Even giraffes are falling for him.
At a time when international travel has become more accessible than ever, a broad range of adventurers have set out to map the world, with plenty of ambitious travelers looking to see dozens of countries before they turn 30.
One 27-year-old is going after an unusual record: He wants to be the first person to play the bagpipes in every country in the world.
He was inspired to travel, and promptly quit his job and booked his first trip, to Tunisia.
Can't say I've ever had an Arab man tune my pipes, but there's a first for everything! 😮 I was piping at the Inland Sea in Qatar (as you do!), which marks the border between Saudi and Qatar, when a ginormous 4x4 launched over a dune in front of me. The car skidded to a stop and out popped this Qatari man here. As he marched towards me I stopped, for fear that he was about to absolutely bollock me for piping near the border, and he just shouted "YALLA, AGAIN!" I piped up again and he moved even closer, with his ear turned towards the bagpipes. He looked at me and calmly said "they're slightly out of tune." I stopped and responded with a "how can you even hear that?!" and he replied with a casual "Oh, I'm part of the Qatari pipe band, LOL" and he then proceeded to tune the drones as I played again. WHAT?! 🇶🇦 #QatariPipers #Whatjusthappened #VisitQatar
The Scottish lad has been playing bagpipes since he was 14, and he decided to bring his instrument with him wherever he went.
“Having a musical instrument has given me a different purpose to travel,” Jennings told Travel + Leisure. “People have opened up to me in a weird way, and I’ve opened up to them in a weird way.”
Despite the seeming cultural specificity of the Scottish bagpipes, Jennings says the instrument has helped him bridge gaps with people (and animals) from all over the world, in a process he calls “bagpipe diplomacy.”
Playing the bagpipes in Tunisia helped him win over security agents, and when he played a tune in a giraffe reserve in Kenya, the animals were so intrigued by the music that they came close enough for Jennings to feed them by hand.
So far the Scot has been to 60 countries. As he’s traveled to new places and met a range of people, achieving the record has taken a backseat to enjoying the pleasures of travel.
“The journey and individual experiences are more important,” he said. “I’m not just ticking off countries.”
Travelers and music-lovers can follow Jennings on his Instagram account where he goes by “The First Piper.”