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This 78-Year-Old Black Explorer Has Traveled To More Than 50 Countries In 5 Decades

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J.R. Harris, a veteran and Black explorer, has spent the last half-century trekking around the world, visiting over 50 countries, and he is still hungry for more.

Harris, 78, has traveled to all continents except Antarctica, as well as the Australian outback and Patagonia. The Louisiana-born explorer grew up in Queens, New York, and his parents sent him to a Boy Scout camp in the Catskill Mountains when he was a child.

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Harris was initially opposed to the idea, telling CNN Travel that he went to the camp kicking and screaming, but that the experience changed his life.

“I basically learned how to live outdoors,” Harris said.

“AND THE IDEA THAT I COULD JUST LIVE WITH WHATEVER WAS IN MY PACK WAS SUCH A DIFFERENT CONCEPT FROM THE LIFE I HAD IN NEW YORK CITY.” IT ENGAGED ME.”

In the 1950s, the explorer spent his youth traveling the country. His father worked as a long-distance train waiter, which allowed his family to travel at a reduced rate. Harris’ first solo adventure came after graduating in 1966, when he discovered the farthest north he could drive was Circle, Alaska. That prompted the explorer to pack his car and embark on the two-week journey.

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The beautiful scenery inspired him to become an explorer. Harris resolved to return home, purchase some trekking gear, and spend as much time as possible exploring remote locations.

Harris has traveled all over the world since then, including France, Spain, New Zealand, Canada’s Rocky Mountains, The Andes, and the European Alps. Harris was fascinated by the people who lived in remote areas. He stated that he learns as much as he can about their history, traditions, and way of life in order to figure out how to reach them and “just show up.”

“People can’t believe that somebody would come all the way from New York City alone, for no other reason than because they were curious about their culture and wanted to see it firsthand,” the explorer told CNN Travel.

Harris, who has documented his travels on social media and written a book, plans one long trip each year. He has visited all climates, including Greenland, Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, Glacier National Park in Montana, Death Valley in California, and the Sahara Desert in Africa.

The explorer claims that technology has made traveling much easier than in previous years, and that he has traveled alone for weeks at a time in the past.

“NOWADAYS WE HAVE GPS AND DEVICES WHERE YOU CAN CONTACT PEOPLE,” HARRIS TOLD CNN.

“But for most of my life in my career, I was going out before there was an internet, before there were satellite phones, and I’d be gone for weeks at a time with absolutely no way of contacting anybody.”

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Written by How Africa News

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