Former ARC student hikes the globe

High school teacher nears goal of traveling to every country in the world


Asher attends a coming-of-age ceremony in Vanuatu, an island country off the eastern coast of Australia. He was introduced to the community through his friend in the Peace Corps. (Photo courtesy of Brian Asher)

Former American River College student Brian Asher is on a quest to travel to every country in the world–and he’s close.

In his travels, Asher has seen a total of 195 countries already, with only North Korea and Taiwan left.

While hiking the globe, Asher films with both his iPhone X and a DJI drone and often publishes on his YouTube channel and website: The World Hiker.

“The goal is to share my story and inspire people and have it turn into some kind of a part or full-time job,” Asher said. “Whether it’s speaking to people, videos, photography, or taking trips and adventure tourism, the net is spread pretty wide.”

Asher didn’t always plan to travel abroad. His first experience outside of the United States was couch surfing in Costa Rica during his junior year of college at California State University, Sacramento.

Couch surfing, or staying at someone’s house for little to no cost, was first introduced to him by his younger brother, Mark. 

His brother completed courses through AP Spanish and became president of the Spanish Club in high school. He then got his feet wet when he traveled abroad to Peru. 

“It was never a part of our family’s life growing up,” Asher said. “We never thought about going abroad.”

Asher’s brother showed him what are now his other passions in life, including but not limited to: hiking, running, the outdoors, and teaching. 

Mark Asher unexpectedly passed away in 2013 at the age of 25 from heart failure.

“The key pillars of my life, he introduced me to,” Asher said. “I felt like if I go forward in these areas I’m living the best life I can for the two of us.”

Asher says his brother’s passing was hard for him, and even though he always tries to focus on the positive, he almost let it consume him. He says he would sometimes feel sorry for himself and almost cited his circumstances as a reason to not achieve his dreams.

“Sometimes from our biggest challenges and hardships, we’re forced to learn a lesson,” he said.

When he isn’t trekking the globe, Asher teaches Spanish and economics classes at Rio Americano High School in Carmichael.

According to Asher, he tries his best to ensure his students know they can come to him, if not for traveling advice, for general life help and guidance as well.

American River College history major Zachary Lewin graduated from Rio in 2017. While he attended, he took both of Asher’s classes.

“I think the best thing Mr. Asher does as a teacher is relate to the student as a friend and mentor as well. I would participate in his class, then go play basketball with him after school,” Lewin said.

On a recent morning before the campus shut down, during the students’ 15-minute break between classes, Asher was visited by a student who needed his signature on some transfer papers. 

The student was moving to a new school and leaving Rio Americano. Asher asked if this was something they really wanted and the student admitted they would prefer to stay at Rio, but the decision wasn’t theirs to make. Asher embraced the student and said they would be OK as long as they continue to apply themselves in everything they do and encouraged them to reach out if they needed anything.

This is just one example of the tender, love and care Asher shows his students. 

“Mr. Asher is a very involved teacher, what I mean is he exemplifies the notion of truly caring about student success,” Lewin said. “Whether that be one-on-one instruction during class or after, I always knew Mr. Asher would help me make the next step.”