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Today I departed Tuvalu,, airport code FUN, and my #183 country by UN member state count. Out of 193, that’s leaves 10 to visit.
There are many lists that expand on the UN. I am partial to the Travelers Century Club list where I have visited 271 of 325 countries (think Vatican, Kosovo, Taiwan and keep adding). However, we all come back to the UN as the definitive qualifier of a country.
Tomorrow I fly to New Zealand for a few days, a country I have transited overnight but not counted until I have a visit I deem proper. Similar situation for me for Italy and Turkey. Then back to the US via Cook Islands (territory, not UN member).
My next big trip will likely wait till the fall. I need to reload professionally and financially. This work gap has allowed me to complete the UN countries of Africa and the Pacific, a goal that would have been many years off by regular travel rates on limited US company vacation time.
My remaining 10:
- San Marino
- New Zealand (en route)
1-6 are easy enough to reach. 7-8, the ongoing suffering of their people means they are on the watch list that I fervently hope there is a time not far away when they can have peace and begin to rebuild their lives, their economy, and eventually signs of good times such as welcoming tourists. 9 is a matter of when I can combine with a visit to TCC territory Zil Elwannyen Sesel (Outer Seychelles), where options are few and pricey: the only two islands open to the public are Desroches, which is closed for conversion to a Four Seasons ,and Alphonse, which has a limited fishing season each year and is mega-pricey.
Still, it is worth thinking about the final one.
My friend Jason Around the World has saved Iceland for his final stop this September for a bash to bring out family and friends.
The symbolism of drawing to a close where Western Civilization began, Greece, is appealing, though I may not hold out as time drags on Syria and Yemen.
Monaco and San Marino seem too puny.
Malta might be the ticket.
Readers, what will be a fitting #193?