What do you want to achieve in your life before the age of 24? Well, for some might be landing a dream job but for James Asquith, it was to visit all 196 countries in the world.
Born in Sussex, James got a taste for travelling thanks to his father, who was a pilot working for British Midland International. As a child, he got to tag along to destinations where he has never heard of and otherwise may not have visited.
From “I want to see more”, it became “I want to go everywhere”
“I started going away with my Dad when I could, or even without him, on these weird route networks.” The thought of “I want to see more” eventually became “I want to go everywhere”.
Since then, the young James has been saving his money, starting with “hoarding cash and doing little jobs where I could”.
The adventure starts when James Asquith was 18
With “a decent amount of cash saved up” at the age of 18, he took a gap year before starting university to travel to Southeast Asia with friends.
What started as a three-month trip sparked an around-the-world tour that lasted five years, leading him to visit Afghanistan during a war and travel by jeep into Somalia.
He managed to continue travelling while studying
During his time at The London School of Economics, where he studies a BSc in Economics, he started up a student events business during his second year, which turned out to be lucrative. Apart from that, he also worked three jobs at one point and saved money on rent as he was living with his parents.
The best and loneliest moment of his life
Some of his most memorable trips include visiting Middle Eastern countries like Jordan and Syria. However, it was Africa that he had found, strange memories of.
“It was probably the loneliest place – I broke up with an ex-girlfriend the day before I went there, and I went for four months by myself. I didn’t speak a word of English for about the first two months – there was a large aspect of solitude and a lot of self-reflection.”
How he funds his hobby
As much as he worked and travelled then, he admitted that finding the funding to keep up his hobby wasn’t always easy. So when the financial crisis hit, James took his chances on the stock market.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I bought a few stocks from UK banks when they were on their knees and I got really lucky,” he said. “I managed to make a fair amount of money from that and basically spent it all on travelling.”
Waiving the assumption that James Asquith has rich parents
While he confessed that his parents helped him as much as they could in various ways, he certainly didn’t get any handouts. “It obviously helps when you get financial help with the airfare, but a lot of the places I went for five months or something like that and was on a shoestring to get by.”
When he was in South America, James worked in bars and hostels so he can have food, drink, and accommodation for free. “When you’re backpacking, there’s not really much else you’re spending money on.”
He was recognised by Guinness World Record in 2016.
“I got an email saying ‘Congratulations, you’ve got a Guinness World Record.’ It was amazing.”
With the record under his belt, he began writing his book Breaking Borders. “Everyone can write a travel book and there’s a lot of travel blogs out there.”
To that, he spent three and a half weeks in the South Pacific just sitting on the beach writing.”
Giving back to the world, and in a big way!
🌎✈️🌍 Guys, it’s time for a HUGE GIVEAWAY, maybe the biggest travel giveaway ever!? 🕺🏻- I am giving away all of my Air Miles, every single one of them!💥🙈 There is enough to fly around the world more than 3 times if you use them wisely or treat yourself to a bunch of First Class flights 🥂✈️ After visiting all 196 countries, I wanted to try and inspire everyone that supported me in my journey along the way, that’s you guys! . So many of you ask me for tips on Air Miles (and I’ll give them all to you in another post as I won’t have room here). We all want to travel more, so here is my present back to you guys for being so awesome! This isn’t sponsored, it’s my way of inspiring more travel! 😁 . Here’s all you have to do: 1) Be following me 🙈 (of course 😂) 2) Go and follow @holswap where you can use ‘FreeSwap’ to also stay for free, so there is such a thing as a free holiday maybe?!? 3) Comment below 👇🏼 as to how many air miles you think you will win and tag who you would take with you round the world (you can tag and comment up to 5 times, and each comment is another entry, where the closest number of miles guessed wins!) – to anyone that knows me – please don’t ask me, I won’t tell you!!! 😸 . 1 clue – I use Avios . Happy travels and good luck everyone! I’ll announce a winner in 8 weeks time on the 23rd September! 😃✈️ . . . #giveaway #free #freeflights #cheapflights #cheaptravel #competition #giveaways #giveawaycontest #contest #contests #freebies #holswap #holidayswap #travelblogger #adventure #explore #aroundtheworld #airmiles #miles #traveltips #travelphotography #traveling #travelbug 🌎
After accumulating years of Air Miles, James Asquith has chosen to give away every single one in an Instagram contest. He says the purpose of the giveaway is to inspire more people to take the leap and travel.
“I’ve had a lot of people writing to me with really inspiring stories as to why they would like to win the miles and what they would do with them,” James said.
“Everything from people taking their first every flight to visiting long-lost relatives the other side of the world, which is very touching and exactly why I wanted to run this competition, to inspire just that.”
This contest isn’t the only way he has helped others to go around the globe. He created an app called Holiday Swap, which helps people to match with others and swap their homes when they travel. The app has gained popularity and boasts participants from 100 countries.
To enter this incredible giveaway, you must follow James Asquith and Holiday Swap on Instagram, then comment how many air miles you think you will win and who you would like to take on your trips. You can comment a maximum of five times, and the closest guess will win.
The competition will run until September 23, giving you plenty of time to post for a chance to win.