Don’t get me wrong, I like to add up all of the countries I’ve visited. But I have never been consumed by it when planning future travels for no other reason than it limits me as a well rounded traveler. I visited one city in Morocco-does that mean I’ve seen all there is to Morocco? Of course not. When a foreign visitor comes to the United States and only visits New York City-clearly his time in New York City, one city in a massive country is no reflection on what it’s like in rural Colorado or Jackson, Mississippi.
I know that within my more immediate circle of family and friends I’ve been to an extremely large number of countries. But when that circle expands to include fellow bloggers, those with country counts of more than 50, my number seems incredibly small. But then I remind myself that out of my country count, I’ve been to some countries multiple times (France, England, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada). This year (sadly) I’m not visiting any new countries. I’ll admit it, a new passport stamp gives me a certain thrill but never would I let this thrill completely take over my trip planning. I’ve lived my whole life in the Northeastern United States and while I’ve seen some states that are far away (Texas, Louisiana, California, Hawaii). there are still so many areas of my country I’ve never been to but would love to visit one day (Washington, Oregon, Wyoming). This year already I’ve visited a new state and later on this month I’ll be visiting a second new one. I’ll also be returning to Hawaii. (On a side note I love when people make the comment, “Oh you’re going back to Hawaii?” Well yes, officially I am returning to the state of Hawaii but I am also going to be staying on a completely different island since Hawaii is after all made up of eight main but different islands.) I recently traveled to Canada and while it’s a country I’ve been to before, I visited a completely new province. In all of those instances, I’m seeing something new since no one place is ever going to be indicative of how another place is.
So for all the country counters-do you have such a large number because you count the one place you have visited in a country to be “it”? Is it just the one and done mentality? As in you never have any interest in exploring a completely different city or region in that same country since you’re too consumed by adding more notches to the country belt?
Being a good and well informed traveler isn’t just about saying you’ve been there or seen that; it’s also about understanding a country, its people, and its culture. A couple of days in a country in one place will never accomplish that.