40 countries and counting, 30 countries to visit before you turn 30, 20 places to visit before you die. Does anyone else feel like life has turned into a competitive numbers game? Shares, followers, likes and retweets, the obsession with numbers never ends. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to leave this world with nothing but what may feel like an ‘unfinished’ checklist left behind.
I love travelling and I especially love visiting a new country that I’ve never been to but I’m not actively counting. For me, what really matters is the quality of the experience I have. I would rather have had 10 fantastic trips than have 20 mediocre ones just to simply say, yup, I’ve been there. That’s not to say by the way, that those counting countries have mediocre experiences, but I am very aware of how my brain works. If I started counting I know that very quickly I would be sucked into an unhealthy competition with myself and before I know it my love for travelling would be superseded by my love for having an impressive tally.
There are however two sides to every argument so let me step off my high horse temporarily and offer another perspective. I read a blog post recently by the well-travelled Ellie of The Wandering Quinn. Ellie explores her reasons for choosing to count countries and that post in fact inspired me to write this. I completely respect her reasons for country counting, especially the part around keeping her desire for wanderlust high and getting through the daily grind. Boy, do we all need that in our lives! It’s also interesting to hear Ellie describe travelling as an achievement. This is genuinely something I’ve never considered. It’s just something I do. Travelling certainly does push you out of your comfort zone and in that sense, it should be something to feel proud of.
Am I now tempted to count how many places I’ve been? Of course, and perhaps one day curiosity will get the better of me. I could easily find out how many countries I’ve visited by referring to my blog but for me the enjoyment and motivation to travel doesn’t come from any number. It comes from the endless laughs and memories made along the way and of course the excitement of the next trip. So, for now, that list of countries will remain uncounted. I never really did like maths anyway!
Do you count countries? Let me know in comments 🙂