.mc4wp-form input{ display:inline-block; margin-left:0; margin-right: 0; -box-sizing: border-box; }

«

»

Sep 09

Print this Post

Setting a Goal to Travel to Every Country: Is It for You?

I was six when I realized I was unusual. On my first day of school back in my New Jersey hometown, I became instantly popular when they heard my Australian accent.  I discovered that I was the only one on the playground who had been overseas and my new friends wanted to hear my stories about places they’d never been. Wonderful places.

So when my passport was stamped at London’s Heathrow Airport the summer I was 12, a dream was born: to travel to every country in the world.
travel the world

Travel to every country? What counts as a country?

It depends on who you ask, I guess. Over the years my concept of what constitutes “a country” has morphed from being whatever was on my Replogle globe as a child to the list of U.N. member states as a teen to the now 321 countries and territories that are on Travelers’ Century Club’s list.

Although the U.N. might say some are not actually countries in their own right, Travelers’ Century Club decided to include them on the list because they are removed from the parent country, either geographically, politically or ethnologically.  This makes sense.  Otherwise, if only members of the U.N. were included, ambitious destinations like Greenland, the Azores and Antarctica wouldn’t count.  Now, there are seven Antarctic regions and every emirate in the U.A.E. counts separately.

What counts as a visit?

Dan and I have had an ongoing debate as to what constitutes a “visit.” Should we count our 4-hour layover in Thailand or frantically running from one gate to another in Dubai?  One guy counted a bus ride through Albania; is that stretching it?

After a lengthy consideration as to how long one must remain in a country or territory to qualify, TCC finally decided that even the shortest visit would suffice — even if it is only a port-of-call or a fuel stop on a runway. They reasoned that it would greatly widen the field and give travelers a better chance to qualify for one of the most unusual clubs in the world. Anyone who has visited 100 or more of the places on their list is eligible to join. 

Guess I’ll let Dan win that one and cross a few more countries off my list.  We’ll be that much closer to membership. 🙂

Realistic, or not?

We have friends who have set grand goals like visiting 30 countries by the age of 30. That’s a good start, but at the rate of one new country a year, it would be impossible to visit them all in one lifetime.

Unless you’re Methuselah.

Kick it up a notch to one country per month and it’s possible to scratch them all off, though it will take over 26 years to do it.

At an average of one country per week it would take 6 years and 8 weeks to visit every place on TCC’s list (not counting the country you’re currently in).

Though it might seem that few besides ol’ Mr. Methuselah could check them all off in their lifetime, in reality quite a few have managed to qualify for and join TCC.  I suspect it’s because they set out to do it. Something like that is unlikely to be accidental.

Everyone has a dream. Sometimes, more than one.

The greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark. So why not try for something really impressive, like 100 countries in five years? Or set a different type of travel goal. Here are some ideas:

  • Set foot on all 7 continents
  • Visit all 50 United States
  • Do something in every county in your state/country.
  • See every Canadian province and territory by train
  • Visit all of Panama’s 9 territories and provinces
  • Visit every country in Central and South America

It’s healthy to have dreams and goals and even healthier to work to achieve them. They don’t even have to be about travel.  Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson showed that in The Bucket List.

What your goal is doesn’t matter, really, as long as you have at least one. For as Ernest Hemingway once said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

What about you, do you have any goals like that, or do you think the idea is pointless? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

(Visited 1,024 times, 1 visits today)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aswesawit.com/travel-to-every-country/

19 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    Being the one to do thirty by thirty (hitting #31 this winter), I can honestly say that I have zero desire to see every country in the world. My goal was to live abroad for a year, and I’ve been here for six. Living in Europe has major perks, one of which is having so much to see within a few hours on a train or plane. I’m beginning to slow down with travel as I start a business, but not before I hit Oktoberfest and go on a cruise with my family!

    Love your goals – you and Dan have accomplished loads already, so you have plenty to gloat about!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted…Spain Snapshots: Playa de las Catedrales, GaliciaMy Profile

    1. Linda

      You’re right: Living in Europe you can see so many different places easily. Dan and I would love to be able to live there and take advantage of the variety of cultures. And foods. You are very, very fortunate!

      Do you have a particular cruise in mind?

  2. Jennifer

    We have a goal to visit every European country. Also, I’d like to set foot on all 7 continents before I turn 35. Eventually I would like to see every country in the world.
    Jennifer recently posted…10 Fun Facts About Russia #gAdvRussiaMy Profile

    1. Linda

      I love your goal to visit every European country. How many do you have to go?

  3. Elizabeth Scott

    I think it would be amazing to travel. I really want to travel to Spain, Europe, and Australia. I live in the U.S. and there is so much I have not seen. So far where is the greatest place you have been? Which is one you wouldn’t want to go back?
    Elizabeth Scott recently posted…Bloggers Showcase: David SutoyoMy Profile

    1. Linda

      wow, that’s hard to answer. The greatest place I’ve ever been so far would probably be Israel, because of the food, the people, the history … I’ve fallen in love with Jerusalem for the scents of spices and flowers, the shouting in the markets, the variety of faiths and the mix of cultures. As for which one I wouldn’t go back to, perhaps Grand Cayman. There’s nothing wrong with the place, it’s just that it’s a small island and not as interesting as the other places we’ve visited. Dan’s been to Cozumel, Mexico, twice. The last time he went there he was disappointed that the island has been so built up that it’s now too commercial for his taste.

      Now I have a question for you: What is keeping you from traveling yourself? I think you’d love it … and by the way, it’s cheap to go to Spain from the US.

  4. Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    Sounds like an incredible goal! We agree that bucket lists are great for motivation and to push us forward, but we always try to remind ourselves that when it becomes just about checking things off the list instead of enjoying the experience then it is time to reevaluate. Visiting every country would be truly amazing though, if we had the time to do it! We tend to travel quite slowly, so I’m not sure we would ever have enough time! Good luck!
    Casey @ A Cruising Couple recently posted…Is Couchsurfing Still Right For Us?My Profile

    1. Linda

      You’re right about that. The whole point of traveling is to enjoy the country … or at least I think so … but I couldn’t quite find the right words to say so in the post.

      Where to next?

  5. Roni Faida

    I like the fact that I can say I’ve set foot on every continent. For me it’s more about making sure I travel as much as I can and I try to go to places that aren’t on everyone else’s bucket lists.

    I don’t have a bucket list, I don’t like those at all. I think it makes people rush through experiences instead of really experiencing them. My goal was to learn a foreign language by living in a foreign country and I did it twice and I’m proud of that.

    I don’t think the idea is pointless, I would never say someone else’s goal is pointless. For some people just going to see one foreign country is a goal, and I agree with you that as long as you have a goal and it’s achievable, then it’s a good one.
    Roni Faida recently posted…My VRBO Rental In SeattleMy Profile

    1. Linda

      I like your attitude.

  6. Mike

    I absolutely LOVED this post, Linda! It totally hit home for me. I will be getting a late start in life traveling outside the U.S. (I’ve been to Mexico, Canada and Hawaii) when I retire in a few years. And this post nailed it perfectly as to some of the things that have gone through my mind constantly. I just watched The Bucket List for the 4th time a few weeks ago, ironically. You mentioned visiting all 50 states and setting foot on all 7 continents….and that is great starting point for me. Thank you….this was just terrific. Safe travels to you! 🙂
    Mike recently posted…My Top 10 +1 Favorite Tom Hanks MoviesMy Profile

    1. Linda

      Thank you for the compliments, Mike! I hope you can fit in some states while you’re waiting to retire. How many have you visited so far?

  7. Jules

    Love this! I have a vague intention in my mind of visiting every single country in the world but have never really thought seriously about it on whether it was possible. I have a world map poster on my wall at home which you can scratch out to show countries you have visited. I’ve done a lot of Europe but looking at the world as a whole, I’ve got a lot to go! Really enjoyed this post! All the best for your travels guys. 🙂
    Jules recently posted…How Do You Squeeze Australia Into 2.5 Weeks?My Profile

    1. Linda

      Thanks Jules. Love the idea of a scratch-off map. How much of Europe have you scratched so far?

  8. Anna

    Great post! I am almost 30 and my goal was to visit 45 countries before then according to booked flights I will be at least at 47! As per every country, due to security and visa’s it’s almost impossible to do so for a lot of people due to their passports. Therefore, I made a list when I started travelling at 18 which covers about 75 countries however, the more I travel the more I realize that I haven’t seen all the places I wanted to see in certain countries, while other countries a few days or even hours is enough. While I love making lists and set goals I constantly change it and as long as you keep travelling well that’s all that matters!

    1. Linda

      You deserve a pat on the back. Most people don’t even set goals, and here you’ve accomplished quite an impressive one. I’m curious as to which countries weren’t worth visiting for more than a few hours?

      1. Anna

        I would say Andorra, Liechtenstein they are small… Also some Caribbean countries are similar to each other so a few hours would be enough while other cities will need at least a few days to discover…
        Anna recently posted…20 Reasons to Travel SoloMy Profile

  9. [email protected]

    Absolutely great blog and inspiration on Bucket List Travel. I actually started my company from this exact idea. I was running a successful headhunting firm for years and travelling with my family every chance we could. We ticked off so many bucket list items that i wanted to add more and more. And then it came to me. I love travel, i love helping people and realizing goals. Why not put a company together that allowed me to do what I love and help others do what they have always wanted. So Blaycation Your Bucket List Vacation was formed. http://blaycation.com we help people realize their dreams and put amazing experiential travel adventures together and I love every minute of my new career. The journey is only the beginning.

    1. Linda

      Totally agree, Mark: The journey is only the beginning. Checking things off a list is fun, but the real enjoyment comes once you’ve had a chance to experience it. On As We Saw It, we like to give people a taste of what a place has to offer and then let them expand from there. As wonderful as it can be to spend a day or two in a place, the true enjoyment comes when you get “down and dirty” in a place.

      Which is not to say that checking things off of a bucket list doesn’t have value. It absolutely does. How else can you do everything you’ve dreamed of?

Comments have been disabled.

47 Shares
Tweet47
Flip
+1
Share
Pin
Stumble