Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Eight months ago I set a goal for myself: visit 90 countries in my lifetime before my 30th birthday. When I announced the 90 under 30 Travel Project, I had 72 countries under my belt. I needed to visit 18 more in seven months and 27 days. That meant an average of 2.25 new countries per month, which was pretty aggressive given that I had already been to every country that was less than a 2.5-hour flight from London. But I was determined to do it. And today I am happy to say that I accomplished my goal.
It wasn’t always a given that it was going to happen. My trip to Brazil in November was delayed a month. I almost didn’t find flights to Peru that I could purchase with frequent flier miles. And I was nervous that the Israeli border control officials wouldn’t let me into the country given the number of not-so-friendly stamps in my passport (think Syria, Jordan (x4), Oman, the UAE, Lebanon, Egypt, and Brunei).
At that point I was running low on time. I had less than two months left and still needed to visit five more countries. Mid-March to mid-April was a marathon month of travel, starting with a long weekend in Lebanon, country number 86. The following week I traveled to Peru and Bolivia, raising the tally to 88. After a short stint in Iceland, I reached Israel, country number 89, over Easter weekend.
For the better part of a month, I didn’t spend more than two consecutive nights in any one place, including London. I was exhausted, but I was determined to accomplish my goal.
And today, with only one day left before my 30th birthday, I did it. This afternoon I reached San Marino, country number 90!
It feels incredibly good to have achieved what I set out to do. While some of the trips were a bit rushed at the end, I’m glad I made it to every sovereign state on the list. Better yet, I feel like I have something concrete to show for my life before 30.
So did accomplishing my goal make me feel like I had seen enough of the world? Not in the least. As I mentioned in my last update, there are still over 115 more countries to visit. And the more of the world I see, the more I realize how many more places there are to go.
Along those lines, now that the 90 under 30 Travel Project is completed, I need to set a new travel goal. Any suggestions?