The First Man to Visit Every Country and Travel to Space

As a child, Jim Kitchen harbored the dream of venturing into space. During his college years in the 1980s, he even dabbled in selling low-orbit space travel, an idea that was met with skepticism and jest by his peers. Kitchen’s commitment to his celestial ambition was so strong that he included a unique clause in his prenuptial agreement, ensuring he could seize any opportunity to travel to space.

However, opportunities to go to space were pretty rare, so Kitchen turned to traveling to all 193 countries. The inception of Kitchen’s global adventures stemmed from a youthful enthusiasm for travel, evolving from collecting passport stamps to a deeper passion. “I just transitioned from a collector to a connector,” he said. “I fell in love with the idea and the notion of meeting people.”

It was only about a decade or so ago that Kitchen realized the full scope of his travels, and set a goal to visit every U.N. recognized country. He achieved this milestone in 2019 with a visit to Syria, just before the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted global travel. Reaching this milestone was a “bittersweet” experience for Kitchen, propelling him toward fulfilling his ultimate dream of space.

Kitchen participated in several zero gravity flights to mimic the sensations of space, but he wanted to do the real deal.

On March 31, Kitchen’s childhood aspiration was fulfilled as he embarked on a Blue Origin flight into the cosmos. At 57, the North Carolina entrepreneur not only realized his own dream but also set a remarkable record. By reaching orbit, he became the first individual to have visited every one of the 193 countries recognized by the United Nations and to have journeyed into space.

Reflecting on his journey before boarding on his flight, Kitchen told Nice News, “Some of my friends, some of whom will be at the launch, they ridiculed me mercilessly for selling space travel. And to be able to actually accomplish that dream 40 years later … it’s just mind-numbing.”

“Having walked the planet, I just want to see it from space. I just want to see this blue, beautiful planet of ours, the eternal darkness of space, I want to take in that whole spectacle,” he expressed before the flight. “Then, I think I’m going to float upside down and take it all in upside down.”

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One Reply to “The First Man to Visit Every Country and Travel to Space”

  1. Your blog has helped me through some tough times and I am so grateful for your wise words and positive outlook


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