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How Many Countries Have You Been To?

It’s something that people get obsessed with – counting the countries they have visited.  It used to be that you wanted to get to 100 – that would be amazing.  But no …. There is an even higher goal – VISIT EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!  Can you imagine?  Is that even possible.  Well apparently it is.  When you start thinking about countries you shouldn’t visit – because of restrictions or wars – it is amazing to think that some people have in fact visited every country in the world.  CNN reported that Patrick Gilliland has done this and believe it or not he actually did visit N. Korea.   He chose to do that during a time when relations with the US were a bit better.

It got me thinking – if this is your goal what do you do about countries where the Canadian Government says do not visit.  If you do go you won’t get any insurance coverage – there I go – ultra cautious all the time.  I am sure these intrepid travellers did not think this way.  Imagine if Christopher Columbus had said – Well heck – if I fall off the edge of the world then I won’t be able to claim on my insurance.

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So have you counted up the countries you have visited?  And did you cheat?  By cheating I mean adding countries where you just did a touch down to change planes.  THAT DOES NOT COUNT!


Apparently there are 195 UN recognised territories or countries.  So that’s a lot of travelling to be done.  And many of those who have achieved that number or near to that number feel that the competitive spirit of trying to outdo other people in this race to visit all countries takes away from the achievement in that generally those people will be from first world countries and will have access to a lifestyle and economic comfort that enables them to do this kind of travel.

I am just happy to travel.  When someone asked me to start counting up countries I think I cam to about 80.  Wow – I surprised myself.  Mind you – having lived in Southern Africa I got to visit a few off the map places such as Seychelles, Comores, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zimbabwe …. To name but a few.

But one thing I really don’t want to do is go on a trip where “If this is Thursday this must be Belgium”  😊

How about you?


One Response

  1. I agree with your last sentence, however does driving through a country count? On our first trip to Europe before the Euro, we arrived in Amsterdam, saw Amsterdam and the area, rented a car and headed south. We drove straight through Belgium to France without stopping and never had any Belgium francs. We returned to Netherland via Luxembourg and again we didn’t stop in Belgium. We probably will visit Belgium next year as it is on our list to visit Bruges and Ghent.
    Your Blog got me thinking and fact checking. Some of the 195 UN recognized countries are very small with miniscule populations and politics seem to be involved. eg Taiwan is not recognized as a country, but Palestine is? A number of these UN recognized countries have less people than Calgary. Some ‘countries’ that I have visited, turn out not to be ‘countries’ but Territories eg Tahiti. Do we need an official to carefully review everyone’s list?
    There are so many places and countries to visit. Yes it is a 1st world problem or opportunity.

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The Travel Lady

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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