44 Countries in 44 Years: What’s Your Travel Philosophy?

Travel philosophy

Do you know exactly how many countries you’ve visited? I didn’t until recently but listing the number of countries you’ve visited seems to be an important way of proving your travel expertise for travel bloggers and travel writers.

So I’ve known I should tally up how many countries I’ve visited ever since I started this travel blog but I just couldn’t be bothered to work it out. Who really cares anyway? I don’t.

Like age how many countries you’ve visited is just a number. It doesn’t really tell us anything about your travel experiences like how long you spent in a country and whether you ventured off the beaten track, off the tour bus or even out of the airport.

But this week I’ve been thinking a bit about age and numbers because it’s my birthday so I’ve finally taken time to work out exactly how many countries I’ve visited.

I got inspired because I thought it would be fun if I could say I’d been to 44 countries in my 44 years. So I totted them all up one night in bed with the help of a map of the world plucked from a child’s bedroom wall.

With a little bit of jiggery pokery and a bit of luck I managed to get to 44 countries. There are a couple of contentious ones – like El Salvador (I’ve only been to the airport)  and Syria (I visited the Golan Heights which Israel claims is their land but Syria says belongs to them) and, when I hitchhiked through them, Croatia and Slovenia were not two countries but one: Yugoslavia.

But however you count the countries I’ve visited many travel lovers have been to twice as many countries as me. In fact some travelers are on a mission to visit every country in the world which is a passport stamp collecting travel philosophy.

My Travel Philosophy

I”m not interested in visiting places just so I can say I’ve been there. My travel philosophy is to pick and choose the best countries and stay there as long as I can. So I’ve actually lived and worked in eight of these countries and many others I’ve spent months in although, as mentioned, there are a few listed here that I’ve only passed through.

Coming Soon: Canada, my 44th Country

The exciting news is that I’ve been invited to visit Canada by the Canadian Tourism Board this May.

I’ll be spending about nine days in Canada and, although I can’t tell you exactly where I’ll be going yet, I’m very excited because I’ll be visiting Vancouver and the Yukon.

In case you haven’t heard of the Yukon it’s one of the last wildernesses on earth and, judging by the photos, one of the most beautiful places on earth too. I’m so excited about spending time in that scenery and I’d love to see a moose, a brown bear or even a grizzly bear if I’m very lucky.

I’m looking forward to sharing my Canadian adventures with you here and am thrilled Canada is the 44th country on my list on this, my 44th year. Talk about perfect timing.

44 Countries in 44 Years

  1. England
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Switzerland
  7. Austria
  8. Luxembourg
  9. The Netherlands
  10. Wales
  11. Greece
  12. Turkey
  13. Croatia
  14. Slovenia
  15. Malta
  16. Scotland
  17. Israel
  18. Egypt
  19. Portugal
  20. Syria
  21. Jordan
  22. Tunisia
  23. USA
  24. Zimbabwe
  25. Zambia
  26. Malawi
  27. Kenya
  28. Thailand
  29. Laos
  30. Malaysia
  31. India
  32. New Zealand
  33. Vanuatu
  34. Fiji
  35. Singapore
  36. Australia
  37. El Salvador
  38. Guatemala
  39. Nicaragua
  40. Panama
  41. Costa Rica
  42. China
  43. Japan
  44. Canada

A Travel Philosophy to Live by

I prefer to spend more time in less places than visit as many places as possible but not really get to know any of them well.

So I doubt I’ll keep up this travel pace.

Although there are a plenty more countries I’d love to visit, when I tried to think of 44 more countries I’d like to go to over the next 44 years I could only come up with 37 and that was pushing it. Honestly there are probably only about 1o countries I’m still dying to visit but there are many special countries and places I’d love to return to.

You could say I’m a slow, discerning traveler or even a slow nomad.

But because borders change and the airport doesn’t really count, even after all this I’m still not exactly sure how many countries I’ve visited.

Still, it’s my birthday so let’s call it 44 countries in 44 years, mas o menos as they’d say in Costa Rica. More or less.

How many countries have you visited and what’s your travel philosophy in a word or two? Are you a thrill seeker, a culture vulture, a slow nomad? Or maybe a mix of those or something else altogether?

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  1. Linda ~ Journey Jottings March 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    And what a birthday present – off to Canada!!

    I’m like you – its not the quantity, but the quality, when it comes to travel, although I must have a few under my belt if I stopped to count having travelled overland from Australia up through SE Asia, India and Nepal, the middle east, across Europe to the UK. Then went north of the Arctic Circle circumnavigating Scandinavia and explored the NE of the US and Canada, although I definitely need to go back there – Maybe next year??? ;)

    • Annabel Candy March 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for all the lovely glitter, stars and balloons:) Wow, that sounds like lots of countries and a fine way to travel. It must have taken years:)

      Yes, Canada is an amazing bonus! Can’t wait to see it.

  2. Se7en March 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Happy Birthday to you on the far side of the world – I hope it is a brilliant one!!! And I look forward to writing about 44 more countries over the next few years!!!
    We are dwellers rather than travelers…it all began with my parents who spent a year in Geneva when I was a kid – it was their base for touring Europe.. with a week or two in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Greece – wherever they could go they went!!! I traveled for work – mostly weather stations in the Southern Ocean and on Antarctica… When my hubs and I go away we try and live in the place for a couple of weeks… an apartment in Rome, a farm in Wales, a flat in Florence, a bungalow on Crete, a self-catering in London… and our last adventure was a hut in Lesotho. We have itchy feet and are always looking for opportunities to travel and he just saves up his leave till we do… so we always have a few weeks in hand.

    • Annabel Candy March 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Seven, thank you:)

      I love the idea of renting a house and staying in one place for a week, so much more relaxing and rewarding. You must have been to some amazing remote spots during your weather girl days – I’d like to read more about that!

      • se7en March 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm

        Here’s some Southern Ocean for you… written in the olden days when my blog was newish!!!

        I visited heaps of islands – it’s my thing!!! I dream and dream and dream of going to visit St. Helena one day!!!

  3. Alyssa March 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Happy birthday, Annabel!

    Bizarrely, it’s my birthday in 3 weeks too and I’ve been thinking the same thing this week. But mostly in a sad way because I realised I won’t get to go overseas this year, I don’t think :(

    I’ve been to 24 countries in 28 years (with no sneakily including airports!).

    I’m a slow and steady traveller. I like to experience, rather than just see. For me, that means spending more time doing less.

    Like you, I lived in Africa for 12 months (Durban, South Africa) and got to explore other countries for several more months. I would love to explore more of the continent (I just went to Madagascar in October 2011!). Unfortunately, I had many traumatic and dangerous (often life threatening) encounters in South Africa, which have put me off travelling alone anymore. But, paradoxically, South Africa is still the best thing that has ever happened to me.

  4. Jim ODonnell March 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    My motto is and blog name is: Around the world in eighty years!

    I’ve been to 37 countries in 41 years but I’m not interested in a numbers count. I prefer quality over quantity and often revisit the same places over and over if I love them.

  5. Joyce March 22, 2012 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Happy Birthday Annabel! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in Canada. Most of us who live here have never even been to the Yukon. You’ll love the west coast — especially in the spring.

    • Annabel Candy March 23, 2012 at 6:44 am - Reply

      Hi Joyce,

      Canada looks like such a beautiful country. I hope my Yukon stories inspire you to go there sometime. I can’t wait to visit your place!

  6. Van harte gefeliciteerd! Happy birthday in Dutch, may native tongue.

    I’m a slow nomad, I guess. Not counting Holland, I’ve actually lived long term (years) in 7 countries (USA, Kenya, Ghana twice, Indonesia, Palestine, Armenia and now Moldova.)

    I’ve visited or vacationed in 30 or more. Can’t imagine what I’d be like without those experiences!

    • Annabel Candy March 23, 2012 at 6:46 am - Reply

      Hi Miss Footloose,

      Danke je! That’s an amazing list of countries to have lived in. There’s no doubting our lives have been enriched by all these travel experiences. It’s hard to imagine life without travel:)

  7. Sue March 23, 2012 at 1:42 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    Happy Birthday. I hope you have a fun celebration planned and best wishes for this year. As for the exact tally of the number of countries you’ve been to, well to paraphrase an old song: “It’s your birthday, you can count how you want to…” :-)

    With any luck, by the time you get to the Yukon in May, it might have warmed up a bit. It’s “only” -13 degrees Celsius at the moment. With a bit more luck, our Vancouver weather might cooperate for you, too.

    If you don’t get to see your brown bear or grizzly bear in the Yukon, you can always go to Grouse Mountain (in North Vancouver) while you’re in Vancouver and see the two resident grizzly bears (they were rescued as orphaned cubs) and the former movie star wolves (although they’re more shy about coming out to say hello). Maybe if you have enough readers in Vancouver we could have a meet-up, depending on your schedule.

    • Annabel Candy March 23, 2012 at 6:49 am - Reply

      Hi Sue,

      Lol, oh that’s a good idea. I should have called the post 21 Countries in 21 Years;)

      I’d love to visit Grouse Mountain and a meet up would be fabulous. I’ll get in touch when I know my dates and see if we can organise something:) It would be amazing to meet you.

  8. Fraussie Grouet March 23, 2012 at 2:06 am - Reply

    I prefer to really get to know a country properly. I was born and bred in Australia and have been living in France for 37 years. During that time, I’ve visited a lot of countries (not 44 though!) and have gone back many times to Italy gradually working my way around the country. Now I’ve started on Spain and will do the same thing there. We went to Croatia last summer by car and went to 10 different countries. We do a lot of cycling which I think is a wonderful way to visit because the pace is just right and you go to places that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

    • Annabel Candy March 23, 2012 at 6:50 am - Reply

      Hi Fraussie,

      Sounds like you’ve clocked up a few there and 10 in one summer is amazing. I love the idea of a cycling holiday. That would slow me right down:)

  9. 44 Countries in 44 Years: What's Your Travel Philosophy? « Public-Travel March 23, 2012 at 5:25 am - Reply

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  10. JoAnna March 23, 2012 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Happy birthday, Annabel! It’s actually on my Life List to visit as many countries as I am years old, but I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ve been to 22 countries and I’m 31 years old. I’m missing a huge chunk of Europe, so I think visiting there would help me catch up!

    • Annabel Candy March 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Hi JoAnna,

      Thank you! Great minds think alike:) Yes, Europe makes it easier but take your time, enjoy!

  11. Nomadic Samuel March 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Annabel, that’s an impressive list! However, I’m in total agreement with you that it’s not some kind of game where I want to set one foot over a border and consider it another feather in my cap. I’d personally rather spend 6 months in India than 3 months zipping around Europe adding countries to my list.

    • Annabel Candy March 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Samuel,

      Yes, I laugh sometimes at the questions people ask the travel Dr in a paper here. One said they were going to Vietnam for 10 days and where could they also go in Cambodia during the same trip! Much better to just chill out in one spot and enjoy it:)

  12. Barbara March 24, 2012 at 12:24 am - Reply

    You are truly the definition of jet setter! I’ve seen most of the U.S. but haven’t traveled enough outside of it. Toured the Mediterranean, been to Mexico and Canada but that’s about the extent… SO FAR.

    • Annabel Candy March 26, 2012 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Hi Barbara,

      Most of the US is good, it’s a big place. Love the so far!

  13. Seana Smith March 26, 2012 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Hello Annabel, hope that you enjoyed a really good birthday – you youngster you!!

    I SO don’t want to count up the countries, it wouldn’t be so many anyway but I’m not really interested. It’s the ones I’ve lived in that have been most important: Scotland, Italy, Pakistan, Australia and that wild, heathen place England (where I spent four very formative years at uni.)

    Hubby and I have started to talk a bit about living OS again, perhaps Asia. Not sure when but I like the idea of a few years Elsewhere again.

    • Annabel Candy March 26, 2012 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      Love the amazing diversity of the places you’ve lived. It would be a fabulous experience to add Asia to it if you can swing it! As long as you come back to Australia again….

  14. Mark Phillips March 27, 2012 at 7:32 am - Reply

    Actually I do think it matters to keep a rough idea on your countries.

    The world is such an amazing diverse collection of people, nature and locations that counting countries shows the diversity you been lucky enough to experience.

    Now at 80 countries myself and won’t be stopping for awhile.

    • Annabel Candy March 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Mark,

      Wow, 80 countries is phenomenal, especially as you don’t look anywhere near 80 years old:)

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