Math teacher becomes first Turk to go to all countries

Math teacher becomes first Turk to go to all countries

Math teacher becomes first Turk to go to all countries

A mathematics teacher has last set foot in the Marshall Islands 30 years after he started his world tour, becoming the first Turk to travel all 197 countries in the world.

Murat Fıçıcı, who has been a teacher for 13 years after graduating from the mathematics department of Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, announced with a post from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 26 that he had achieved his goal of going to all countries in the world.

“When I was a teacher, the most mischievous children in the class would come to me during breaks and ask me to tell them about my travels. I thought, ‘We cannot reintegrate these children to society in school, but if we allow them to travel the world, they will learn history, geography and cultures.’ The idea of opening a business that will allow him to get to know the world began to emerge,” he said.

“With this idea in mind, I quit my job and opened a cafe in [the central Anatolian province of] Eskişehir. This business that I started 20 years ago has grown over time, and during this time, I have sponsored around 2,000 young people between the ages of 18-25 to go abroad.”

Noting that he covers all the expenses of young people such as food, accommodation and transportation, Fıçıcı said the cafe named Varuna Gezgin now has 15 branches in Istanbul, the capital Ankara and İzmir, the country’s third largest city.

“At the very beginning of the project, we opened our doors to all young people who wanted to go abroad, but as the demands increased, we gave priority to young people who had the will and courage to travel the world,” he elaborated, adding that they determine a quota of 30 people every year.

The travel story of Fıçıcı, who became the first Turk to travel to all 197 countries in the world, dates back to his university years. Fıçıcı, who had previously traveled within Türkiye with his friends by hitchhiking, bus and train, said that they “broke their chains” and started to go abroad after a while.

“I like mountainous countries like Nepal and Bolivia more as people living in unfavorable conditions know the value of friendship, companionship and cooperation. People of such countries know how to share,” he said.