No. of Recommendations: 10
Notes on where we’ve traveled to date:

It has been years since I’ve counted the countries we’ve visited over the years and it’s about time to see how we’re doing. I figure that, as long as we are young enough to get around, we might as well travel around a bit. Last summer we were sitting with a lady who was bragging that she was getting close to visiting 100 countries. I asked her where there was a list. She answered “Well, on the Century Club site, of course”. So I looked them up and they count land masses (as Alaska and Hawaii count as separate countries from the US) and seem to be there to stroke egos (counting their way – well, I stopped bothering at about 140 “nations” J). Anyway, without making this a contest or checking off a bucket list, we seem to have hit quite a few of the high spots in the past 40 years of traveling a few times a year and are just accelerating it a bit now.

I had never looked at the “Most Traveled People” site. So I thought that it might be interesting to see what my country number would be using these two sites against my only true guide line. Travelers Century Club obtains the total world country count by adding territories that are a sovereign government or separately administered as a colony, protectorate, or trusteeship territory.” Islands are also included if they are “---situated at least 200 miles from the closest portion of the same island country; or Being located within 200 miles, they have a population exceeding 100,000 and are administered as distinctively separate states, provinces, or departments.”

Travelers Century Club definition states, “Although some are not actually countries in their own right, they have been included because they are removed from the parent country, either geographically, politically or ethnologically.” They further state that a visit is defined - it was decided that even the shortest visit would suffice — even if only a port-of-call or a plane fuel stop. This greatly widens the field and will give the traveler a better chance to qualify for one of the most unusual clubs in the world.” The Travelers’ Century Club’s official list of countries and territories is a total of 321 as of July 2011. They state, “This list is recognized by the world as the standard of countries and territories that are politically, ethnologically or geographically different.” However, they are the ones that have made this list, not any official world organization. I think that organizers of the Travelers Century Club have found their ‘cash cow’ by charging a high initiation fee plus yearly dues to travelers joining their club!

The Most Traveled People uses the same definitions for including territories into their world country list but add major states and provinces. They state, “According to our members, the world is made up of 873 countries, territories, autonomous regions, enclaves, geographically separated island groups, and major states and provinces.” Now it is “our members” that are defining the number of world countries!!! The following are the number of world countries within some of the following countries: USA 51, Brazil 27, Australia 13, Mexico 33, Russia 85 and China 38. Even small Switzerland is credited as 26 countries. I am proud to be an American, but I find it hard to agree that I am a well-traveled individual that is half way to the Century Club because I have visited all 50 USA states.

In my mind, the true country count is that recognized by the United Nations. They list a total of 197 countries with four not represented at the UN (Kosovo, Taiwan, Palestine & Vatican City). I’ve also decided to count major colonies (it’s hard to argue that Greenland is part of Denmark), but not integrated, but separate land masses (I’m not counting Alaska or Hawaii as separate). I’ve elected to take a pragmatic approach to boarders (I’m counting that I’ve been to Palestine because, in the past, we roamed the West Bank of Israel, but I’m not counting that we’ve been to Syria, even though we’ve driven throughout the Golan Heights in Israel.

I’m also differentiating between “traveled to” and “traveled extensively in”. This is, of course, very subjective as it can take a lifetime to explore a single city. I’m going to use the former designation if we’ve just spent a day or two in a couple of cities in a country and the latter designation if we’ve traveled about quite a bit and spent “some” (undefined, but generally a matter of weeks) in a country. Some of the countries we’ve only dropped into in the past year, we’ve spent quite a bit of time during the past. I’ll try to indicate which countries have appeared in the past year’s posts, which are to be included in our trip next September and so on. Some which we have only touched recently may be shown as “traveled extensively in” if we’ve been there in the past.

This will come as much a surprise to me as to you readers:

I created an extensive spreadsheet, but had trouble formating it to TMF's.

The final numbers came out like this:

80 (out of 193) countries visited (or imminently expected) with 32 having been traveled through extensively

24 additional territories, colonies and countries not members of the UN (including Palestine and the Vatican), 7 of which we've traveled in extensively.

Counting these would bring the total to 104 countries/territories with 39 traveled in extensively
(without resorting to the flimflam lists)

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