Amazing Life

By Alex Wilmot

A pensioner – who didn’t own a passport until he was 50 – now has a map of the world tattoo on his back to show every place he has visited in the last 17 years.

Former lawyer William Passman, 67, had never left the US but now has visited hundreds of places around the world.

William from Baton Rouge, LA, decided he wanted his first tattoo to represent his new found freedom and has a map of the world inked on his back.

The outline tattoo took three hours when he had it done in 2010 and now he has places coloured in every time he is back in America.

William Passman / CATERS NEWS 

William Passman / CATERS NEWS

“Last year I decided to get a few additional tattoos. What started as a couple of tattoos on my arms now has turned into a complete canvas of travel memories on my chest and side.

“I get mostly amazing reactions, especially from young backpackers.”

William decided to completely change his lifestyle when he hit his milestone 50th birthday.

He said: “It was December 2005 and I Googled where to travel at my age. Most of the results were to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in Africa.

“Climbing to the Summit of 5895 meters (19340 ft) would definitely be a challenge, so I booked the trip for March 2006 and my life completely changed.

“I’m still like a kid in a candy store. New places and new experience around every corner.”

To fund his travels, William sold everything he owned, including his home.

He has now visited all seven continents and has lost count of the amount of small islands he has been to.

William added: “I used to try and count and at one point there were at least 110 countries. I have visited all  7 Wonders of the World and Greenland. I visited so many Islands such as the Maldives, Seychelles,  Fiji etc but those are all too small to place on my tattoo”

He travels as cheaply as possible, often staying in hostels.

He said: “I enjoy dorms, I love the energy young travellers have and the opportunity to share information with them.”

But despite selling up, William still needed to work and said flights are the biggest expense.

Around eight years ago, his funds were running low so he decided to tour guide a group of people across Europe.

He said: “The opportunity to see so many places and cultures has been the greatest education and solidifies my belief that too much emphasis  is placed on money and possessions.”

Asked if he could choose a favourite place, he said: “My favourite country has been Guatemala since the 1st time I visited in 2010.

“The Mayan ruins of Tikal amazed me when I saw them and the colonial city of Antigua with its cobblestone  streets is special.

“But I was Lake Atitlan that captured my heart.

“Described as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and its surrounded by three volcanoes. A hotel on the Lake is only $10-15 per night so I spend 6-8 weeks there every year. The Guatemalan people are just about the nicest people I’ve ever met.”

He added: “Ireland is a close second as I love the pub culture, Irish music and stunning Irish scenery. I visit every year.”

Williams highlights include climbing Kilimanjaro, hiking in the Himalayas and visiting the seven wonders of the world.

He also listed learning to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef,  seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska and sky diving in the Swiss mountains.

The explorer did stumble across places he didn’t like, including Vietnam and blamed people in tourist areas that tried to cheat him out of money.

William said: “I will probably give it another chance, possibly in more remote villages and away from the touristy places.

“I plan on traveling the majority of my life but I have grandchildren that will always have me returning home for several months a year.”

The traveller is currently enjoying a five month trip around Europe.

He said: “I was excited to get into Italy before tourism gets too crowded. I’m working as a guide in Greece in July going to Ireland in October.

“I hope that 2022 will be my year to concentrate on South America again and I hope to self- publish a book by end of the year, detailing my greatest adventures.”

You can follow Williams adventures or @worldtattootraveler