Dispatch from Haiti, my 100th country on the Travelers’ Century Club list of 321, and my 71st UN member state of 193.
The list is almost as fun to debate as to pursue, the club has a 7-point criteria.
Some ‘country collectors’ obsessively chase the list as sport, like Lee Abbamonte, seeking to become the youngest person to complete the list. That requires time and money in excess supply, as Mr. Abbamonte notes. Think the cost, time and effort involved to reach all 7 territories of Antarctica.
Some stick with the UN list, some make a compromise list of their own, like Jason Around the World, who was just in Haiti.
I like the Travelers’ Century Club list for its ability to introduce me to places I otherwise would never hear of or think to visit, like the Bismarck Archipelago in Papua New Guinea. Two weeks end I went there and had a fabulous time, posts forthcoming.
Each traveler sets a criteria for how they will count a country as visited. I stick to a fairly high bar, need to spend the night or at least a solid day, need to visit one or more places distinctive about the country, usually at least two separate cities/states and no, airports don’t count for me. Some I visit for as much as a week, others a day, the final arbiter for me is a subjective feeling that I have no regrets about things undone that would require me to return.
I am not pursuing this in any big hurry, working at what interests me most at the time, not what will rack up the highest count. My total is skewed to Asia by my nearly decade living in China. I probably have one of the lowest Europe counts among qualifiers, I always say Europe is my ‘retirement plan.’ Same for the Caribbean for which I will eventually need to suck it up and sit on a cruise ship to cost-effectively visit some of those. Some years I have done more, one year I did not do any since I focused every dime on my wife’s schooling, I purse my travel in a way that makes me happy.
Here’s the breakdown so far:
- Africa: 9/54, 16.7%
- Antarctica: 0/7, 0.0%
- Asia: 38/51, 74.5%
- Atlantic Ocean: 1/13, 7.7%
- Caribbean: 3/30, 10.0%
- Central America: 4/7, 57.1%
- Europe & the Mediterranean, 4/67, 7.5%
- Indian Ocean: 1/14, 7.1%
- Middle East: 10/20, 50.0%
- North America: 4/6, 66.7%
- Pacific Ocean: 12/39, 30.8%
- South America: 13/13, 100.0%
- Total: 100/321, 31.2%
Some much still to see, I love it!