I’ve set foot on 16 countries on this earth.
There are 195 at current count.
So, I’ve only been to 17% of the world.
My first thought, that’s not many and I call myself a travel author and blogger. My competitive nature tells me I have much to do and that I am not a leader in this race. I follow other bloggers and social media influencers who casually post about being at 50 or 100 countries and counting.
My second thought, thankfully, Wait. Quality not quantity. I am not independently wealthy and have to work to earn my way around the globe. Patience. I have time to explore and add to my stat sheet. The countries and experiences I have been privileged to be a part of are probably my most prized possessions, the memories imprinted on my soul. Those memories and the people I shared them with are my story and my speck in the grand travel universe.
Examining where I’ve been, I realize I have continents yet to visit, let alone many countries and cultures to experience. I’m missing Australia, Asia and Antartica. My 16 countries so far: USA, Canada, Mexico, Martinique, Costa Rica, Peru, Tanzania, England, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
Perhaps a more impressive statistic, I’ve been to 49 of 50 states in the USA. If I just get down to Hawaii for a hop, I’ll have them all. Certainly a doable and important goal that will give me the confidence I need to gain ground on the more epic quest of seeing more of the world. As I approach the milestone age of 50 this fall, I’d like to set a goal of adding three countries per year. By the age of 70 that would take me up to 76 countries. It sounds reasonable so perhaps I can make the century mark by age 80? Let’s hope for good health and enough cash and energy to follow through on this plan.
This year, my year of 50, there are some epic travel plans in the works. Josh and I sent around a note to friends with trip details entitled: Mountains, Meat and Malbec. Yes, wine country in Argentina and Chile is the fall birthday destination. The neighboring Mount Aconcagua at almost 23,000 feet will dominate the landscape and provide a playground for some hiking and biking. Mendoza will serve as a home base to experience many bodegas and Malbec wines alongside slabs of the regional specialty, tender ribeye steaks. Next door is Chile and a hop to Santiago along the Pacific coast for some seaside exploration. It will be difficult to worry about adding to my country count when just these two countries offer such epic sights, tastes and cultural treasures. Two weeks will not be enough time to soak it all in.
Making 100 countries sounds delightful on paper but truthfully I don’t want to notch countries off with just a checkmark. The anticipation alone of exploring fuels the soul and spending time out of the working routine is what provides long-term results and boosts happiness. Traveling truly is the only thing that makes us rich! Join me to find better life-work-play balance and let’s travel our way to happy.
Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, is characterized by a great diversity of landscapes and ecosystems. Indeed, the Pendjari National Park and the W Regional Park, located in northern Benin, are two of the most protected and biodiverse semiarid grassland ecosystems in West Africa.
► Having a Traditional Dinner Inside a Native Jordanian’s Home ► A Private Tour of 1 of the "New 7 Wonders of the World" ► Jeep Tour in Unearthly Valleys ► Rich Culture ► And Much, Much More…