My travel challenge is now in its 5th year which will come to an end the day before my birthday, April 22nd and start again on April 23rd for its 6th year. Since starting this blog and talking to more people about the positive challenge i set myself as I entered my 40s, the main questions I get asked are ‘how many countries have you been to so far?’ and also ‘how are you counting the countries?’ So let’s catch up on those years already passed by.
In this post I’m just going to list them and then when I have access to the photos from those countries I’ll go back and write about some of them. You, as the reader can be involved in deciding which countries get written about by getting in touch an deleting me know which ones you want to know more about.
40 – 41: I turned 40 in my home town of Chester as I was in England and yes I’m counting that as the 1st country. My 40th birthday present to myself was a trip to Tibet as I had promised myself through the years that if I didn’t do it before for whatever reason, then it would certainly be my 40th birthday present. To get into Tibet, you have to go on a group visa and travel from China. I therefore booked a tour and yes went to China which as a Buddhist was not my preference but sometimes you have to give in to travel restrictions to get to your dream country. From there, I returned to England but as I returned to the same place then I’m not counting it again. On my actual 40th birthday, I received a phone call about an interview for a job I applied for in St Helena which I was successful for and therefore in the August of that year I travelled to St Helena via Cape Town and stayed overnight so I get to count South Africa. For those who want to question St Helena being counted, yes although it is a British Overseas territory, I am counting it. Count = 5
41 – 42: I started my birthday in St Helena due to living and working there. In the June/ July of the year I returned to England via Cape Town (South Africa). During my break, I went to Corsica (classed as a France region) and because I returned to a different part of England and visited different places to see my friends then I am counting it as a country as it is different to me returning home. I repeated the journey to St Helena via Cape Town to return to my work. Count = 2. I have been asked why I don’t count South Africa again as it is a different year and to be honest I’m hoping I won’t need to.
42 – 43: Again I started this year in St Helena. In the June/July I returned to England, this time via Ascension. Here I’m counting both England and Ascension and yes I know that like St Helena, Ascension is a British Overseas Territory. I’m counting England as I flew into a different place (Brize Norton). Then I went to Spain on holiday before returning again to St Helena and this time I’m counting South Africa as I didn’t fly out that way. Count = 4
43 – 44: Again I started my year in St Helena and at the end of my contract in June returned to England via Cape Town (South Africa). I then went to France to visit friends, returned to England and went to Wales for a holiday and then back to England. In the October/ November of that year I went to India and Bhutan and returned to England. For Christmas, I holidayed in Egypt and then returned to England. At the start of April, I began my Camino in France and walked into Spain. Count = 8. I’ve counted England once in there as I went to different parts at various times.
So before I started the 5th year of travel, I had reached a total of 19 countries. Some of those countries have been counted twice or more times for obvious reasons and I believe that is OK especially when I’ve travelled around to different places within that country. When I started the challenge I thought that I would need an average of 4 countries per year and then of course my ability to travel as much was restricted by my work place and home for 3 years being on St Helena.
44-45: This year isn’t over yet as I still have until April 22nd but so far I have been to: Spain which I’m counting again as I was in a different place on the Camino at the end of my birthday and walked through many more towns and villages before I finished on May 23rd. I returned to England and then went to Rome (Italy) and visited Vatican city which also counts as the smallest country in the world. Then back to England and a couple of holidays in different parts of Wales. A few more places in England and then I started travelling around Europe which consisted of 8 cities in the Netherlands which I’m not sure how I will count it however for now it will be one country. From there to Denmark, to Sweden, Norway, back to Sweden where I visited 3 cities, to Luxembourg and then to Belgium,where I visited 3 cities. Then I returned to England and various cities were visited before I headed back to Brussels (Belgium), to Prague (Czech Republic), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary) and now I’m in Vienna (Austria) and will visit more before I turn 45 so although my count isn’t finalised for this year I can say that so far the total is: 15.
That brings my total towards my challenge to 34 so far. Once I’ve finished I hope there won’t be any repeated countries, although I’m happy to count them now as I have been to different parts and at different times. Basically, if I’ve stayed a night then I’ve counted it.
A lot of my journeys have been written about already such as Egypt, my Camino and also the last European trip I took in November, December and January. These can be found on beingthebestyoucanbeblog.wordpress.com and travelalphabetabc.wordpress.com and I’ve already started this European trip on this blog.
Therefore, rather than cover every other country visited before then, I prefer to pick a couple or so. I will also keep travelling and counting until the end of my 40s not just until I reach 40 as I do wish to have a list of 40 individual countries. So far that total is: 25.