At 32, Lee Abbamonte became the first person to visit every country in the world when he landed in Libya. He's in Seattle this month for the annual Wine, Women and Shoes event. Where spoke with Lee about his travels and what he loves about Seattle. Check out the record of his travels at leeabbamonte.com.
You’ve been to every country, but have you visited every state?
Yeah. My new thing is all the national parks.
You’re in town for Wine, Women and Shoes, which is raising money for Olive Crest—how did you get involved with the event?
My friend Jen Jedda [owner of JJ Caprices and partner with the event], who follows me on social media, she came to a meet-up I had in Mukilteo. We got along and we stayed in touch and she invited me along to do this charity thing.
Seattle made your 30 Most Beautiful Cities in the World list—what is it about Seattle that put it on the list?
Seattle is a beautiful 56 place. You can’t really deny that, especially in the summer. If you get out on Puget Sound and do a boat ride, that view looking back toward the city and on the clear days when you can see Mount Rainier in the back— that’s pretty special. The Pacific Northwest is probably the most underrated part of America. Seattle being the biggest city there really does a pretty good job.
You’ve been to Seattle multiple times. Why is it worth coming back?
It’s a beautiful city, there I would recommend going [to Seattle] for sure. Taking a boat tour in Puget Sound without question. Checking out the [Pike Place] Market taking your photo in front of the first Starbucks, the usual tourist stuff. Going to a sports event or a University of Washington game in the stadium they just remodeled. Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier are both worth for sure going to—maybe doing two days in the city If I had to pick one, I would probably say Mount Rainier just because it’ll stick with you the most. It’s so beautiful and Mount Rainier is such a landmark, so to speak.
Is there any place left on your travel wish list?
There’s always places left. That’s the thing about travel. It’s kind of like golf. It’s a hobby you can have your whole life. In terms of new places, trying to go back to new places or places in a country I didn’t go to the first time or the 10th time. I want to climb the tallest peak on each continent. I’ve done two of the seven.
Are you a carry-on only person?
Carry-on only. I’m a bit of a packing snob. Checking [bags] stresses me out.
Best piece of travel advice you’ve picked up through the years.
Take half the clothes and twice the money.
Mount Rainier National Park