After losing a close friend and many of his co-workers in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers, Lee Abbamonte found purpose in travel. Known as the “Marco Polo of the 21st Century,” Abbamonte has seen it all — literally.

His website boasts that he is one of the most traveled people in the world, having visited 321 countries, been to the North and South Poles, and even been to every U.S. state at least three times.

“Some of my extreme traveling highlights include hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro, dodging bullets in the Libyan civil war, conquering the world’s highest bungee jump in South Africa, tracking silverback gorillas in Rwanda, summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, playing golf in Afghanistan during the war, going on safari in the Serengeti and white-water rafting down the level-five rapids of the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe,” Abbamonte wrote on the website.

After retiring from his finance job in 2002, he made traveling his full-time occupation and has documented his favorite locations and experiences in the U.S. and abroad. In a recent Instagram post, he ranked the states in order — and Utah came in at No. 3:

  1. California.
  2. Colorado.
  3. Utah.
  4. Arizona.
  5. Hawaii.

Although California has more national parks than any other state, Abbamonte told Business Insider that Utah’s uniqueness is its natural beauty.

“Utah, for me, is pure nature,” he said. “It’s very pleasant and scenic.” He emphasized that Salt Lake City was lovely and he felt very safe while visiting the state.

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