It is such an honor and pleasure to present this Executive Committee to you. We all truly hope you will receive the Committee and each of us members well. We all share the love for travelling and are eager to contribute to our global travel community. Besides this, we are deliberately diverse to represent world travellers and the thousands of members of NomadMania.
We are from different countries and regions. We are women and men equally. We are approximately two each in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. We have different travel styles. We plan our travels differently. We share our experiences differently on different media. We are also all among the world’s biggest travellers and share a wish to ensure NomadMania is there for you.
So many amazing travellers were in our minds when selecting this committee. If you feel ‘I would have loved to join and would love to be an active part of the NomadMania family’, then please let me know. We will do our best to include you.
The 11 members of the new NomadMania Executive Committee and NomadMania manager Milana during their first online meeting in December 2022
Dondon Bales, born 1977, has an unlikely traveller profile – from humble beginnings in the Philippine countryside, financing his education through scholarship grants, becoming a breadwinner to his family, working as an I.T. project manager, migrating alone overseas to Australia, not having a full driver’s license until the age of 43, never been married, never knowing how to use a DSLR camera.
Nevertheless, he has visited 160 countries and territories on 7 continents, circumnavigated the world three times, and authored the travel book “Galà: Adventures of the Most Well-Traveled Filipinos”. He joined the Travelers’ Century Club in 2015 and was the coordinator for Sydney. In 2021, he co-founded the Philippine Global Explorers travel club of Filipino world travellers where he currently serves on the Board of Directors.
He is a Past President of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Sydney Chapter and Past National Board Director for JCI Australia, a global network of young active citizens engaged in creating an impact on their communities. Dondon is based in Melbourne, Australia where he works full-time in the corporate world while pursuing his passion for creating a world of belonging through purposeful and sustainable travel.
Thomas Buechler, born 1958, is a Swiss traveller/globetrotter from the canton of Luzern. He has lived almost half his life in the Philippines where he was working in tourism and export of fashion jewelry. He has visited all 193 UN countries (last one beautiful Namibia in 2016). His full list of travel achievements are listed in his travel blog www.thomasthenomad.ch where his personal highlights to visit in each country are also mentioned. He organizes each trip on his own, and usually travels by public buses, trains and collective taxis to have genuine encounters with the locals.
He has always been a hardened traveller, not afraid to engage in extreme adventures to see as much of the world as possible. He is also a UNESCO enthusiast and has visited so far 895/1154 WHS or about 78%. He supports the NomadMania Series, and sees them, together with the interactive map, as revolutionary ways of discovering a new region/city. He is currently No. 3 on the Series ranking.
Since 2013, he has been NomadMania’s internal surveillance associate, responsible for the verification of high-ranking members.
Thomas is married and has 2 children.
Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen
Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen, born 1972, the chair of NomadMania’s Executive Committee, is 3rd generation of four generations of women travellers. She has travelled extensively with all her three children Lærke, Ella and Nicolai and has brought them to challenging destinations in her quest to visit every country in the world. She is just two UN countries from her goal to visit every country and might be the first Danish women to do so.
Mette is also a professional board member, who insists she works in the board rather than sit in them. Her priorities in boards are leadership, growth, partnerships, internationalization and digitalization. She started as a Danish diplomat posted in Estonia, assisting in the process of becoming EU members. Later she has been a business CEO, IT Project Manager, EU negotiator, Tourism CEO and teacher.
As a traveller, Mette particularly enjoys connecting with women, and working mothers. She goes a long way to use her skills to empower them. She loves LEGO and the Danish Travelers Café. When she was dared, she washed her hair in cattle urine at the Mundaris’ camp.
Eleonora Gromov, born 1997, is a full-time traveller. She was born and raised in Kazakhstan before she moved to Germany at the age of 15. She started to travel by herself very early, her first solo trip being to Italy, where she worked as an au pair. Since then she has visited almost 80 countries, most of them since 2020 with her husband Yannik. They got married spontaneously in Las Vegas after just six weeks of being in a relationship and have been exploring all corners of our planet since.
Eleonora loves trying different kinds of travelling, going back and forth between luxury and couchsurfing or popular destinations and places barely visited by tourists. She likes to see the world as a huge puzzle, where every region of the world that you get a real deep understanding of is a new piece you gain and a step towards understanding the world better.
Eleonora has lived in 6 countries already and after finishing school has spent most her time traveling or working to save up money for traveling. She’s an absolute pro at traveling on a tight budget!
Lucy Hsu, born 1981, was raised in California’s Silicon Valley. She has visited 192 of the 193 UN countries. Her travels started in 2004, after earning her Bachelor’s in Music and Psychology. As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, her childhood challenges led to her pursuing a career in educating children in underserved communities.
Upon earning her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Cross-Cultural Curriculum, Lucy brought her work experience overseas. She has led Teacher Training Programs and Curriculum Design Initiatives throughout Africa, Asia, and Central America. Her global involvement expanded to include community development, relief work, wildlife conservation, and refugee aid.
In addition to being an educator, Lucy has also pursued her passion in the field of Psychology. As a trained Crisis Counselor and Global Alliance Yoga Instructor, she continually promotes mental wellness through therapy and yoga classes offered both in-person and online. Now as a mother, Lucy continues to travel extensively, bringing her daughter along to uncover more global wonders while supporting charitable causes. In her free time, she pursues her hobbies as a marathoner, mountaineer, cake designer, and pianist.
Kostiantyn Liorek, born 1970, is a Ukrainian globetrotter who is currently living in Poland due to the situation in his native country. He has lived in a number of countries in the past, including the UK, Norway, Albania, Russia and Peru. Having visited 186 UN countries and more than 220 countries and territories, his goal is to complete the entire 193 UN list soon. He was officially recognized as the most travelled Ukrainian during the pandemic by the National Book of Records (Ukraine) as he visited 50 countries and territories during this period. He is also a fan of sending postcards from all his visited places.
Kostiantyn loves exploring new places through local cuisine, drinks, music and communication with local people. As a historian by education, he especially admires World Heritage sites and places of high historical importance. He has been working for decades in corporate business, introducing several famous brands in the new markets of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Caucasus. He is also a big lover of reading, languages and cats.
Cameron Mofid, born 2000, is an American traveller of Lebanese-Iranian origin who is currently in the midst of his quest to visit every country in the world. As a child, he was an avid tennis player, and competed in the International Tennis Federation’s Junior Tour. After his playing days ended, Cameron founded Legends United, which is an organization where professional tennis players donate their signed memorabilia to raise money for a variety of charities. This work experience enabled him to travel the world. In 2019, Cameron traversed 46 countries across 6 continents, which would eventually lead to his desire to visit every country on Earth.
Always a native of Florida who is proficient in Spanish, Cameron graduated from the University of Miami in May of 2022 with a BBA in Finance and Management and is currently pursuing his MBA. In addition to tennis and travel, Cameron is passionate about mental health awareness, which he spoke about during his TEDx Talk in 2021.
Khadija Musa, born 1956, left Kenya as a teenager and never dreamed of becoming a “world traveler”. She is of Somali descent and attended college in the US, first at Northeastern University in Boston while working for Henwell Corporation as an Executive Assistant. Later she moved to Berea College in Kentucky to be a full-time student & complete a BA degree in Business Administration. While a student, her first international trip beside leaving Kenya was to France, Switzerland and Italy by rail.
After graduating, she worked as a UN Tour Guide and concurrently finished her master’s degree in communication at the New School for Social Research in New York. She then commenced a career as a UN Program Officer with the UN Development Program in New York.
Twenty-nine years later, she retired as a UN Resident Coordinator & head of the overall UN program in Guyana. Khadija worked & lived in Liberia, Egypt, Uganda, Guyana and travelled the world managing programs funded by UN agencies, USAIDs, World Bank, Norway & other donors in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Comoros, Egypt, Laos, Mali, and Suriname to name a few.
Until recently, she never thought how much she has travelled but so far, she has visited over 120 countries often travelling with her husband Ed Hotchkiss. She considers herself more of an accidental traveller than an extreme one. After meeting others crisscrossing the globe, she now plans on travel to those countries she hasn’t yet visited and learning about their histories and cultures.
Slawek Muturi, born 1965, is a half-Polish, half-Kenyan traveller who has visited all 193 countries in the world at least twice. He started travelling with his parents when he was 4, and independently since the age of 18. His favourite way is to travel overland – his first such trip was from Poland to Kenya in a Land Rover in 1989 at the age of 23 which took 9 months. Slawek speaks some 12 languages and holds 3 masters’ degrees (including an MBA from London Business School).
Slawek was a management consultant with Andersen and later with Deloitte, rising to the position of a Partner. Thanks to his investments in apartments for rent, Slawek retired in May 2009 at the age of 43. His mission has since been to help people achieve financial freedom – he has published 10 books in Poland and given thousands of lectures and interviews. He also set-up Mzuri – a property management company which manages over 8000 apartments in Poland and is now helping his daughter, Natalia, and son Oskar run the business. Both like travelling and have visited close to 100 countries each.
Yui Pow Redford
Yui Pow Redford, born 1979, is a UK-based Singapore native who completed the UN 193 in 2017, becoming the first Asian woman to achieve the goal, as well as the first Singaporean national. Over half of her journeys were done solo, including all of Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific.
After spending years gaining experience in the corporate realm, she branched out on her own, building a portfolio career that leverages her skills as a linguist, educator, and consultant. She works with global clients from different industries in a variety of capacities, including teaching, training, writing, editing, branding, and consultancy. She is a keen advocate of education as a means of empowerment and the founder of a nonprofit that supports causes in developing countries. She also serves as a Charity Development Minister for NomadMania.
She loves exploring the world through travel, language, and music. A proud mama who started a family after completing the UN countries, she finds joy in viewing the world through the eyes of a child and considers parenthood the greatest journey of all.
Anna-Katri Räihä, born 1983, is a solo female traveller from Finland. She is on a mission to be the first woman in Finland to visit every country in the world, currently at 185 countries. As an adventure traveler, she has a special interest in unusual destinations and deep experiences.
She has 15 years of experience in sustainability consulting and project management. Her key competences are environmental and social impact assessments, carbon footprint calculations and climate roadmaps to net-zero. She worked in large consulting companies more than 10 years before starting as a full-time entrepreneur in 2020.
In addition, she has created the Finnish travel blog Adalmina’s Adventures. She has also organized travel related events, group tours and photography courses for her followers as well as been a speaker in different events. Recently Anna-Katri was awarded as a travel influencer of the year 2022 in Finland.
Combining her environmental expertise with her passion for sustainable development and responsible traveling, it is very rewarding for her to work with environmental and social issues in different countries as well as help her clients and followers to create a better and a more sustainable future.
First thoughts from Mette and the Executive Committee
NomadMania has, through its 10 years, been for people who love to travel independently beyond the ordinary and obvious. To us, it is important that NomadMania remains well-respected, known for integrity and for creating a diverse and inclusive travel community that inspires people to travel more, travel deeper, and travel meaningfully.
The unique never-ending lists to explore the world through regions, M@P and the many amazing series with everything from world heritage to lighthouses should remain a way to be inspired for more travels, to plan trips, to find fixers and local travellers, to register visits and compare with other travellers easily on the web/app.
NomadMania should contribute to creating an open and positive community of travellers with its awards – the annual ‘Oscar’ of the Travel World, where we focus on the positive, intrepid, big and purposeful travellers – and with the newsletters, social media, interviews and polls on a number of issues such as the latest ‘what is a visit’.
NomadMania is unique in having a robust verification system safeguarding the respect we have in each other and maintains the most accurate lists of travellers who have visited every country (the UN Masters list).
NomadMania is a gift to world travellers as it is free and even provides scholarships.
We would like for NomadMania to maintain and strengthen this through partnerships and strong value for its members.