Tre Lost

Thirty And Counting

I can remember the moment that my obsession with international travel began.  I was 13 years year old and riding the Tube at rush hour to go to dinner at an Indian restaurant.  I had walked dogs, baby sat screaming children, sold chocolate, and picked every bug off my mothers roses to pay to go on Mr. Van’s week long school trip to London.  Standing there, on the rush hour train, I knew London was just the tip of the ice berg.  I was hooked.

This passion/obsession has shaped the way I live my life.  It colors the way I look at money. “Why buy that $400 pair of Fluevogs when that’s 2/3 a ticket to London?” It has filled my bookshelves with guide books, travel narratives, and atlases. It keeps the hamsters in my mind dreaming up new ways to see far away places.

On Friday, I crossed a river on the back of a motorcycle and crossed into my 30th country, Slovakia.  Sadly, there was no passport stamp in it for me this time, the EU has taking that small piece of traveler joy out of the equation.  The boarder crossing could have been easily missed.

On one side of the bridge the Hungarian crest bid us farewell, while on the other side the Slovakian crest welcomed us.  With semis buzzing by, we pulled over to commemorate the occasion with a few pictures.  Thirty countries, I just giggle to myself thinking of the next thirty.

Thirty countries, but how do you count them?

Everyone who plays the country counting game has different rules.  About 5 years ago, Annetta and I defined our own rules. Our rules are stricter than the Traveler’s Century Club which calls Hawaii and Alaska their own country, and are looser than those who require a two nights stay in a country.

The Rules:

1) You must spend the night or at least 13 hours in the country.

2) Transit Countries don’t count.

  • Sleeping in the Singapore airport doesn’t give you Singapore, and driving through Hungary with only bathroom breaks and gas stops doesn’t count.

3) Even if an other country “owns” it, it’s still a country.

  • This means Hong Kong, Tibet, Guam and the like count as separate countries. Likewise, Scotland, England, and Wales are counted as different countries.

4) If country boarders change, the same city, during two different years, can be counted as two countries

  • For Example: My folks went to Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia in the 70s, if they came with me on my next trip to Europe (hint, hint) and visited Dubrovnik, Croatia, they would get to count Croatia as a new country on their list.

Ok, those are the rules, now here’s my list:

1) England
2) Mexico
3) Canada
4) Nicaragua
5) Costa Rica
6) Guatemala
7) Hong Kong
8) China
9) The Netherlands
10) Brussels
11) Spain
12) Switzerland
13) Italy
14) Czech Republic
15) Germany
16) Austria
17) Poland
18) Croatia
19) Thailand
20) Lao
21) Vietnam
22) Cambodia
23) Malaysia
24) Bali
25) Singapore
26) Japan
27) Portugal
28) Slovenia
29) Hungary
30) Slovakia

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This entry was posted on April 8, 2012 by in Travel.
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