There are two groups of people in the travel space, those who count countries and those who do not. I am in the former group. And I am currently on a journey to visit all of the countries in the world, so I have to keep count! Upon completion, I will be the first black woman to travel to all of the countries in the world.
I started counting countries a few years back because of my lifelong desire to travel to every country in the world, meaning I needed to keep track of where I have been. I have been traveling internationally since I was a child; I boarded my first transatlantic flight with my family in 1991. We first visited England which was my third country (the US and Canada being the first two), to visit family, on our way to Uganda to visit more family. By the time I graduated high school I had visited eight countries and territories.
My travel intensified between 2009 and 2011. I zigzagged across Europe and traveled to far flung outposts such as Fiji. By the time my 30th birthday rolled around I had visited 46 countries and territories. Fast forward four years and now I am at 149 countries and territories with a mission to travel to every country on earth!
If you are able, I would be grateful if you donate to my campaign. 🙂
How many countries are there?
This is the most common question when I mention my goal to people and it is not always easy to answer. The United Nations has 193 member countries which are those that are recognized by the vast majority of sovereign nations in the world. There are also two non-member observing states – Vatican City and Palestine. Kosovo and Taiwan remain disputed territories that are only considered sovereign nations by some UN member countries. So the easy answer is 195. My goal of traveling to all of the countries in the world is based on 195 of which I have visited 140. I am more than halfway there!
What are territories?
Territories are places on the world that do not have sovereignty and still “belong” to the country that colonized them, e.g. Martinique = France, Canary Islands = Spain, the Cayman Islands = United Kingdom and Curaçao = The Netherlands. I have been to 149 countries and territories.
Why visit all the countries in the world?!
This journey that I am on is about breaking stereotypes and experiencing different cultures. When I travel to countries that are “off-the-beaten path” I rarely see any black people, not American, nor African. Because of this, people are often shocked to see me. Part of this goal for me is about normalizing blackness and letting people all over the world know that black people travel as well. Beyond that I am just curious about the world. I always have been. I love learning how we as human beings are more alike than we are different. Even with language barriers you can still laugh with a stranger. You can still learn from a stranger and it is a beautiful feeling.
I have 55 countries left on 6 continents. Below is the list. I would love to have recommendations for any if the countries below whether you have visited in the past or live their now please leave it in the comments!!
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Republic of the Congo
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Trinidad and Tobago
- New Zealand