I grew up a collector. Baseball and football cards?
Yes. I still have boxes and boxes of them.
Comic books? I had a well-worn stash that I recently gifted to a friend.
Now that my life is immersed in travel, I have come across new "collecting" concept: countries.
Do you collect countries? That is, do you regard it as a symbol of your travel cred to reach a high number of countries visited?
I have seen mention of countries visited refer to U.N. countries or TCC countries. The official list of United Nations member states is 193, but for travelers the number often is tallied at 196 to include Vatican City, Taiwan and Kosovo. The TCC, or Travelers' Century Club, counts 324 places on its list. This number generated by the TCC, a nonprofit social group, contains all U.N. countries plus an ever-expanding list of "unique destinations," such as constituency countries or special municipalities like Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao.
Some hardcore travelers really keep track of these lists and aspire to check off as many locations as possible in their journeys through life.
Let me quickly run through my mind to add up how many spots I have visited. . . .
I might have missed a few, but my best guess is . . . about 30 locations.
My number will grow, but I am not chasing any particular goal.
How do you guys approach travel? Do you collect destinations?
Would you rather go to a new place or are you happy to return to a destination?
Some people might refuse to go back to a place they have already experienced, viewing any return trip as a lost chance to go somewhere new and knock another spot off the list or get another passport stamp (I guess you can track passport stamps, too, but I've never gone out of the way to get mine stamped). Personally, I'm the type of traveler who along with being curious about new locations also really looks forward to getting back to a place I enjoyed the first time around. It poses a constant dilemma, I imagine, though, because life is short and financial resources can be limited for many of us, so you have to determine how to prioritize your overall vision for traveling.
What counts as visiting a place?
I have been to 46 U.S. states, including Georgia, but in good conscience, I can only claim that I've visited 45. I have been in the Atlanta airport more times than I can remember, but that has been it. I have not really ventured into Georgia to experience it as a traveler. Do you count a country or state in which you have simply been in an airport?
How will you look back on your journeys?
For me, the great thing about travel is that every trip holds endless possibilities -- to learn about new places and connect with people. The main thing I want to collect is wonderful memories and experiences. Those things . . . and some new flavors of beer from around the world to savor . . . and I'm all good.