|Are you a globetrotter?|
Most people in the world never visit more than 2 countries in their lives. This obviously is different for people from developed countries. Consider these statistics:
- In the United States, approximately 4 out of every 5 people at some point in their lives leaves the country usually for a visit to Mexico or Canada, and about 2 out of every 5 people in the US travel to at least 4 foreign countries in their lifetime.
- In Europe, where geographical real estate amongst the numerous countries is small, more of its citizens have travelled internationally and too multiple countries.
- On a global basis, the biggest travellers in the world hail from Germany and they happen to spend the most amount of money when they are overseas.
- The United States is 2nd, the United Kingdom is 3rd and Canada is a distant 8th.
Our obsession with counting
Keeping the track of the number of countries you have been to, for some, symbolizes a sense of personal accomplishment of being international/well-travelled/cosmopolitan.
For many travel enthusiasts, marking your travel is done simply by memory, a physical map in your home office with pins indicating visits, or the ‘where have I been’ application in Facebook.
I confess that my brother and I had an immature contest going for many years on who has travelled most extensively around the world. The common benchmark was always the number of countries one would visit. I soon became aggravated by this seemingly unfair tabulation as he would take a cruise in the Caribbean for 6 days and cross off 3-4 countries with a casual afternoon in the various ports walking along the beach with a beer in his hand while I criss-crossed from Russia’s Far East to Russia’s Far West (9 time zones) over a period of a month and would only get credit for 1 country. I guess the competition could be reconfigured in my favour to base it on the number of miles we have traveled over the year but who counts that stuff?!
Inevitably this general discussion leads to some technical unanswered inquiries and ensuing confusion on what constitutes being to a particular country. Some people count a brief stopover in a particular airport as a country, while others do not. Some people count a full day in a particular location as grounds for legitimacy while other use several days to a week to count it accordingly.
Guidelines for counting
Before you start counting, here are some ground rules to consider for counting or not counting a country in your travels:
HTML Table Generator
Go ahead and add up your numbers…what do you get?
Perhaps you've set a New Year's Resolution with regards to how many countries you will visit in the year ahead. Or maybe you have "bucket list" that you are tackling.
Whichever way you slice it, we're interested in hearing what pin, or pins, will you add to your 'places visited' travel map this year?