When Bryce Caster was in sixth grade, his school tested him on all 196 countries and capitals of the world. Now, at 27 years old, he’s traveled to 48 states, 48 countries, and six continents.
“I realized there’s a big world out there,” Caster said. “How cool would it be to go to them all?”
Caster has been on archeological digs in Kazakhstan, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, hunted for boars using blow-darts in Malaysia, and much more. He documents most of his travels on his blog. His ultimate goal is to travel to every state in the US and every country in the world.
“It’s just something sort of innate in me,” Caster said.
He grew up in a state park near West Los Angeles, CA. Since it took several miles just to get out of the park, Caster was always hiking and exploring nearby.
But it wasn’t until the the summer before his freshman year at Washington University that he went on his first big international trip. Caster went to countries like Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and Singapore with a teen travel group. It made him realize that he could travel on his own.
Caster credits his ability to travel to figuring out what matters most to him and trying to spend money on only that.
“It’s really about being true to yourself,” Caster said.
He keeps a budget and tries to live cheaply during the week. When he can, he tries to fly during less expensive times of the year and stay with friends or in hostels. But Caster tries not to think about the money too much. He cares more about the experience.
Travel has shown Caster what it means to to be understanding and resilient. Being able to travel pushed him out of his bubble and taught him a great deal about the beliefs and values of others. As well, it taught him how to be street smart.
“The world isn’t like West LA,” Caster said.
But becoming a better person is not why he travels.
“For me it’s about discovery and to learn more about the world we live in and the people that inhabit it,” Caster said. “Sort of like reading a book, you’re uncovering different chapters and I enjoy that discovery.”
One thing that Caster stresses is that travel does not have to be expensive or international. While traveling through Kansas he enjoyed seeing quirky things like the world’s largest electric shovel, the center of world according to Google, and a safari museum. For Caster, a traveler takes the spirit of exploration wherever they go.
“Going to different parts of LA is essentially like going to different countries and that’s fun for me,” Caster said. “It doesn’t need to be grand. It can be a small thing and that still is enjoyable.”
Next week, he will have hit 50 countries and every continent when he departs from Chile to Argentina to take a cruise around Antarctica. He’s not sure if he will travel to all 196 countries, but he hopes to knock out his last two states, (West Virginia and Maine) in 2019. Even if he achieves all of his goals, he knows that there will always be more out there.
“There’s no way I would want to stop,” Caster said. “As long as there are new things to see, I think it’ll still be exciting for me.”