Remember that time Tom Koch fed hyenas?

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Remember that time Tom fed hyenas?!
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Tom Koch has had quite the journey across the country and the globe. Here, we take a look at some of the many places he's traveled.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Forty-six states and 39 countries -- that's how many different places ABC13 anchor Tom Koch has been over his lifetime and career.

Tom is getting ready to retire after nearly 40 years, and as part of his sendoff, we're looking back at one of his favorite hobbies: Travel.

As a journalist, Tom's job has taken him to destinations including Ethiopia, Rome, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, just to name a few.

But when he's off the clock, Tom travels just as much.

"We traveled a lot around the United States, and went to a lot of the national parks -- Grand Canyon, Acadia National Park, the Tetons, Yellowstone. Loved Canada -- went up to Banff and then Jasper," said Tom's wife Brenda Koch, a former reporter herself.

Brenda shares that she and Tom discovered they had a lust for travel once they met and started that journey back in 1985.

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Tom in London!

ICYMI: See Tom Koch's early reporting years before he arrived in Houston

They quickly included their daughters in the sightseeing, taking them from London to Paris, to Lyon, France, and Seville, Spain.

Then there was that time Tom fed hyenas. It was all captured in the ABC13 special "Cradle of Mankind," which focused on the journey to Ethiopia and the landmark Lucy fossil exhibit that made a rare visit to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

"Our tour guides knew of the 'hyena man,'" said Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, with the museum. "There's this guy with a stick who offered food to the hyenas."

Tuerenhout traveled with Tom and shared the memory of how hyena man "turned around and offered the opportunity to us, and some of us did, some of us did not, but Tom did!"

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Journey through Ethiopia with Tom!

Twenty years earlier, Tom toured with Pope John Paul II from Miami to South Carolina, New Orleans to San Antonio.

A year before that, Tom was in El Salvador during a devastating earthquake. It was there that he had a moment Brenda says he'd probably rather forget.

"The hotel had no room, so I think they got a broom closet with some mattresses in it, and at the end of the trip, he ended up getting bitten by a spider. He was very ill," she described.

So rule No. 1 if you're going to travel like Tom, make sure you're brave and ready for anything.

Hit play on the video above to watch Tom feed hyenas, then stick around for the video below to see four more things we've learned from Tom's travels over the years, including how to save big on trips.

5 tips we've learned from Tom Koch, the travel guru!

Whether your journey takes you across the city, across the state or across the globe, Tom's well-versed in that travel life! Here are some tips from our resident guru.