“I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list.” -Susan Sontag
Over the past seven years, I’ve been traveling to everywhere: all 193 countries, and plenty of other places along the way.
The journey has been even more amazing than I expected. Over the next couple of months I’ll be on book tour in the U.S. and Canada, and I’m actually glad to be taking a break from seeing the world… because I’m not ready for it to end.
After trips earlier this year to Sudan, Turkmenistan, and the South Pacific, there are now only 8 countries left! Here’s the list:
Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)
The book tour will keep me on familiar ground for a while, but at the end of July I’ll be heading back out to visit these final countries. Next April we’ll be in Norway for the big finale—if you’d like to come along, put your name on this list. (Note: at this point we have no idea what’s happening or how we’ll manage it, but there WILL be a big party.)
I was going to write a long post explaining how to visit anywhere in the world. For example, here’s how you fly to such-and-such a place. Here’s how you get a visa. Don’t get the visa? Whatever. The worst thing that can happen is you get thrown in jail and never get out. (But this is unlikely.)
Maybe I’ll still do that, but for now, I think a few things are more important. At the top of the list is mentality, and the simple decision to take action. Here’s a common theme from would-be travelers that regularly arrives in my Inbox with many variations:
“Where should I start?”
And here’s a good answer for almost all the variations:
“Does it matter?”
You can continue this theme for related questions.
“What should I pack?”
Well, there are plenty of lists out there, but you could also say:
“Who cares? The less, the better.”
It even works well for troubleshooting:
“What if something goes wrong?”
It will probably be fine, but even if it isn’t:
“You’ll figure it out.”
We often feel paralyzed by choice and make no choice. But the thing is, no choice is a choice. If you’re not doing something about it, you’re doing something about it.
So if you too want to travel and you’re trying to make a choice, just choose. If you want to go somewhere, what’s stopping you? That’s right, nothing.
Everywhere you look, people are breaking down barriers. Married couples, people from different ethnic backgrounds, solo female travelers, seniors, and anyone you can think of—even people like you.
So it seems it is possible, at least for most of us who are able to read this. Here are a few options.
Want to Serve?
For a more in-depth commitment, apply to teach English for a year (host organizations will often cover your costs and pay a small stipend). Apply for the Peace Corps or similar opportunity in your own country.
Want to Learn?
Of course, you can also learn on your own. Take a pilgrimage, a sabbatical, an escape-my-life, whatever you need to do.
Just Want to Travel?
That’s fine too. So hit the road! It’s not that complicated. Throw a dart at the map if you must.
You really can go everywhere—or at least, you can go anywhere.
How about you—where are you going next? Feel free to tell us here.
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