Magne, Norwegian point-counting explorer and a travel club enthusiast

15 April, 2023 | Blog, Interviews

Magne is a Norwegian explorer and a family man. He enjoys counting various points when travelling and prioritises planning before his travels to be able to explore as much as he can. He’s an avid member of many travel clubs and aims to join some more. NomadMania is the source of some of his favourite places to visit.

Rhine falls on the Swiss-German border

Magne, tell us something about your early life and how your interest in travel developed.

When I was young I travelled a little bit more than my friends but not a lot. It changed a lot when I became an exchange student at the age of 16 as a high school student in Kentucky from 1994-95. I stayed with a host family that travelled a lot. During that year we visited 26 states.

In the later years before I got settled with my family I travelled a lot on longer trips to Russia in 96, Alaska in 97, and South America in 99 with members of the American family. I continued to travel by myself with Interrail in Europe in 2001.

I lived abroad again as a student from 2002-03 in Reading, England and that school year I travelled around the UK in my free time. And I have continued to travel after getting kids in 2009 and 2011. In the first years, we did not travel a lot but after 2016 we have been travelling more.

In 2018 started my amateur blog Verdensnerden (Nerd of the World).

Stonehenge England 2002

Berlin, Germany, 2021


Give us a few hidden gems of your country that most foreigners may not know but that you absolutely recommend.

I separate the sights into natural sights, cultural sights and geographical points. In my view, Norway is mostly rich in natural sights. The fjords in Norway are a clear example here.

I am especially fond of the states of Møre and Romsdal and especially Rauma Valley which are easy to reach by car or train. I am very fascinated by waterfalls and this area has a large number of the tallest waterfalls in Norway.

Of cultural sights, I am very interested in the stave churches in Norway. A stave church is an old wooden church dating back to the Viking period. We have 28 left in Norway. There is also one in Sweden and Poland. As a country collector, I also collect Stave churches and have visited 14 of the 28 in Norway.

On the other side, the capital Oslo has transformed unrecognizably in the last 20 years and I highly recommend you to walk along the harbour area of Oslo.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, 1999

Lom Stave church, Norway, 2020


Which traits of your character help and interfere while travelling? Tell us about your personal travelling style, please.

Half of my travelling is related to planning. Planning where to go, and planning what regions, sights and UNESCO world heritage sites to visit. I am an active user of NomadMania when I plan.

I am also a fan of Atlas Obscura and Mosttraveledpeople. I am a fast traveller and try not to waste time sleeping long, shopping and taking long breaks. When I travel with friends or family I adjust my travelling to some degree but I always have specific goals for my travel plan which I communicate to others.

In the last years when I have had short city breaks with three days in a city I have as a rule had two days in the main city and one day outside the city by train or renting a car. For example, on my last trip with my daughter I visited Hamburg. I had two days in Hamburg and one day trip by train to Bremen.

As a married man with two daughters, I have travelled alone with just one daughter at a time. The travelling is cheaper and gives some special memories for my daughters.

Bremen, 2022

Budapest, Hungary, 2015


Could you share some travel stories with us, the ones that stay deep in your head and heart?

When I went to China in 2006 I transited via the Airport in Amsterdam. The plane was overbooked and they wanted someone to take the next plane to Seoul instead of Hong Kong for some extra money. I said yes to a new country, but someone was quicker than me. Since they did not need two people to wait, they ended up giving me an extra seat in the first class. Flying to Hong Kong on a sofa, eating pleasantly and drinking champagne was quite fun.

Pula, Croatia, 2017

View of Geiranger, Norway, 2020


What are the most interesting and exclusive things to pay attention to travellers?

I focus on sites. I look for cultural sights, especially UNESCO world heritage sites. I prefer palaces and religious sites.

I also like spectacular natural sites but I will not walk a day for it. Waterfalls and caves are the most interesting for me. Last, I think geographical sites are interesting. Enclaves and for example the most western point of Europe or the geographical centre of Europe.

Versailes, France, 2018


What changed in you when you started travelling?

Travelling is part of my identity and is my most important life achievement. It is always in my head as a part of me. In the last year, I have learned not to wait for others to go where I want to go. If I want to go somewhere I go, with or without friends or family.

Talin, Estonia, 2016


Which culture/country is the closest to your mentality and which is the most alien, and why?

I felt at home when I studied at Reading University. I made a lot of English friends during my stay. We have similar cultures and attitudes. My biggest culture shock was in China. The language barrier, the food and the people. I loved it and would like to go back.

Paris, France, 2018


Do you aim at visiting all UN countries, and why? If not, do you have any ambitious travel goals?

I have different goals. The ultimate goal is 100 of the 198 countries. I have now 45 countries visited. Before that, I strive to become a member of TCC (Travellers Century Club). To become a full member, you have to visit 100 of the regions on their list. I now have 54. I am going to all countries of Europe (33 so far), all states of the USA (47 of 50) and Germany (10 of 15) and at least 250 UNESCO world heritage sites (so far 76), and as many NomadMania regions as possible. Travel counting is fun.

Trakai, Lithuania, 2019


Finally, our signature question – if you could invite any 4 people to dinner, from any period in history, who would your guests be?

Gunnar Garfors: He is the most travelled Norwegian. He has travelled to all countries twice.

Henry the Navigator: Portuguese prince who started the age of discovery. Encouraged Portuguese exploration of West Africa in the 15th century.

Charles Veley: The founder of Most traveled people. The first website to organize country counting on the web for me.

Monty Don: My other hobby is gardening. Monty Don has done a lot of travelling shows focusing on gardens all around the world and has given me much inspiration on sites to visit. He has my favourite travel shows.

Rundale Palaze, Latvia