World’s Most Traveled: Jose Megre – The Father of All Terrain

Jose Megre was a world traveler and adventurer seeker, who spent over 50 years traveling the globe. Most of which was done by either organizing or participating in trans continental automobile rallies. Jose wasn’t what you would call a travel purist in the sense on Andre Brugiroux or Heinz Stücke, but Jose did it his own way.

World Travel Map of Jose Megre

The dromomaniac series of world travelers I write about here at DigiDrift, are all written about very unique individuals, and I place Jose in the group as well.

He never spent years on the road hitchhiking his way around the globe like Andre, or on a fifty year cycling tour (with no end in sight) of the globe like Heinz, but Jose was not just another rich man jumping on and off planes, and counting stamps in his passport. He was a true adventure seeker, that had a passion of overland travel.

These adventures have seen him drive almost 1 million kilometers (mostly in 4×4 vehicles) in just about every region of the planet. He is know as ‘The Father of All Terrain’, and is held in high regard in his homeland of Portugal.

Jose Megre – The Farther of All Terrain

Jose Megre on his tour of Antartica

Jose Megre on his tour of Antartica

Jose was born in Lisbon Portugal in 1942, and was always been seen as a practical man. This would be attributed to his mechanical engineering course that he completed in London between the years on 1963 to 1966, where his specialization was automotive. These skills learned at an early age have no doubt helped Jose out of many obscure situations he has found himself in over the years, during his lifetime of transcontinental rally driving.

During these rallies Jose would spend a great part of his life driving through some of the harshest environments on earth. He first raced in the Paris to Dakar Rally in 1981 (I’m not going to get into the politics of this race here, but it has had it’s problems and some see it as a burden on the local people where the race runs through many small village environments. There was also the death of the three villagers in 1998, and many from the Saharan Africa region are probably quite glad it’s moved to South America).

Jose Megre Made 15 Crossing of The Sahara (via 6 different routes)

Jose also spent many years in Africa, and has personally crossed the Sahara 15 times, via 6 different routes. Besides racing in the Dakar, Jose organized many trans continental rallies himself. He also twice competed in the Atlantic to Pacific from Peking to Paris Rally, and also crossed Asia on the Trans Siberian Railway.

It wasn’t until later in life that he actually began to quantify the vast number of countries that he had actually visited. When that number grew to over 130, he decided he would make it his life ambition to see the rest of the world. In 2006 he set out to visit the remaining countries he missed during his many years of overland adventures.

Jose was not the type who liked to visit a country solely for a quick stamp in the passport, and soon leave. Once in a country he would spend his time, and on most occasions would drive vast distances in these countries, and seeing area’s that few travelers do.

In the end Jose Megre visited 191 of the 192 United Nation Member States. The sole country that Jose missed on visiting was Iraq. It’s sad to say the Jose Megre will never set foot in Iraq because he sadly passed away in February of 2009, at age 66.

Sadly Jose Will Never Make The Final Trip To Iraq

A Comemorative Plarque to Jose Megre

A commemorative plaque to Jose Megre, celebrating his life of overland travel (image by Manuela Barreto).

It wasn’t through lack of trying to get to Iraq either, as he’d planned the visit several times, but due to his worsening health, he had to postpone. I suppose Jose has a sense of humor as well, as he released a book titled ‘Como Eu Vi Todos Os Paises Do Mundo - (Minos Un)’ or loosely translated to ‘ As I saw all the countries of the world (minus one)’.

Studying Jose’s world map, you can see the vast number of overland journeys he has undertaken (pay special attention to the crossing of the Sahara). To commemorate his life, the Municipality of Penamacor in his home nation of Portugal also created a plaque in his honor, crafted from ceramic tiles and depicting all of his overland journeys.

Jose Megre was in my opinion a true adventure seeker. As he grew older he refused to slow down and tread water like most, instead he kept on swimming against life’s currents in pursuit of his passion. He fell short by 1 trip of achieving his life’s ambition. RIP Jose Megre a true adventurer, and now dromomaniac here at

For a great slideshow of Jose Megre’s life of travel you can visit this site, or you can go to Jose’s personal site for a little more detail on his overland adventures here.

Your Thoughts and Comments?

Do you consider Jose Megre’s style of travel a worthy inductee into the Dromomaniac series? Has anyone out there competed in one of these trans continental overland rallies?

(Researching Jose Megre was quite difficult as most of what is written about him is in Portuguese. Although I gave Google translate a good workout, it’s not a perfect beast and does have it’s problems.)


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     About the author

Jason has traveled the world extensively during the last 20 years, with overland journeys on six continents and across over 90 countries. This site serves as a chronicle of the images and tales from these journeys, as well as offering advice and general information for other like minded travelers.

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  • Cumidanciki

    Absolutely agree that Jose Megre is a worthy inductee into the Dromomaniac series! Takes a lot of guts to keep going right up till the bitter end! I hope to be so inspiring one day:D

  • Andi Perullo

    I will see Iraq for him and do it in his honor! :)

  • Jason

    Hey Ciki, I reckon your spot on when you say he kept going to the bitter end. I have watched a couple of interviews on youtube, and I know he was desparate to get to Iraq. In the end his health would just not let him do it.

  • Jason

    Hey Andi, If you ever make it there, then a quick thought to Jose would be great. As pointed above, he always drove a vehicle when he visited a country. You might be able to take a left over tank for a bit of a spin. lol….Thanks for stopping by.

  • Dave from The Longest Way Home

    I took my time in reading this. And, enjoyed every moment of it. Once on my phone on a bus, and once on my laptop. A great find, and a great read.

    Excellent story about Jose, a great traveler that makes others pale in comparison. And such an ending. People like this are rarely heard about today. I am glad you have highlighted Jose to your readers. I might just have to do the same later in the year. The man deserves as much recognition for his accomplishments as possible. And, it is good to see his country recognize him with that memorial!

    He simply did what he wanted to do. Something no one else could. There are many people, claiming many numbers these days, but they fail compared to someone like Jose.

    Well done for Jason, top notch find.

  • Jason

    Hey Dave, Glad you enjoyed it, as I know I did enjoy reading about his life whilst researching this post. I think the language barrier’s of many differnt nations sheilds us from many inspiration charachters in all walks of life, and if Jose was from an English speaking nation, he would have been more well lnown.

    I think that’s right with people claiming different numbers, here or there. To accomplish something like what Jose has done takes a lifetime, and not something that can be done in a few years. Just organizing overland journeys through many of these countries would have taken a great part of his life, and thats no exaggeration either.

    Once again, glad you enjoyed it and do spread the word on Jose. It’s a story that needs to be told. Once again, thanks for your comment Dave.

  • Erica Kuschel

    This is by far my most favorite part of your blog. While your photography is always phenomenal, I always leave feeling so inspired!

  • Jason

    Hey Erica, I’m glad you like the Dromomaniac posts, as I also enjoy researching and writing about these extraordinary people. They are sometimes hard to find, but there’s many stories such as Jose Megre’s out there, and need to be told.

  • Steve

    I always get inspired by the entries you have in this series. He really had an adventurous life and story. It’s too bad that he didn’t make it to every country, but missing only one is still an amazing achievement. And I’m glad he didn’t just go to countries for the passport stamp. I know many people who quickly pass over a border for the stamp just to spend an hour and then cross back so they can tell everyone they’ve been there.

    I’m glad that his country recognized him with that memorial. He deserves it.

  • Dave from The Longest Way Home

    Hey Jason, the saddest part of all this, at least to me, is not only did he die relatively young, but it was his health that stopped him. Nothing to do with much else, bar war, and politics.

    You can control many things, but unless you are a smoker, heavy drinker and or are eating some seriously bad things, there’s little you can do about a failing health problem.

    I hope Jose did went out the way he wanted too.

  • Jason

    I think he traveled to a point close to his death, and tried to get to Iraq on a few occasions, but his health just wouldn’t let him. It’s one thing I have began to cherish allot more as I get older, and that’s my health. Without it, I can’t achieve the things in life I wish to achieve.

  • Jason

    Hey Steve, Glad your inspired by people such as Jose Megre. He had a great life, and even though it was cut a little short, he still achieved more than most in his 66 years.

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