ETIC – History of Events

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8. ETIC Marquetalia – Colombia 2020

ETIC Sealand Collage

7. ETIC Principality of Sealand 2019

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6. ETIC Baghdad 2018

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5. ETIC Liberland 2017

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4. ETIC Mogadishu 2017

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3. ETIC Anabar 2016

(postponed)

— ETIC Gaza 2015

Grozny, Chechnya, Caucasus, Russia

2. ETIC Grozny 2014

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1. ETIC Munich 2008

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ETIC 2020: Marquetalia

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Colombian Extreme Traveler Jack Goldstein opened the 8. ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress 2020 at his own hotel

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Lancaster House in Bogota,  www.LancasterHouse.com.co

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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.

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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.

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Timochenko brought his dog (Queenie) instead of Lenin’s cat, for a picture with US extreme traveler Gina.

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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)

 

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The official event polo shirt

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Early next morning we all drove together on the new “Peace Road to Marquetalia”

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Initially a 10 hours drive south-west

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in a car escort, performed TOGETHER in a promising joint exercise by FARC,

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the Police,

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and the Military !!! Additional thanks to several hundred government troops of Bataillon 18 who secured the mountains around Marquetalia.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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Welcome dances by the local Nasa indian community

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a welcome presentation by local officials

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and welcome drinks.

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FARC today: a political player …

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… and before: a feared war party (employing terror methods like kidnapping), until the Havana Peace Accord in 2016.

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ETIC group foto in El Oso before climbing uphill to Marquetalia.

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First in UAZ offroad vehicles

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which were plenty of fun

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then by horse,

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and by foot,

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a very steep

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and slippery 6.5 kilometers,

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sometimes in pouring rain (here: FARC Senator Victoria Sandino, center),

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quite a challenge for our extreme travelers from age 17 (Ethan Avinami) to age 75 (Don Parrish),

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all under the watchful eyes of the United Nations team leader Enrique Sanchez – and their UN drone.

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Excellent cooperation with the UN-VMC United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.

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Randy’s mobile phone fell off while on horseback – and was retrieved in a complex search & rescue operation.

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All in all, the “Peace Road to Marquetalia” was a miraculous logistics operation, and a great success.

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Beautiful landscapes

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protected for us by the friendly Bataillon 18,

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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!)

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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.

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FARC had set up our tent camp

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complete with kitchen, basic sanitary facilities,

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and a campfire where legendary rebel stories where shared in the evening.

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FARC founder Manuel Marulanda’s famous hut, on top of Marquetalia, and today in the eye of a thunderstorm

Tanja Nijmeijer with Boris Kester

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.

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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”.

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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!

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The friendly Colombian Deputy Minister of Tourism Constanza Olaya Cantor (left) also attended the awards

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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).

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Farewell foto at the rooftop conference room of Hotel Lancaster House.

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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

El Cronista: Expertos internacionales participan en expedición turística guiada por excombatientes de las Farc en Marquetalia

El Nuevo Dia: Extranjeros participaron en expedición guiada por excombatientes en Marquetalia

Hoy Diario del Magdalena: Extranjeros participaron en expedición guiada por excombatientes en Marquetalia

MSN Noticias: Timochenko: Ruta turística en Marquetalia donde nacieron las Farc

Las 2 Orillas: La aventura de 36 viajeros millonarios al antiguo territorio Farc

Caracol Radio: Le apuestan al turismo en el sur del Tolima

W Radio: Marquetalia fue el viaje mas interesante de mi vida

Red+ Noticias: Especial | Memorias de Marquetalia, viaje a la cuna de las Farc

Red+ Noticias: Red+ Historias | Viaje al corazón de Marquetalia, por red+

ARN Colombia: Expertos internacionales participan en expedición turística guiada por excombatientes en Marquetalia

 

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

 

Instagram:

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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

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96 horas con farc. ~link in bio~

A post shared by ethan avinami (@e.avin) on

 

[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.]

 

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ETIC 2020 Awards

ETIC Award 2020-1

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.

Category COURAGE:

João Paulo Peixoto and Charles Veley, for their daring trip to Aksay Chin

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Category COMMUNITY:

JoAnn Schwartz, as President and on behalf of the Travelers Century Club, for their longtime commitment to the community of systematic travelers

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Category COMMUNITY:

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

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Chickenvalley, a rubber duck, and the dumbest traveler

This is a real story, about connecting the false guys, about traveling with strange fellows, and about always moving on, with more wisdom (sophistication) in your backpack.

Some fellow travelers were interested in visiting the hard-to-reach country of South Ossetia, so I put them in touch with a well-connected German sports functionary, who then organised a goodwill group, visiting South Ossetia’s Independence Day celebrations in September 2019.

South Ossetia is a tiny nation state, surviving against the odds, while being locked out by their warring Georgian neighbors, unrecognised by most UN countries, and only accessible from Russia via a high-altitude mountain tunnel through the Caucasus.

In the country’s capital Thskhinval (in Ossetian) or Tskhinvali (in Georgian), also known as Chickenvalley among travelers, our little group of 12 was well looked after, and during the Independence Day road parade, they even had the opportunity to access the Presidential VIP-grandstand as foreign guests of honor.

Then it happened: one of our “well-traveled” persons, a US-American lawyer in his fifties, by the name of Harris L. suddenly approached and … bluntly asked the President of South Ossetia to pose for a foto with a yellow rubber duck.

What the duck???” we ask ourselves.

The President of South Ossetia was just as surprised, but the President of Donezk Peoples Republic, seated next, was not amused and immediately intervened. He knew exactly what the yellow rubber duck symbolically stands for: a foreign coup attempt, a Soros’ financed color revolution, a mass agitation tool (see fotos below). Especially in that part of the world.

Naturally, the local FBI (FSB) detained and interrogated the whole group of a dozen extreme travelers for half a day. At the end of the investigations, they generously decided that “Harris L. is dumb but not dangerous”. The security forces obviously hadn’t heard that Harris L. was mumbling to the others “I don’t care … my country will bomb the shit out of them.”

“A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not.” (Mozart)

Harris L. even boasted to his fellow travelers that he had ridiculed statues of President Kim in North Korea, or public posters of mullahs in Iran, and recently in Afghanistan he had fallen on his knees in front of Afghan soldiers, put their machine gun barrel to his forehead and begged “shoot me”. In all those cases, his fellow travelers were not amused. The guy was putting them at great risk in these moments. In South Ossetia he was also causing harm to the friendly hosts, the voluntary German guide, the co-travelers, all future tourists down the line, and to me.

What a psychopathic disrespect for the rest of the world!!!

Let’s imagine Harris L. would have done something similarly stupid in his home country (like waving with a Koran in front of the White House shouting “Allahuakbar”, or wiping the windscreen of a police car at traffic lights with a Stars & Stripes flag, or walking into a Californian Democrat meeting with a MAGA cap). Make no mistake. The crazy nut would be waterboarding in Guantanamo now, shot on the spot by US cops, or lynched by the triggered mob …

Lucky for Harris, those other countries’ societies are less aggressive than his own. And lucky for him, his own country’s leaders are more effectively shielded from, say, “embarassing selfies” with stained cocktail dresses, birth certificates or tax statements – or more serious rubber duck attempts.

Harris L. definitely deserves the inaugural “Dumb as Duck” Travel Award in 2019:

Harris Stupid as Duck Award

“Dumb as Duck”  Traveler

The best way to digest such embarrassing characters is good humour – and to sort them out before they cause stomach pain!

Kudos to the English harbour master in Harwich, at the previous ETIC in Sealand, who had singled out Harris L. in the embarkation line and shouted as a pre-emptive warning: “Hey! This guy is trouble! You are a troublemaker!” That was excellent people judgement, just based on Harris’ face & body language, an art form unknown to so many these days.

The reality in our scene of extreme travelers and country collectors is that we also attract social misfits, drop-outs, begpackers, and other borderline personalities, who flee from their lives and export a bad guy image. Some of them can’t even handle fork & knife, they dress like clochards and tend to always cause trouble. This is completely irrespective of having money or not. There is one systematic travel club who unfortunately promotes these characters and their (non-) intellectual milieu.

In my opinion, it is not only about the country count, but also about having an accomplished “worldmanly” personality, with class, courtesy, etiquette, care for peoples abroad, contributing to the travel community, and being good ambassadors of their home culture (where applicable).

“HOUSEKEEPING”

I am therefore distancing myself from the unruly members and will raise the bar to achieve a smaller, more sophisticated ETIC in the future. Introducing a club level within the club. A new name for the elite among the extreme. How does this sound?

‘The 193 SET’ – Sophisticated Extreme Travelers

Member requirements:

  • All 193 countries visited
  • One “unique” or “first” travel achievement
  • “Worldmanly” habitus, e.g. to get valet parking at Hotel de Paris, no matter the car

 

ETIC 193 EXTREME TRAVELER xs

P.S.:

In addition, I was now made aware that Harris L. has been disbarred (= lawyer license withdrawn) for the rest of his life by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, for embezzlement of client moneys (https://caselaw.findlaw.com/nj-supreme-court/1749624.html).

Holy duck!

 

Appendix:

This is the politically sensitive background of the “yellow rubber duck”

The yellow rubber duck stands for George Soros’ financed “regime change” plots, in particular in Eastern Europe, but also his “open society” activity in Canada, Brazil, China, etc.
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The symbol has been used extensively by his son Alexander Soros (google alex soros rubber duck).
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Instagram hashtag #rubbieduckielife – https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/rubberduckielife/
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Proof the Soros doc is legit at this link – https://www.instagram.com/p/BBQdk29qcWj/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
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Note the rubber duck in coffin of what appears to be an “Azov” battalion corpse (possibly a Georgian? see badge behind head)
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Who is the most sophisticated traveler?

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.

“We live in the age of the digitally dumbed-down masses” Peter Scholl-Latour

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 traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. … The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is, at last, to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”  G.K. Chesterton

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.

“Wherever you go, try to stay at the most famous hotel – even if you can afford only the smallest room!” Aristoteles Onassis

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

“Foreign aid is a transfer from poor people in rich countries, to rich people in poor countries.” Doug Casey

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.

This text was republished on Doug Casey’s International Man
and on Kolja Spori’s Dangerzone.News.

 

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ETIC 2019: Sealand

The ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress was held for the 7th time in 2019, at the Principality of Sealand.

_DSC9225(2)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, … P_20190608_163331… to meet at The Pier Hotel in Harwich / Essex – and to travel from there to one of the most exotic countries on earth: Sealand.

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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).

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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.

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Group safety instructions with Russia’s most famous traveler Artemy Lebedev (center, hair and shirt in perfect ETIC colors) …

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… for a 30 minute boat ride

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… to Sealand’s territorial waters

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… approaching further

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until the country name on the platform could be seen from the waterline.

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Every participant had to be winched up.

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Quite the adventure.

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German extreme traveler MvH onboard Sealand.

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The second group is having fun en route …

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… and on the Sealand helipad (Fotos courtesy of Michael Runkel)

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Impressions

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from the Principality

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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.

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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.

IMG_4692cThe 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)

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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.

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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/

by Mike Kendall: lupinetravel.co.uk/blog/2019/06/10/a-visit-to-sealand-by-mike-kendall/

by Kolja Spori: luxuryrogue.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/etic-principality-of-sealand/

 

Podcast “live from the ETIC Sealand” as part of the “Counting Countries” series:

by Ric Gazarian: globalgaz.com/live-from-sealand

 

 

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ETIC 2019 Awards

ETIC Awards 2019

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.

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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.

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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.

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The three ETIC Award Winners in 2019

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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.

 

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