Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Four months ago I set myself an ambitious travel goal: to visit 90 countries before my 30th birthday. Since I announced the 90 under 30 Travel Project, I have worked my way up to 82 countries and have four more months to visit the remaining eight.
In September I traveled to the Balkans, where I visited Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, and Serbia. All of them were new countries for me, and brought the total up to 79.
This month I spent a week in Brazil, which is how I got to 82.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing (or flying, rather). In the past four months I have discovered that one place I assumed was a country was actually a British overseas territory. How Bermuda can issue its own passports and currency but not be a sovereign state is beyond me. Thankfully one of my readers reminded me that the Holy See is a country. I had forgotten to count it, so my total remained stable.
To finish off the remaining countries, my original plan was to take four more trips: one to Asia, one to Central America, and two to the Middle East. While that general plan remains in place, I got some great recommendations from my readers, who gave me a few new ideas for countries to visit.
As such, I still plan to visit Asia, but want to add either Brunei or Bhutan to the mix. The Central America trip has morphed into a South America trip, with Peru and Bolivia (and possibly Ecuador) on the itinerary. The Middle East trips remain the same. I refuse to let people scare me into canceling my Israel travel plans, and Lebanon is at the top of my list. The one additional trip I have added is a birthday trip to San Marino, a country that a reader reminded me was a sovereign state. All of these plans are still in the works, and I welcome helpful feedback if anyone else has other great recommendations.
The funniest thing about the 90 under 30 Travel Project is that instead of feeling like 90 countries is a lot, I feel like there are still so many sovereign states that I haven’t been to. Given that the number of countries in the world is somewhere around 207, 90 doesn’t even cover half of them. Even if I go with my planned itineraries, I will still start my new decade wanting to visit countries like Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia, and areas like Mendoza, the Yorkshire Dales, and the south island of New Zealand. Then there are all of the places I’ve already been to that I would love to go back to.
But I guess that is the biggest lesson of the 90 under 30 Travel Project. The more I travel, the more I realize how little of the world I have actually seen. I don’t mind, though. If I ever feel like I have visited every part of every continent, I wouldn’t have anything more to write about.