Brazil (18) Brunei
|47 - 91
Korea, So. Laos
Netherlands N.Zealand (1)
|92 - 130
Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia*
Sri Lanka Sudan
UK USA (47)
| Sirman's World
(Page as May 7, 2003)
Total as of Apr. 20, 2006
130 Nations + 186 Places = 316*
NOTE. See (2) below about the TCC or DXCC World Travel lists that pamper yachtsmen, or perhaps intended as a promotion for yacht makers.
For USA I show 50-3 = 47, each state as an independent entity--USA, Alaska, Hawaii already listed--ditto Argentina (7-2, Tierra-Patagonia separate), Australia (7-2, Tasmania listed), Canada (13-4, 2 not seen), Malaysia (3-1), and South Africa (9-1), Brazil (27-9, 8 not seen). And since a visit (say) to Mexico does not necessarily include Baja, I show the latter separately also under Places, for a total of 111. As for islands (nation or not), only the large ones (e.g., New Zealand) and a few special ones (e.g., Hawaii) are included, as Indonesia alone has 18,000+ islands. And some places are best left to TV.
Canary Is Capri
Hong Kong Ibiza
Siberia Sicily Sumatra
Tierra del Fuego
(+ 29 = 186)
* Yugoslavia/Serbia & Burma/Myanmar counted once. 1) As to mileage, except for very few cases like Cyprus, I crossed each country here on land either by length and/or by width, including Russia. "Regions" includes regions in countries!
2) The travel lists composed by TCC and DXCC show some 315 "countries" around the world, including separate listing for some provinces in large countries. Based on these, the MostTraveledPerson (MTP) site has developed some 672 places to visit, including hundreds of dubious islands. It might be that the sponsors of these lists are yacht dealers who wish induce rich people with itchy feet to purchase expensive yachts and start roaming the world and accumulate travel points. For example, it is one thing to mark Tanzania as seen for having stopped over in Dar Es Salaam (as say any businessman or sailor might do), another to also have made the effort to visit the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, and Kilimanjaro. Dar es Salaam is just another African city (less interesting than Mombasa, Kenya, also a port city). No traveler worth his salt would mark Tanzania as seen without visiting at least ONE of these 3 locations. To do so, you have to get off the plane (or boat) in Dar es Salaam, find the long-distance bus station, take a bus to Arusha (I did this on land, though you can also fly there), find competent guides, and spend at least 2 days in each of the 3 destinations. This is NOT Xtreme Travel; they are the only reason travelers come to Tanzania--also a gateway to Zanzibar. Multiply this defect by the number of all the countries, states in large countries, and other land masses (like Borneo) included in their lists, the "excluded" list reaches almost geometric proportions. In effect, how a REAL world traveler scores on these lists is decided as much by what is included as by what is excluded. There is no way TCC, DXCC, MTP can modify their lists except starting from scratch. And as significant as this error is, it is only one. The other is the haphazard inclusion of all sorts small islands, again favoring sailors. Because of their size, as compared to large land masses that are also mentioned only once, islands have to be carefully screened and only the ones large enough (e.g., Sumatra), those that are historically significant (e.g., Malta), and others that are somewhat unique (e.g., Rhodes, as a fine example of a city inside an ancient fort) should be included. Let's elaborate.
a) How many islands in the Antarctica does one need to see to fathom what Antarctica is like? Well, the MTP lists 26 islands along with Antarctica, one of the uniformly most desolate places on earth, which he in effect counts 26 times, whereas (say) poor California, with Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Mojave, Redwoods, etc., each also an island at least as interesting and spectacular as any of the Antarctic islands, is counted only once. So there is a serious accounting problem here, by a ratio of 26 to 1 just in this instance. Of course, the author could have also listed the 7,000+ islands of the Philippines to really make sure you haven't missed anything there. But he won't. Why? Because the sea there (and around Indonesia) is not safe. Any yachtsman who ventures into those waters is asking to be pirated. So since yachtsmen cannot collect travel points there, Philippines is listed as if it is a single island. The list makers make up for this by including all "safe" islands, while short-changing land travelers with their huge "excluded" list. b) Does one really have to set foot on all of the southeastern Caribbean islands, even if several of them declared themselves a nation, to have a feel for the area? MTP thinks all, presumably since they all have pretty beaches, a rare thing. But if all then why not also say 17,000 of the 18,000+ islands of Indonesia, the BŁyŁkada in the Marmara Sea? c) Madagascar is large enough to be included in every list. But having visited that island, should one also detour, at a substantial cost if not sailing, to the tiny Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles nearby? d) In line with the Antarctica vs. California argument above, in Arabia, I crossed the deserts Dahne, Nafud, and (along the northern fringes of) Rub'l Khali in Arabia, visited Mecca, Madain Saleh, and the blue monkeys in Asir Mountains, snorkeled in the Red Sea off Jeddah, swam in the Half-Moon Bay off Dammam. None of these are counted, whereas the 3 tiny countries, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, that are culturally almost identical to Arabia, are. (Each is a port.) And counting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia once in effect gives equal weight to Bahrain, an island 1000s times smaller and much less significant by any yardstick. A much more meaningful list might include the UN World Heritage sites, for example, which would also cover most countries.
Based on above reasoning, and since ultimately travel too cannot escape cost-benefit rationale, I dropped the following 26 island nations from my list as too small, irrelevant, redundant and/or costs-not-justifying-benefits travel destinations: (CARIBBEAN=7, having visited all (but Cuba) major islands, Caiman, Virgin Isl. UK & US, and Trinidad & Tobago and Puerto Rico in southeast Caribbean, DROPPING): Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St.Kitts, St.Lucia, St.Vincent; (PACIFIC=11, having visited Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Bali, and ALL large islands, DROPPING): E.Timor, Kiribati, Marshall, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu; (ASIA=4): Bahrain (visited), Kuwait, Maldives, Qatar; (AFRICA=4): Comoros, Mauritius, Sao Tome, Seychelles. Thus the official "nations" list is reduced to 196-26=170, leaving for me 38 in: (CARIBBEAN=1): Cuba; (ASIA=17): Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhistan, Kirghizstan, N.Korea, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen; (AFRICA=20): Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkino Faso, CAR, Chad, Congo-B, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eq.Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Togo, W.Sahara.
I may drop more from this "remaining" list on the grounds that 1) landscape does not follow national boundaries. So does one really need to set foot on all of the "ISTAN" countries of Central Asia individually to appreciate the region? This also applies to places like Chad, CAR, et al. in Africa, especially if Mali, Niger, et al. are already visited, to Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso if the rest of West-Africa is traversed . . . 2) While travel as adventure is often fun, one does not need to get shot at to have fun in places like Iraq, Somalia, possibly Yemen, and some places in Africa. These "dangerous" countries too may be skipped on the grounds that potential costs far outweigh any benefits of travelling there. 3) Some places (Antarctica, Greenland, Iran, Madagascar) seem to be reserved for people with unlimited funds for whom "cost," as in cost-benefit, is reduced to nothing. In 2005, I was quoted $840 for the 2-hour flight from Johannesburg to Madagascar, $750 for a short visit to Greenland from Iceland, $4,000+ for an 8-day package tour (no self-travel for Americans) from USA to Iran, same for 10-day cruise to Antarctica, plus the flight to/from Usuaia and the stay there. As far as I am concerned, this is a good enough reason to leave them to TV, for now. 4) The inclusion of tiny places like Andorra, San Marino (seen), Srpska (seen), Transdniestr (seen), etc.--tiny islands of land on similar land--is also dubious, especially when other places at least as interesting, like the Serengeti, are not individually identified. 5) Moreover, if the Vatican is included, then so must be also Jerusalem, Mecca (seen), and Varanasi (seen), not because the latter 3 contain as much "art" as the Vatican (which is also a state) but because each is fascinating in its own way and a magnet for the masses.