How Many Nations Have I Been to? Why You Ought to [NOT] Rely

Worldwide journey has been an enormous a part of my life for a few years and I’m usually launched as a “world traveller.” As a rule the primary query following the introduction is, “Soooo, what number of international locations have you ever been to?” adopted by, “who takes all of your photographs on Instagram?”

Spoiler alert: I received’t be answering both of these journey questions beneath. However, right here’s some meals for thought that I believe you’d discover much more fascinating and why I believe you shouldn’t be too bothered with what number of international locations you, I or anybody has been to.

How many countries have you been to

What number of international locations have I been to? Let me inform you why you shouldn’t preserve depend.

Journey lovers

I’m all for individuals who have quite a lot of locations they need to expertise.

Hell, I used to be like this. As soon as.

Go on the market and see the w-h-o-l-e world

However over time, with expertise travelling, I’ve realized that going to locations simply to tick off some record is superficial and beginner and never only a massive injustice to the vacation spot, however extra importantly to your self.

How many countries have I been to

Let’s begin with the variety of international locations on the earth….

Though there may be nice debate as to the variety of international locations on the earth, essentially the most agreed quantity is that of United Nations member states, of which there are 193.

The Vacationers’ Century Membership, whose membership is restricted to those that have visited 100 or extra territories of the world has its personal record of nations and territories of the world and this quantity stands at 327.

How many countries have I been to

What constitutes a rustic go to

Are there even guidelines, or agreements, in place as to what counts as having been to a rustic?

  • Do airport layovers depend?
  • Do visits with out an in a single day keep depend?
  • How a couple of night time on a ship by one other nation?

Do I depend Kenya? On my journey to Kilimanjaro, we stopped over at Nairobi Worldwide for a pair hours.

Do I depend Paraguay? We went to see the Triple Frontier — a tri-border space the place Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil meet on the confluence of the Iguazú and Paraná rivers.

Do I depend Qatar? I had a protracted layover with Qatar Airways and the airline offered a resort within the centre of the capital for the night time.

Do I depend Kosovo? I finished over and walked round for a pair hours throughout a bus journey within the Balkans from Macedonia to Bulgaria.

I wouldn’t

Some travellers go by what number of stamps they’ve of their passport, as if a passport is a rating sheet. If that is so, I assume I ought to embrace The Republic of Užupis (Say whaaaat? You haven’t heard of this nation?)

However usually touring in Europe Union from one nation to a different doesn’t earn you a stamp with there being no border controls throughout the zone.

There are not any official standards of what constitutes a go to and I assume every particular person has to come back to his/her personal choice. There’s no good approach to quantify journey. I want individuals would cease making an attempt.

How many countries have you been to

The variety of international locations you’ve been to only doesn’t matter

Possibly you need bragging rights and the flexibility to say you’ve been to a mess of nations.

However, I’ve come to the realisation that the quantity simply doesn’t matter, particularly within the grand scheme of issues.

The variety of cities you’ve been to.
The variety of miles you’ve flown.
The variety of international locations you’ve been to.
The variety of unique meals you’ve tried.
The variety of journey songs you’ve jammed to.
The variety of tropical island locations you’ve chilled on.
The variety of stunning flags you’ve collected.
The variety of landmark sights you’ve seen.

The variety of international locations you or I’ve visited is like some other rating
— only a quantity.

Counting international locations completely disregards all of the qualities that make journey significant lowering the expertise to a mere one-dimensional exercise.

It assigns an insincere quantity and a hierarchy to journey and travellers.

I’ve in all probability been to extra international locations than you, however that doesn’t make me worldlier, extra worldwide or extra of a greater traveller than you. It in all probability simply means I’ve been misplaced greater than you.

There are additionally many locations to see inside a rustic that many deserve repeat visits.

How many countries have you been to

Travelling for amount over high quality means we aren’t capable of savour every second as we rush from one metropolis to the following.

There’s at all times the following excessive.
The subsequent transfer.
The blur of check-the-box vacationer websites and transportation hubs.
The chase.

And we by no means have the time or capacity to decelerate and simply be current.

In appreciation
In awe
In contentment

Numbers could inform you what number of miles I’ve flown, the variety of steps I’ve walked, the variety of photographs I’ve taken, or the variety of months I’ve lived out of a suitcase.

However what numbers received’t —or can’t— inform you is how strolling the plains of Giza felt like underneath my naked ft, or how a browsing accident in Bali left me unable to stroll, the indescribable feeling of seeing the rising solar over the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal or seeing the smiling faces of Tanzanian youngsters pumping a waterwheel.

How many countries have you been to

Sluggish journey vs. ticking a field

Somebody that has solely been to a handful of nations however actually skilled the locations they’ve visited


so significantly better, in my eyes, than somebody that’s been to 50+ international locations however seen nothing however rush from the airport by the sights and again once more.

Somebody whose passport stamps fill only some pages however actually immersed themselves within the cultural exchanges, historical past, thriller and magic of a spot


so significantly better than somebody with a full passport who doesn’t know something extra in regards to the nation and its individuals after they’ve left than earlier than.

Somebody that’s solely visited just a few locations however practiced the native language with faculty youngsters, interacted with the locals, appeared into their eyes, heard their story, seen how they reside, and acknowledged their humanity


so significantly better than somebody whose primary dialog consisted of greeting the taxi driver or ordering meals at a restaurant.

That could be a massive purpose why I’m not a fan of so-called bucket lists and quick journey. Positive you’ve added one other one to the record, certain you’ve obtained your IG photographs so that folks can like and feed your ego. However c’mon, who’re you making an attempt to idiot?

Simply one other tick in your record of things such as you’re looking for grocery objects.
The enjoyment comes from numbers and ticks on an inventory.
And hardly from the precise expertise itself.

How many countries have you been to

Extra international locations = Extra happiness

Uhm, how about, no.

We all know that cash can’t purchase happiness. Neither does the variety of international locations one has visited.

Sure, it may well lead you down many a path in the direction of self-growth and fulfilment.

Journey snobbery is available in many pretences, shapes and varieties.

Folks add the variety of international locations that they’ve been to their IG bios prefer it’s some form of badge of honour. And in particular circumstances, it certain is.

However have you ever actually travelled to a rustic should you’ve simply rushed by the expertise, not ever having seen greater than your resort room, not ever making an attempt the native meals or the transport or spoken to somebody who’s by no means been out of their nation and is fascinated by your world so you’ve got a dialog that lasts hours.

Equally in life, high quality over amount.

Will I cease travelling now that the quantity doesn’t matter?

No. I hope to proceed with extra enthusiasm, curiosity and fervour than ever.

However, out of a spot of the insatiable have to discover and uncover extra in regards to the world (inside) in connecting with that which is greater than myself.

The numbers will merely be signposts alongside the best way.

Journey shouldn’t be a aggressive sport and also you don’t must preserve rating. Neglect the nation counting and revel in.

So don’t get too caught up within the quantity.

There’ll at all times be somebody who’s been to [x + 1] extra international locations than you’ve got.

Allow them to be…

How many countries have you been to

For you, actual traveller, it’s the experiences which might be extra essential.

The self-growth you collect on the journey.

The moments that make you query the which means of life.

The individuals you encounter alongside the best way.

The discomfort you actively search alongside the best way.

The struggles that make you a greater, extra compassionate, empathic particular person.

The teachings you be taught by all of it.

The blissful moments that make all of it price it.

And the precise journey that you’re blessed to be on…

Keep in mind high quality > amount my associates.

Wherever you might be touring to subsequent, I hope it’s full of far tooooooo many wonderful experiences to even preserve depend.

If any of those phrases resonated with you, I’d actually recognize should you may share this put up along with your journey associates and household utilizing any of the choices beneath.

By no means cease exploring,

<3 Rai

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