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In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

Visited countries


May 2024



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  • 1960’s world traveler says expedition can’t succeed

    Posted on November 3rd, 2009 Nicolas No comments
    Albert Podell and Nicolas Rapp meet at AP headquarter in NY

    Albert Podell and Nicolas Rapp meet at AP headquarter in NY

    I was lucky enough yesterday to receive the visit of Al Podell, a New Yorker and veteran traveler who has visited 178 out of 192 countries in the world. Back in the mid-1960s, Al and his friend Harold Stephens circumnavigated the world in a Toyota Land Cruiser. They drove across 42,000 miles and crossed more than 30 countries at a time where it wasprobably more difficult than today. They wrote a book when they came back, which I bought few years ago. It was a major inspiration for my trip, and I was incredibly surprised when Al, through a common acquaintance, agreed to meet with me. He was doubtful I could succeed in my journey, but he gave me valuable advice about my safety, and finally offered to recruit and pay thewages of a 3-women-with-machine-gun team who would protect me through Colombia. I had to decline, but the fact that he cared went straight to my heart. Al, you are the best.

    I recommend the book “Who Needs a Road?” which describes their trip, and hope I will prove the authors wrong when they they asserted, back in the nineties that “it was a motor trip that cannot be repeated in our modern day and age.”

    On another note, I was really busy in the past days wrapping up everything at work, and didn’t have much time to work on the trip preparation. I am also busy answering hundreds of supportive emails I received in the last week, as my story became popular across the U.S. If you wrote to me, please be patient, you will eventually hear something.
    I received numerous donations, and I can’t thank enough all the people who want to be part of the adventure. Thanks also to all of you who invited me to their house, I will see you guys soon.
    Lastly, i can’t thank enough the people who were on my side for many years at the Associated Press. I will have time in later posts to go back and reflect on my career and the wonderful people I met there.

    Yesterday was my last day at work, and now, I really should work full time on the car and on packing up my apartment. I will post more updates soon.

    Here’s a link to the book:
    Who Needs a Road?: The Story of the Longest and Last Motor Journey Around the World