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Utah man travels world, builds cultural bridges

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PROVO, Utah -- A Utah man is traveling the world with a goal of visiting every member-country recognized by the U.N., of which there are 193.

Provo resident Eric Hill is creating what he calls The Global Odyssey.

“It actually started at a very young age,” Hill said. “I was born into a family where my dad traveled a lot, and my favorite stories that he told were actually of his travels.”

So far Hill’s escapades include bungee-jumping in New Zealand, jumping out of a hot air balloon in Asia and even doing a handstand on a cliff in Africa. But his trip isn’t all about fun and games; it’s also about education.

“It became more of a team effort, and a real effort to display the awesome of every country and show there is good in every country of the world,” he said.

Hill said they are experiencing rather than just visiting these places. He said they look for the people who are proud of their culture and excited to share it. And Hill is spreading those experiences around. He is filming, blogging, tweeting and photographing his entire adventure.

“It became more of a project and less of just me visiting every country,” he said.

Hill said he avoids hotels and commercialized areas in his travels. He said he stays with locals in each country, and he also makes it a priority to help local charities.

“We know who we’re going to stay with, whether or not we`ll be working with a charity in that country, and we`ll already have contact with them, and they`re usually very excited about working together with the project,” he said.

Hill said he also makes an effort to partake of each culture’s unique cuisine.

“The craziest foods I`ve eaten are mostly bugs I’d say, and you know how weird bugs can look and then to actually look at it, cooked or uncooked, and have your own muscles get that bug into your mouth and chew it up, It goes a lot against what you`ve been taught in western society,” he said.

Hill said he hopes to be the youngest person to ever visit each country in record time, all while bridging the gaps between the world’s many different cultures.

“You know, the more I travel the more I realize we really are all one people,” he said. “There are so many similarities, even with people who are completely shut off from all communication to people that have complete contact with the western world and everything.”

Click here for more information about The Global Odyssey.