Today’s post arrives in 3-minute video form, recorded on location at the airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
If you can’t watch the video, here’s a short summary:
Lots of people have asked me about the goal of visiting every country. What criteria or standards do I use?
This is a big discussion in the travel community – everyone has an opinion. Some people count airport stops, some believe you have to spend the night or a week somewhere, and so on.
My opinion is that this is largely a personal matter.
For me, I don’t count airport stops and I try to spend at least a few days in each place I visit, but I also don’t worry about it that much. Out of 192+ countries, naturally there are going to be some where I’m not able to spend much time, at least not on the first visit.
I don’t worry about it because I’ve been traveling regularly for nearly 10 years. I don’t claim to be an expert about any place I visit – lately I haven’t even been reading guide books or doing much research before arriving somewhere. I just show up and see what happens, for better or worse. I end up returning to a lot of the same places over and over, so if I miss something the first time, it goes on the list for a return visit.
Also, travel is a deeply personal experience.
A big goal requires deeply personal, internal motivation. While I’m thrilled that so many people have become interested in my travel quest, I know that ultimately I have to own my own motivation for doing this. Any trip has lots of ups and downs, a certain amount of loneliness, sacrifices that must be made, etc.
If you rely on others to set criteria and standards for you, I think you’re setting yourself up for failure or disappointment. Better to define what success looks like on your own, and not worry about what other people think.
That’s my $0.02 about visiting every country or pursuing any other important goal. As always, feel free to share your own perspective with other smart readers in the comments section.
Wishing you well from Ecuador,