Sam Goodwin: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Sam Goodwin was captured in Syria in a quest to visit every country in the world. He was released to his family, they announced Friday.

Goodwin, 30, is from St. Louis, Missouri. He was a world traveler with a goal of visiting every country in one year. He only had 10 to go when he disappeared, according to his website.

“The best and most credible information available suggests that only ≈100 people have ever done this, and possibly fewer than 10 by age 30 or younger,” he wrote.

He was held captive for two months in Syria.

Goodwin was last seen on security cameras May 25 as he headed toward a regime-controlled area, a Kurdish security official told The Washington Post. He had been staying at the Assia hotel in the city of Qamishli.

There were limited details released on Goodwin’s capture and his condition. His family released a statement saying he was healthy.

Goodwin’s release was negotiated by Lebanon’s security chief Abbas Ibrahim, who mediated the release with Syria.

“We are grateful to be reunited with our son Sam,” his parents, Thomas and Ann Goodwin, said in the statement. “Sam is healthy and with his family. We are forever indebted to Lebanese General Abbas Ibrahim and to all others who helped secure the release of our son.”

“Right now, we appreciate our privacy as we reconnect with Sam,” they added.

Here’s what you need to know:


Goodwin Was Held Captive In Syria for 62 Days

Sam Goodwin was last seen on a security camera when he left the Assia hotel in the city of Qamishli headed toward a regime-controlled neighborhood. Goodwin was held captive for 62 days.

The details of his capture were not immediately released. His family said Lebanese officials negotiated the release. They said Goodwin was healthy.

In his last post on Instagram, Goodwin wrote, “The Jewel” is the latest addition to Singapore’s long list of architectural spectacles. I was fortunate to call this tiny city-state home for six amazing years (2012 to 2018) as I began my professional career. Of course, being based in Singapore was also a hugely instrumental piece to my travels. Who agrees that it is one of the best cities in the world?”


Sam Goodwin Was On A Quest to See Every Country in the World

Goodwin was on a quest to visit every country in the world when he was taken captive in Syria. He had only 10 countries left to visit.

He wrote on his website he was “an American expat, entrepreneur, former Division I athlete and world traveler.” He lived in Dubai and Singapore for seven years and decided to visit all 193 countries in the world within one year.

“The best and most credible information available suggests that only ≈100 people have ever done this, and possibly fewer than 10 by age 30 or younger,” he wrote.

He recalled paragliding over Queenstown, tracking white rhinoceroses on foot in Swaziland, a New Year’s Eve party on a boat in Iran, running with bulls in Pamplona, coaching North Korea’s National Hockey Team, riding all-terrain vehicles across the Sahara Desert, co-founding an non-government organization in the Philippines, swimming with sea lions in the Galápagos, hosting a volleyball camp in Afghanistan, motorbiking through street protests in Haiti and flying in a prop plane over Mount Everest. He was a 2017 inductee to the Travelers’ Century Club and visited all 50 states in the United States as of August 2018.

“Dozens of tradeoffs have allowed me to consistently prioritize travel and I couldn’t be more grateful for the perspective on the world I’ve developed through my experiences. Aside from a personal database of the highlights and lowlights, I hope to inspire and help YOU get out and shape your views,” he wrote.

His website indicates the only remaining countries he had left to visit were Greenland, Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, French Guiana, Western Sahara and Svalbard and Jan Mayen.

He documented stories of his travels on his website and compiled Top 10 lists.


He Was Released to His Family, Who Said He Is Healthy

Sam Goodwin, 30, was released to his family following negotiations between Lebanese and Syrian officials. His family released a statement Friday announcing his safe return and asking for privacy. The mediation was completed by Lebanese General Abbas Ibrahim.

“We are grateful to be reunited with our son Sam,” the family said. “Sam is healthy and with his family. We are forever indebted to Lebanese General Abbas Ibrahim and to all others who helped secure the release of our son.”

“Right now, we appreciate our privacy as we reconnect with Sam,” the added.


Few Details Were Released On His Capture & Condition

Few details were released on the capture and condition of Sam Goodwin. His capture was not publicly announced until his release Friday. In the time he was missing, his family was in contact with Lebanese officials, who mediated the release of the 30 year old from St. Louis, Missouri.

It is common for families of people captured in Syria to remain quiet about the capture while negotiations take place. For that reason, it is unclear how many Americans are held captive in Syria.

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation tweeted Friday they were “rejoicing” over the release of Goodwin. Foley was an American freelance journalist who was covering the civil war in Syria when he was captured November 22, 2012 and later executed.

“We rejoice with the release of American Sam Goodwin from #Syria! We are grateful to all who helped free him & remember the hundreds of innocent Americans who remain captive around the world #FreeAustinTice @FreeMajdK @FreeCitgo6 #FreeIranianHostages” the tweet said.


Other Americans Are Being Held Captive In Syria

Americans are still being held captive in Syria. The exact number of American captives in Syria is unknown because families often keep quiet about the capture while negotiations are underway, and the exact number is classified information. Sam Goodwin’s capture was not publicly announced until his release.

The Washington Post estimates six Americans are currently held captive in Syria.

Among the Americans missing in Syria are Austin Tice, a freelance journalist who was last seen at a checkpoint while working in a rebel-held area near Damascus. His parents, Debra and Marc Tice, believe their son is still alive. Officials are working on the case.

Majd Kamalmaz, a Syrian-American therapist, is also believed to be among those held by the government in Syria. His family held a rally in front of the White House to raise awareness about his capture. He has been missing for more than two years.

The family tweeted in March following a rally, writing, “Thank you to everyone who braved the rain and cold to come stand and honor Majd, share your memories and fight for his safe return”

Layla Shweikani, of Illinois, died in captivity when she traveled to Syria to render humanitarian aid during Syria’s civil war. Officials believe Shweikani, who is of Syrian decent, was tortured and executed.


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