I am starting to realize that a lot of travelers are in to counting how many countries they have visited. I’m all for travel goals, and if this inspires you I think that’s great. There’s even a club for people who have visited more than 100 countries: the Travelers’ Century Club. I’ve never counted my total countries, but in my living room I do proudly display a world travel map with pins of where I’ve been. (You can get one of these here, though I think a few other vendors offered improved versions of this concept.)
I recently heard a talk by Chris Guillebeau who spend 10 years visiting all of the countries in the world, and in tackling this goal he also accomplished a lot of other things and has launched a career based on his experience. I think I’m more inspired by really getting to know a country and experiencing the culture and diverse aspects of my destination than by hitting lots of different countries quickly. However I do have an ongoing goal to visit new and interesting places.
I used the Matador travel map to see how many countries I’ve visited after a friend sent me the link. This isn’t as easy as I thought, it took 5 iterations before I’m pretty sure I included all the countries I’ve visited. It turns out I’ve gotten around quite a bit! I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to enjoy this much travel.
Brunei is a bit of a cheat: I had to transfer through there to get to Mulu National Park in Malaysia. And I think I spent all of a half day in Belgium once. Also, I’m not sure visiting one small Greek island for 2 nights should really give me Greece. But otherwise I’ve spent enough time in the countries on here to feel good about counting my visits.
When I look at my plans for 2015 I expect to add a few more: Myanmar, Iceland, and maybe somewhere new in Central America. But I’m also going back to places I haven’t fully explored: more remote parts of Laos, mainland Malaysia, parts of Europe, and probably a few other spots too. Looking at the map, I most aspire to add more of South America to my travel experiences. And I’d love to explore more of Africa. I pick my destinations based on whatever compels me: visiting a friend, an interesting home exchange, an event I want to attend.
How many countries have you visited?