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Profiled on a travel website: Tripper of the Week

Seven questions with…me!  I’m featured as the “Tripper of the Week” on travel community website, Tripping.com.   The interview covers what inspired me to travel for a half year through 15 countries, the interactions with locals that were most memorable, the most exciting outdoor activities I did on my trip, and what I love most about NYC. They have a great site and community; check it out!

Todd Cohen is a world traveler, photographer, writer.  He lives for travel adventures, and just got back from a half-year trip which took him to 15 countries (and shares them on Visit50.com).  Although he’s traveled all around the globe, he has a soft spot for NYC.

Machu Picchu, Peru, in South America after 5 days of hiking and camping
Machu Picchu, Peru, in South America after 5 days of hiking and camping

I’ve used both Tripping and CouchSurfing.com and think they have great travel communities; I’ll write about them in an upcoming post. In the meantime, enjoy their 7-question interview:


Tell us a little bit more about your background – Todd in a nutshell.

After a trip to to Australia after college, I came back with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for new experiences, new cultures, and new sights around the world. I’ve always been really curious, but now that carried over into travel. I started dreaming of different things I wanted to do, and places I wanted to visit. Then I made bucket lists with specific travel goals.

I launched a travel blog, at Visit50.com. It started as a response to all the questions I was receiving from my family and friends. “Did you really go swimming with sharks??  Were you scared to travel alone?  Can you really float in the Dead Sea or is that a myth?  Did you really have a python around your neck??  What was it like to be arms-length from baby orangutans?”  I’m answering them all on my website with my photography from up close encounters.

The name Visit50.com comes from my travel goal – I want to visit all 50 states, and 50 countries, by age 50.  Every state and every country in the world has something fascinating about it that make it worth visiting. How many you’ve visited?

What inspired you to travel to 15 countries over a half year?

I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and wished that I could.  Like many people, I felt like I “didn’t have the opportunity” or the funds to take a big trip.  I work in an industry that provides just two weeks vacation time (that you can’t use together). Typically a long trip simply isn’t feasible.

For years I’ve said that the next time I find myself in between jobs, I’m going to travel the world. So I did. You create your own opportunities in life, and this was mine.

I made travel a priority and just made it happen. At the end of 2010 I cashed in my air miles and got a ticket into Hong Kong, and back through Narita (Tokyo) six weeks later.  The rest was a mostly blank canvas that would be filled with places I’ve been excited to visit for years, and new places that I’d learn along the way. I kept extending the trip, and ended up visiting 15 countries over almost a half year. It was amazing!

It was the perfect marriage of my interests and passions – photography, culture, architecture, wildlife, et al. I found myself up close with monkeys, sharks, elephants, and beasts I’d never even heard of!   The best part might have been meeting all the amazing people from around the world, both locals and travelers.

Of all your interactions with locals, which has been the most memorable?

It’s so difficult to choose just one because meeting locals is one of my favorite aspects of traveling. With that said, I just posted photos from one interaction that was particularly memorable.

I was on a little island off the coast of Borneo, photographing sunsets, sea turtles, and little kids that lived in the village. I approached them and asked if they’d like to pose for a photo.

They all initially refused, with the exception of one brave kid. After taking the photo they were about to run away when I turned my camera around and showed them the photo. I’ll never forget their reaction.

They were elated, as if they’d never seen their reflection in anything other than the water they swim in. I asked for another photo and this time they posed. I thanked them and put away my camera but they asked for more photos. Each time their pose got a little more creative. They were rockstars, and enjoying the limelight.

From that day on, they would spot me from across the island and ask me to take their photos and show them, and the group of kids that followed me kept growing.  At the end of the week I made a little slideshow for them. Adorable!

What are 3 of the most exciting outdoor activities you’ve participated in during your travels?

SCUBA diving

SCUBA diving tops the list. I finished my PADI open-water course and got certified in Bali. That set the stage for some incredible dive experiences throughout my trip (particularly in Malaysian Borneo, Thailand, and the Philippines).  The feeling of swimming through colorful fish (and huge predators) was amazing!

My first ship wreck dive was particularly memorable – it was the first I found myself eye-to-eye with an actual shark.  It was my first shark dive, and I was terrified!  I can hardly believe that just a month later I was actually seeking out opportunities to swim in shark-infested waters. I found plenty of them!


Hiking sounds like such a common activity, but I’ve had so many unique hiking experiences with other travelers that were memorable . In Indonesia I went hiking up a volcano and at the top I discovered they have a sulfur mining operation. I’ve explored the ruins of Angkor Wat and reached the top of the Great Wall of China .

Photographing wildlife

Photography is a passion of mine, and considering I live in NYC, travel enables me to have those experiences. I love seeing animals in zoos, but my travels have offered such great access to see them in their natural habitat.

I was right near baby orangutans and camels, and at one point found myself completely surrounded by monkeys. You’re on their turf, so it’s a combination of scary and awesome (note to the monkeys – I can’t take your photo when you jump on my back!

Elephants and whale sharks are both massive – I’m hoping my photos do them justice.  Some of my favorite photos came from moments observing and photographing wildlife that I hadn’t even heard of – from an extremely rare encounter with proboscis monkey that had a huge nose and a pot belly, to tarsiers that look like Gremlins.

Honorable mentions:

Tarzan swinging and tubing in Laos, kayaking through caves in Halong Bay,  learning to surf in Bali, floating in the Dead Sea, sliding down red sand dunes in Mui Ne, wind-surfing trekking up to Machu Picchu, riding through the desert of Wadi Rum, ziplining through a cloud forest in Costa Rica, eating crazy foods at night markets all over Asia, and and more.

What are the 3 things you most enjoy about hosting?

I love exchanging travel stories, learning their unique insights and perspective, and introducing them to the city I love.

You’re based in New York.  What are the top 5 attractions every first-time traveler must see?

Two of the many things I love about New York is that (a) it’s impossible to narrow it down to just 5 attractions, and (b) if you take a poll of New Yorkers on this, everybody has a different answer.  It’s such a wonderfully diverse city that everyone seems to have something that they appreciate more than the rest.

Most lists start with a climb up the Statue of Liberty, through Times Square, and up the Empire State Building, and then it splinters from there. Central Park and Rockefeller Center often get votes.

My tour is always customized to their interests. What makes New York unique is the neighborhoods and combination of cultures in one city. I often take my guests on a walking tour all around the city, through the village and SoHo and over the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York’s financial district is historic, but you might be just as interested in seeing the places you remember from Seinfeld, Friends, Gangs of New York, or Sex and the City.

Seeing the NYC skyline is often on the must-see. While the view from Empire State Building is impressive, there are dozens of other places that you might enjoy the view from even more.

For my most recent guests, we ate our way around the city. I like to mix delicious restaurants, bite-size desserts, and combining the famous sites with the little-known gems that New Yorkers love.

The beauty of NYC is that my answer for this changes all the time. My friends and I are constantly discovering new places that are awesome.

Sidenote – I’m writing a little post on the places I love visiting in New York City – look for it on Visit50.com.

Where are you headed next?

My next trip will be to San Francisco – I’m finally going this upcoming Fall.

The top 10 next places outside the US on my list include Spain, Argentina, Ecuador (specifically the Galapagos Islands), Czech Republic, Morocco, Greece, South Africa, Japan, Brazil, and all over Scandanavia.

My unquenchable thirst for new travel experiences just might lead me to meeting Trippers in an around-the-world trip. I’m excited just thinking about it!

Happy travels Todd!  When you visit San Francisco, be sure to let us know.  We’d love to connect with you!

Rent Liechtenstein for $70k per night

Did you know you can rent a country?? Rent Liechtenstein! They offer their entire country for rent! This post shares more

What do rich people buy for the people that have everything?  How about renting an entire country? I’m not kidding!

You might remember reading that Snoop Dogg tried to rent out the entire European country of Liechtenstein (between Austria and Switzerland, population=33,000), for a music video earlier this year, but was of course denied, but here’s the twist. They only said no due to timing. They would have accepted his offer if they had more notice.  It’s well-known as a tax-haven for the wealthy, but what if they actually made the entire country available for a fee?  So the Snoop offer got Lichtenstein thinking about the marketing and revenue opportunities, and now they’re putting the entire country on the market for $70,000 per night.

Rent a country! Rent Liechtenstein!
Vaduz Castle – available for rent along with the entire country of Liechtenstein for $70k/night!

What do you get for a $70k rental fee?

Rent Liechtenstein and you can rename city streets and town squares. You can also print your own temporary currencies, and carve logos into the snow on the mountainside.

Renting the country means you’ll get a custom medieval festival. Marching bands and mayors will present you with the key to the city. Sip wine at the Prince’s estate while being wowed by a fireworks show.

Your rental means you’ll have the run of the land, and use of the country’s police, even though Liechtenstein has one of the lowest crime rates in the area.

The new temporary ‘owners’ of country will be presented with a symbolic key to the country in a ceremony at the state parliament.

Guests will be treated to wine-tasting from the Prince of Liechtenstein’s personal cellar, skiing and a sumptuous dinner overlooking Vaduz Castle.

There’s one thing you can’t do in your country rental. There’s no smoking allowed in the country. I like them already!

Rent a country, get 500 Bedrooms

It has 500+ bedrooms, and the minimum stay is two nights. The rental rates start at $70,000 a night to accommodate 150 people, which includes catering and “basic branding.”  Two night minimum stay.

Unfortunately there’s limited privacy. The country’s 30,000 population are allowed to stay.

The rental offer comes from Liechtenstein-based marketing firm Rent a Village by Xnet and Airbnb. They also have 10 European villages on its books.

If renting an entire country is too extravagant or cost-prohibitive, there is always the option of renting a village in Austria or Switzerland for a mere $60,000 per night. What a perfect Christmas or Chanukah gift!  File this one under, “must be nice…”

Are you scrambling to shop for the perfect gift? Rent a country! Rent Liechtenstein!

Liechtenstein on Wikipedia.