Inspiring Traveler Interview: Francis Tapon

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For this Inspiring Traveler interview, I got ahold of Francis Tapon, who runs a travel blog with the same name.Francis has done a lot of traveling, and accomplished some major goals. Here is what he had to say.

-Tell us a little about yourself. 

My mom is Chilean and my dad was French. They met in San Francisco, California, which is where I was born and raised. I’ve been to nearly 100 countries, walked across America 4 times, hiked across Spain twice, and written two books. One coolest things I’ve done was give a TEDx speech about how and why travel transforms you.

-Do you have a favorite country or place, that you’ve been?

My favorite countries are the USA and Italy. I know. Boring choices. But they both offer an incredible amount of diversity. Italy has a more lovely language, better food, and better architecture.

-What’s your next travel plans?

I’m in the process of traveling to all 54 African countries from 2013-2017. I’ve seen West Africa so far. So there’s still much to experience! I look forward to seeing the part of Africa that you know, Justin, which is southeastern Africa!

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After Africa, the Middle East. And a 10-year plan after that.

-Is it hard getting visas from all these countries in Africa? Like Congo, Libya and Algeria? Do you already have some of them? And how expensive are they?

I haven’t gotten those 3 visas yet, but nearly all African countries require a visa, and some are quite difficult to get. For example, Ghana requires that you get the visa from the embassy in your home country. That’s hard if you’re traveling overland in Africa for months or years, and you don’t have a residency permit in some African country. So it takes planning, which I’m horrible at. I always wing it, but I pay the consequences: which is costs me time, money, or both.

Still, for the first 17 visas, I’ve managed to get them. Some have taken patience: Niger and Chad took 2 weeks to get. Ghana took multiple visits to their embassy in Senegal.

They’re usually expensive too. Some cost up to $150 each. A few, like Egypt, cost $10 and you can get it when you arrive. But most are around $50-100.

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-Hows the Kickstarter campaign going? And whats the link in case my readers want to help?

My Kickstarter campaign kicks off on Africa Day, which is May 25! It’s a bit too early to tell if it will be successful, but I appreciate you helping spread the word. If we’re successful at making a TV show about Africa’s unseen sides, it’ll be because of the support of everyday travel lovers, like the people who your blog.

Whether you can pledge or not, please share the project widely. The more people hear about it, the more likely that it will be successful.

-What do you look forward to the most about traveling all of Africa? Is there a certain highlight you have in your head, that you can’t wait to see/do?

Three things excite me going forward:

-The Sahara. I’m in Niger now. I’m going to Chad next. I adore the Sahara. So clean, quiet, and open.

-The DRC. The Congo is a big mystery. I can’t wait to explore.

-Madagascar. I want to walk from one end of the island to the other (north-south) along the spine of its mountains. It should be an epic trek.

 Check out Francis’ Kickstarter campaign, as well as his twitter!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Very good interview and, now we can say it, congrats to Francis for his success on the Kickstarter campaign. So glad he made it and can’t wait to watch the episode!

    Good job!

  2. Last I heard Francis was planning to visit all the countries in Africa. I hope his adventures are going well.Another couple was doing this a few years back for their “border jumpers” project, Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg – I chased them down in Cote d’Ivoire but by the time I almost caught up to them they had gotten sick and moved up to Mali.

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