Three times around the world: the interview

Three times around the world:

  1. Gap Year
  2. The first ever RTW with no money or luggage
  3. First ever Interactive RTW Tour

It’s always a pleasure to know and meet other travellers, especially when it comes to people who have turned their hobby into a business just like Matteo Pennacchi.

Italian by birth, Matteo moved to South Africa when he was only two months old. Since then he has travelled across five continents, visiting 50 countries and relocating 22 times.

In 1993, after graduating from university in France, he took a Gap year completing the first of his three world tours. Then after contract of employment with the United Nations – UNESCO and in 1998 he completed his first Round the World without money or luggage – and published a book in several countries about his experiences.

Afterwards Matteo combine his love of travel and worked for many years in the tourism industry, for various luxury Tour Operators and hotel chains including Oberoi Hotels or Fairmont.

1) Where are you at the moment?

In Palermo, Sicily I’m taking part in a road show for the South African Tourism Board.

2) How when did you come to decision to take your first RTW?

After graduating in France, in Global Communication, instead of buying motorcycles, and as a reward for graduation, I decided to invest in experiences, and what better way  to do exactly that – than to go on a World Tour with my best friend for 9 months.

3) And what made you decide to continue travelling and do another two RTWT?

The desire to accumulate experiences and the desire to discover and learn about the greatest work of God, and our wonderful Planet.

4) What companies have you worked for in the travel industry?

I worked in advertising, then in tourism (for Italian luxury and adventure Tour Operator, Viaggi dell’Elefante and Kel12) then represented hotel chains (like Oberoi Hotels and Fairmonts) and today I represent Italy in 20 countries for Kuoni Destination Management (including Africa Middle East and India).

5) You’ve travelled a lot for work: what differentiates a business trip from one of “pleasure”?

When it’s for leisure you don’t have scheduled appointments

6) In which country did you feel most at home ?


7) Have you had an embarrassing moments during any of your trips?

When I ended at the police station for 3 days in Polynesia (for taking a catamaran from one island to another)

8.) What is  your interpretation  of being an independent traveller?

Having a guide that is local to the area.

9) Can you explain what you mean by this comment  “travel is the best school of life”?

Travelling is a mental attitude that brings you to live with intensity and an open mind to whatever situations you find yourself in. It may be at 10.000km away from your home, or just outside your front door.

10) Which type of people would you recommend going on a RTWT?  Are there age limits’ or other impediments in your opinion?

Three categories:

  • Graduates for a Gap year
  • Honeymooners
  • Over 65 who have time and money to travel the world

5 quick fire questions

  • Your favourite dish – grilled prawns, eaten with the hands on the beach
  • Most exotic food you’ve tried – China Dog and Cobra in a night market in Indonesia
  • Most magical moment – it will be tomorrow … … (but also spent the night alone on the Great Wall of China)
  • Most Memorable place – difficult to answer, but perhaps New Zealand when I first came up with the idea to go Around the World Without Money.
  • Best item that you’ve taken on a trip – … objects come and go. For me, Experiences are the only true treasure.

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