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.


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.

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)


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: 2019-06-21

by Ric Gazarian:

by Mike Kendall:

by Kolja Spori:


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

by Ric Gazarian:



About Kolja Spöri

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