Babis Bizas, a 64-year-old who was born Charalampos Bizas on the 16th of September 1954 in Epirus, Greece, is a travel writer, explorer, tour operator, and has gone into the Guinness Book of Records as “The most travelled person in the world.”
Bizas’ journeys have led him from one side of the world to the other and he participated in an expedition to the North Pole in May 1996. Almost 18 years later, in December 2014, he landed in the South Pole, becoming the only one Greek and one of a few to have visited both Poles.
“The journey to the South Pole had to be done. As others go to Agios Gerasimos to fulfill a vow, I felt it was my duty, as a Greek, to raise the Greek flag there, ” Babis’ said.
By 2004 Bizas had visited all 194 sovereign countries of the world at that time and is currently a member of the RGO (Russian Geographic Society).
As a university student, he travelled as a backpacker in Europe mostly hitchhiking and in 1977 he followed the stream of the young European travellers to India in his twenties.
He loved Afghanistan and was fascinated by Bangladesh. When the money was about to finish he found a job on one of the numerous Greek ships anchored in the port of Colombo in Sri Lanka and sailed to Mozambique, South Africa, and the United States. For the next 8 years, he was busy travelling as a tour leader. In 1987 when he had already travelled to all the known tourist destinations, he decided to slow down his trips for a while to concentrate on planning and organising new tours for small groups and he then created The Cultural Tours, beginning with Cambodia and Vietnam (but not Laos at that time yet) where he led the first group.
Soon, the countries of West Africa like Chad, Nigeria, and Guinea Bissau followed, where the locals saw for the first time such a number of people traveling together. In a couple of years, the Cultural Tours became a hit.
Babis has travelled numerous times to Antarctica, visited the remote Islands of the Aleutian Chain in Alaska, and explored the off beaten track islands of the Pacific. But his passion was the tribal areas of Africa and Asia where old cultures and traditions are still alive.
He has spent time with the Himbas in northern Namibia, loved and been loved by the Hamers in South Ethiopia, met with the Bela in Niger and escorted the first visitors to the tribal areas of the Apatanis in Arounachal Pradesh and to the mountain areas of Southern China. It comes as no surprise the National Geographic has described him as “The most travelled person in the world”.
The tours Babis plans and organises are completely booked months ahead and no two tours in the same country are ever alike. Every time he returns from a trip something different is added to the next one.
Although he lives in Athens, he is away from his home for more than 300 days a year, exploring new areas of the world. Babis’ tour groups mainly consist of Greeks but has been joined by expats who live in Athens or travellers who came from as far as Australia, Taiwan, Mauritius, and the USA.
Something tells us Babis is in no hurry to slow down with his travels either!