Founder of ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress. Author of Bestseller “I’ve been everywhere”. BBC “Travel Pioneer”. His politically incorrect Travelblog: www.dangerzone.news.
The meaning of “sophistication” has its ancient roots in Greek: sophia = wisdom. In the days of classical beauty, wisdom was inherently linked to aesthetics, defined by rational order and harmonious proportions. This was in stark contrast to later medieval gothics (brought by Barbarians) or modern shard deconstructivism (by another tribe from the East), which has found its extreme in the dumbing down of so-called Western societies, a crude lumpen egalitarianism, sometimes referred to as cultural marxism.
Today’s Cambridge Dictionary defines “sophistication” as having a good understanding of the way people behave and a good knowledge of culture and fashion, having an understanding of the world and its ways, so that you are not easily fooled.
Let us apply this definition to travelers and analyse what makes them sophisticated. We take as common wisdom that “travel educates” – in and by itself. I disagree.
The majority of travelers I have met, see foreign lands entirely through the filter glasses of their homefront. Their worldview is shaped by government schools, hollywood actors, television programming, mainstream pressing, and the resulting illusion of “us being the good guys”. When they travel, they carry a life supply of brainwash shampoo with them. A backpack full of sheep’s wool over their eyes. And a dumbed-down uniform of sweatshop t-shirts, shorts and sandals that sores the eye of the beholder.
When in Grozny, their inner view is Amanpour’s “breaking news” on CNN, when in Beirut their inner compass follows Clooney in his movie “Syriana”, when in Tehran their inner voice is guided by Salman Rushdie or Betty Mahmoody, when in Moscow they go by the beliefs of Bill Browder or Anders Aslund – or by any other Western agitprop clown of the day.
While Mark Twain said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” Mozart rightfully countered: “A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not“.
Many contemporary words describe the ordinary traveler: hoi polloi, plebs, great unwashed, riffraff, tourist, NRT. However, the sophisticated traveler is as rare as a word for him. The Gallivanter or Sybarite or Gourmand are in the neighbourhood, but still not à point. Maybe the German word Weltmann comes closest.
Sophisticated travelers recognize each other from the outside, even from afar, just by their composure, their habitus (from French habit = suit), their luggage, and most important: the places they frequent.
The sophisticated traveler cultivates knowledge of places where sophisticated locals meet. An aura of quality is his universal passport. If he is in an unknown location, he will know a friend, or a friend of a friend, who will unlock this place’s secret gates. To be able to connect with interesting people is the greatest sophistication of all. It is almost by definition that such sophisticated gathering points are NOT mentioned in travel guides.
It is in such sophisticated realms where really privileged information about the world is exchanged, that the riffraff will never get the slightest sight of. Not only in terms of digesting higher gastronomy, but to deeply understand the local society, their economy, contemporary policy, and overarching history.
Sophistication is a small club, with unwritten rules. If you ask for the terms, you are Not Ritz Type. If you ask for the dress code, you are probably unwashed. If you need to ask for the price, you are a plebs who can’t afford it. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre! To really understand reality, to make the right decisions, to become your own sovereign, you require access, contacts and exposure. The key to most doors is your habitus.
The sophisticated traveler either carries minimum handluggage (still looking like a gentleman at all times) or, if not, has a chauffeured car full of monogrammed Goyard luggage following him (like Karl Lagerfeld did).
The sophisticated traveler wears at the minimum a collared (!) shirt, long trousers and covered leather shoes, however he tries to look prepared for any occasion, especially where and when the unspoken dress codes become important.
The sophisticated traveler is able to read faces and characters in any country and sift out the time wasters, confidence tricksters or ponzi schemers. He is acutely aware of the saying: “If you come to the poker table, and in 10 minutes don’t know who is the sucker, it’s probably you.”
The sophisticated traveler is able to read new places and social situations with experienced antennas to send & receive non-verbal messages that control his surroundings.
The sophisticated traveler speaks several languages, but most importantly lets his charisma speak through a congruence of inner beauty and outward appearance.
The sophisticated traveler will leave a lasting impression, a fond memory, a personal footprint, in most countries, and be welcomed back by his (new) local connections.
The sophisticated traveler is humble enough to treat others’ karma with respect, because he knows that flying too high will burn his wings, but he will always demand the respect he deserves. His natural leadership is what the cultural marxists try to destroy.
The sophisticated traveler is able to dig in his phonebook and find a number that gets him out of trouble almost anywhere.
The sophisticated traveler keeps in his pocket a fractional reserve that gets him out of trouble anywhere: a bundle of cash.
The sophisticated traveler navigates difficult regions with sophisticated helpers, like at the Mamba Point in Monrovia, the Acropolis in Khartoum, the former Gandamack Lodge in Kabul or the Separatist Café in Donezk.
For me, the following gentlemen are protagonists of sophistication in the scene of systematic travelers:
* Charles Veley (USA) is the spiritual father of all country collectors and has his own cocktail named after him at the Hemingway Bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
* Harald Buben (Austria) sells luxury watches and safes in more than 130 countries, has his own leather luggage and travel shoes handmade by Berluti, and a personal tailor in several sartorial capitals.
* Patrick Maselis (Belgium) reaches the world’s most remote and dangerous areas by jet and at the same time greets the local leaders in a tuxedo, as the former President of the Royal Philatelic Society, and now of the Club de Monte-Carlo.
* Jorge Weidinger (Germany) randomly meets heads of state or billionaires at clubs, hotels & restaurants and gets invited by them, just because of his unique personality.
* Jack Goldstein (Colombia) operates his own Hotel “Lancaster House” in Bogota, provides a gathering point for top travelers, and arranges meetings with interesting locals.
* Mads Brügger (Denmark) moves at ease in the most difficult places and uses Indiana Jones boots, colonial jackets and diplomatic passports to deeply enter West Africa’s corrupted world of “government business diplomacy” in his brilliant movie “The Ambassador”.
* The truly international Doug Casey (USA) not only writes about investment opportunities in the more than 140 countries he visited, for example in his pioneering book “The International Man”, he still analyses the state(s) of the world better than anyone else in his newsletter by the same name, and he is famous for fitting quotes such as
The annual ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress was created with the founder’s vision to connect “sophisticated travelers, without one-upmanship, sharing their way of life and a deep understanding of the world.”
I want to end my essay, or start my final appeal to the hoi polloi, with a poetic passage from Ethiopian Prince Asfa Wossen-Asserate’s book “Manners” (Manieren, 2004), pondering about NRTs:
“If you arrive at the Ritz Madrid in the afternoons, you may be lucky enough to find elegant people drinking tea in the hall, small old-style tea companies with large, silver teapots and English biscuits. This is a moment when the hotel lives in harmony with its guests. Otherwise it is here as everywhere: Between the style of the house and that of its guests not only a crack, but a quite wide crevasse has opened. … Hotel owner Georges Marquet was still in contact with a clientele who thanked him for maintaining strict etiquette and willingness to submit to it. Men without a tie and women without pants were not allowed to enter the dining room until the 1970s. But such a rejection in the realm of Marquets was already considered a failure of his system. Under his direction, personages you did not want to see in the hotel were called ‘NRT’, ‘Not Ritz Type’. … Let’s take a close look at the cruel reality: In the dining room of the Ritz … not only men with bare necks are sitting today, but also in shorts. Yes, short pants. I’ve been trying to understand what drives people to put themselves in the rut and pay a high bill if the image they want to see is so little worth it that they destroy it without hesitation through their own performance.“
The ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress was held for the 7th time in 2019, at the Principality of Sealand.
An exclusive group of 25 of the world’s most extreme travelers flew in, all the way from Japan, Thailand, Russia, the USA and Europe, … … to meet at The Pier Hotel in Harwich / Essex – and to travel from there to one of the most exotic countries on earth: Sealand.
The Principality of Sealand was founded in 1967 on a WW2 Artillery Platform off the coast of Harwich, initially as a pirate radio station, and in 1975 as a sovereign nation by Roy Bates, Prince of Sealand, and his wife, Princess Joan. Their country is just as legitimate as its larger neighbour, The Democratic Kingdom of Great Britain.
Sealand government procedures were professional and efficient. A prior visa is required (Fotos: Wikipedia).
After a stormy Saturday with force 8 winds, the founder’s grandsons Prince James (left) and Prince Liam (center) met ETIC co-organiser Per Besson on a sunny Sunday morning.
Group safety instructions with Russia’s most famous traveler Artemy Lebedev (center, hair and shirt in perfect ETIC colors) …
… for a 30 minute boat ride
… to Sealand’s territorial waters
… approaching further
until the country name on the platform could be seen from the waterline.
Every participant had to be winched up.
Quite the adventure.
German extreme traveler MvH onboard Sealand.
The second group is having fun en route …
… and on the Sealand helipad (Fotos courtesy of Michael Runkel)
from the Principality
A unique country visit ! We were the only “tourist group” ever to set foot on Sealand, and will probably remain so, because of Sealand’s highly restrictive visa regulations.
The Presidents of the 3 major Systematic Travel Clubs, JoAnn Schwartz (TCC, center), Charles Veley (MTP, center left), and Harry Mitsidis (NMM, center right), together with ETIC organisers Kolja Spori (left) and Per Besson (right) at the ETIC Dinner.
The traditional ETIC Dinner at The Pier Hotel was a good opportunity to get to know each other better, and to exchange travel stories, tips & tricks. (Foto: Ric Gazarian)
Ric Gazarian (left) received the ETIC “Extreme Traveler of the Year” AWARD 2019 in the category COMMUNITY for his unique and widely distributed podcast programme Counting Countries. Harry Mitsidis (center) and Joao Paulo Peixoto (right) listen attentively.
Harry and JPP were awarded by ETIC in two categories, CURIOSITY and COURAGE, for their daring and pioneering trip to Kismaayo and Garowe in Somalia. (Foto: Ric Gazarian)
Our thanks for making this visit possible go to the President of Liberland, Vit Jedlicka, and the President of the Royal Philatelic Society, Patrick Maselis !!
Personal trip reports published after the group event:
by Harry Mitsidis: nomadmania.com/newsletter/ 2019-06-21
by Ric Gazarian: globalgaz.com/visiting-principality-sealand/
Podcast “live from the ETIC Sealand” as part of the “Counting Countries” series:
by Ric Gazarian: globalgaz.com/live-from-sealand
The ETIC Awards 2019 were held at The Pier Hotel in Harwich, Essex, UK, on the occasion of the ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress at the Principality of Sealand.
Ric Gazarian received the ETIC “Extreme Traveler of the Year” AWARD 2019 in the category COMMUNITY for his unique and widely distributed podcast programme Counting Countries.
Harry Mitsidis (left) and Joao Paulo Peixoto (right) were awarded in both categories CURIOSITY and COURAGE for their daring and pioneering trip to Kismaayo and Garowe in Somalia.
The three ETIC Award Winners in 2019
The Presidents of the 3 major Systematic Travel Clubs, JoAnn Schwartz (TCC, center), Charles Veley (MTP, center left), and Harry Mitsidis (NMM, center right), together with ETIC organisers Kolja Spori (left) and Per Besson (right) at the ETIC Award Dinner.