There are 193 countries on the UN list and it does not interest me.
I am not out to tick off the 193 countries on the UN list! Or any other list. I have my own list and just for the record, I am on 99 countries. But it's not about the numbers!
Why doesn't it interest me?
Yes, I get a buzz when I get a new country hit but I get more of a buzz about being able to explore a new country even after 28+ years of doing this. The adrenaline still flows at the thought of going somewhere new. The number is irrelevant.
Sometimes I have to stop and let it all sink in.
"Guatemala. I am in fuckin' Guatemala", I said to myself today
All those years ago as a kid when I was so shy and lacking confidence and here I am, exploring all these wonderful places.
I like to stay in a country for as long as the visa rules allow me. Commonly 30 days. Yup, not 1 month. Travellers have come unstuck. Don't forget the months with 31 days. Many state that you get 6 months in Mexico. This is not true. You get 180 days. I entered December 3. My 180th day was May 31. #justsaying
I have been in Australia 3 times, Malaysia 10 times, Thailand 5 times, Morocco 3 times, to mention just a few. And these were to explore new regions, not just passing through.
Imagine if I had dedicated my time, energies and money in going to new countries instead of returning to places, I would have been on 150 now.
But I don't regret these return trips. I returned to see new places and returned to a few of my happy places.
You see some feeds on Google or YouTube, "193 countries at 26 years old".
I ask you, how much has a person who claims this has really seen? Merely a quick glance, very often just the capital city, travelling so fast that each country was just a blurry haze of memories.
I am not condoning this modus operandi, it is simply not mine. I'd get more pleasure about bagging a mountain peak than bashing thru the UN list just to say I did it. But each to their own.
I spent almost 6 months in Mexico. I saw very little of the country. Just CDMX, Oaxaca, Zipolite and San Cristobal but I got to explore these few places pretty well and got a very good feeling about each of them. But you could spend a lifetime in Mexico and not see all of it. Hell, You could spend a lifetime in CDMX and still not know all of it.
As of the UK. I have seen a great deal but in reality, I have only scratched the surface.
But the moral of it is that the longer you spend in a place the more you can say you experienced it.
As I sit here in Quetzaltenango pondering my next move, I could bash straight through to Guatemala city, get the relevant tests and go to El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, steam through Costa Rica, Panama, and keep on going until I got to Tierra del Fuego. 19 countries right there.
I'm in a good spot right now. I am comfortable, I sleep well, I eat well, the climate. I will move on when the time is right.
There is no race to chase them down. I am enjoying here and now. But sure I will move on. The desire to discover the next place will kick in and it'll be time to pack up again.
The favoured route is to head to Lake Atitlan, then Antigua, Guatemala City, Rio Dulce, Livingston, Flores (Tikal) and if the land border to Belize is open by then, why not? then loop back into Mexico that way, otherwise from Flores, I'll head west straight back into Mexico.
And regarding the countries that are on the UN list, it really is just an exclusive membership and there is too much politics involved and pathetic politics at that! But despite my feelings towards it, it is the list that sets the standard. All the other lists are, well, worse than the UN list. Like listing Alaska as a country. It's a fucking state, not a country! OK rant over!