Inspirato member Jim Kitchen can lay claim to a pretty impressive accomplishment—he’s seen the entire contiguous United States, facing backward, from the bumper seat of his parents’ wood-paneled station wagon.

Oh, and he’s also visited all 193 United Nations-recognized countries.

Though Kitchen jokes about the road trips that his family would take every summer of his childhood—from South Florida all the way up to Washington state—he credits those trips for helping shape the direction of his life.

“That whole experience, being gone every summer—always on the move, taking a different direction—was just part of my DNA,” Kitchen said.

Now a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina, Kitchen credits the jumping-off point for his incredible round-the-world adventure to a travel company he began when he was fresh out of college. His work in the industry allowed him to take company “familiarization trips” around the world, which helped jumpstart his path to hitting all 193 U.N. countries.

“Once I hit 80 or 90 countries, I said, ‘I wonder if anyone’s ever been to every one of them!’ I found out it had been done … but at the time it wasn’t like I was locked in to the idea.’”

Kitchen notes that the endeavor, which spanned about 30 years, certainly wasn’t “power traveling.”

I just casually traveled, took a few trips every year, and saw six or seven countries each trip. And then once I got to 130, I thought, ‘I should just go to all of them.’

Jim KitchenInspirato member

“Over the last six or seven years, I’ve really been mindful about how and where I’m traveling,” Kitchen said. “I saved Africa for last because it’s so logistically difficult, and it took probably six or seven trips to hit all 50-some countries.”

He wrapped up number 193—Syria—in October, during a particularly volatile time in the country. He was among the first group of American travelers who’d been approved to enter Syria for years, right after the U.S. military began pulling its troops from the war-torn country.

“The Syrians have really been through a lot, and you can kind of sense that when you’re there,” he said. “Syria’s not for the faint of heart; it was a fitting end to this incredible journey.”

Throughout his travels, Kitchen’s utilized his Inspirato membership to take more leisurely trips. A member since the club’s inception in 2012, Kitchen typically divides world travelers into two categories: “collectors” and “connectors.”

“Inspirato members want to go to a destination and experience something about it,” he said. “That’s what’s been great about meeting other Inspirato folks along the way—they’re way more connectors than they are collectors.”

With the club, Jim’s traveled to Puerto Rico, Paris, Cabo, Turks and Caicos, Grand Cayman, and more. But one of his favorite Inspirato destinations is Costa Rica.

Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica—I think Costa Rica in general is one of the most diverse travel destinations in the world,” Kitchen said. “Extraordinary beaches, the jungle, the volcanoes, all of the different tours you can do—rafting on the rivers, exploring waterfalls—it’s just an amazingly diverse country.”

And beyond Inspirato, the top three favorite destinations he’s visited throughout the years are Queenstown, New Zealand (“the adventure capital of the planet”); Gabon, Africa (“elephants walking on white-sand beaches); and Bhutan (“the zen capital of the world—you can really connect with yourself there”).

So what’s next for this intrepid traveler?

“After setting foot in every country in the world, my goal in the next 12 months is to see that world from space,” Kitchen said. “And I’ll keep you posted on that.”

Follow Kitchen’s adventures at on Instagram or visit his website,


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