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Okay — I will admit it. I am an extreme “list checker offer”. I enjoy tracking my progress on things, crossing them off lists and the satisfaction that comes from seeing a completed list. This is really true in all facets of my life but nowhere is it more prevalent than in my travels. Recently for my birthday, my wife got me an awesome memento of the different travels that I’ve made.
Visiting Counties, States and Countries
I am attempting to visit every COUNTY in the United States. At the time of this writing, I was at 1,971 visited out of 3,143, for a total of 62.7%. I also am aiming to visit all 50 states. I sit at 49, and in fact, had a trip planned to Hawaii (my final state) earlier this year. That trip was scheduled for March 16-March 24, so…. you can guess how that turned out.
And of course, I am also tracking my travels worldwide. I even have a slick magnetic world map that I keep in my house that shows a list of where I’ve been, the top 10 places I WANT to go (travel bucket list) as well as one yellow pin for my next trip.
What is a country?
Trying to track down how many countries you’ve visited starts begging the question of what even is a country? Different people have different ideas. Personally, the main thing I track is the Most Traveled People list. They divide the world into 949 different jurisdictions (at the time of this post, I’ve been to 107). If there is a standard at all for the whole what is a country question, I’ve seen people use the UN+3. That’s 196 countries including the 193 members of the UN, plus Taiwan, Kosovo and the Vatican City. Different people have different lists, and that’s okay – you use whichever list you want 🙂
My list currently
1 Germany Apr-76
2 France Jul-76
3 Austria Jul-76
4 United States Mar-78
5 Canada Jul-94
6 Dominican Republic 9/26/95
7 Ireland 9/16/15
8 United Kingdom 9/16/15
9 Monaco 9/21/15
10 Italy 9/21/15
11 Vatican City 9/23/15
12 Japan 3/9/16
13 China 3/9/16
14 Singapore 3/10/16
15 Malaysia 3/11/16
16 United Arab Emirates 3/14/16
17 Peru 5/28/17
18 Sweden 8/31/17
19 Greece 3/8/18
20 Switzerland 3/12/18
21 Iceland 8/21/18
22 Denmark 8/21/18
23 Belgium 8/23/18
24 Luxembourg 8/23/18
25 Netherlands 8/23/18
26 Taiwan 9/20/18
27 Jamaica 11/22/18
28 Portugal 5/28/19
29 Spain 6/1/19
30 Andorra 6/8/19
31 Qatar 10/1/19
32 Morocco 10/2/19
Because I was born in Germany and traveled around Europe as an infant, I did put some of those countries on there. Others that I know I visited while young but have since visited as an adult I put later on in life.
My country keychain
I had seen online a few options for commemorative rings to celebrate different countries visited. I thought that was a really cool idea, but most of them cost anywhere from $4-$7 per ring, and I didn’t really want to pay that much for keychains, so I decided to see if I could make it on my own. Actually, I punted it over to my wife and asked her if she could make something like that for my birthday 🙂
It took a little back and forth of buying different stamping kits, metal rings, and even a metal block on which to stamp them. In the end, I think that they turned out great.
We used the ISO 3166 3 digit Alpha codes along with the date visited and the order in which I visited them. Here is a closeup of country #9 – Monaco
All credit goes to Mrs. PWaC 🙂
As I mentioned, there are other options available that you can purchase. I will warn you, if you ever visit any of these websites, be prepared to have these products show up in your Google and Facebook ads forevvvvver. (None of these are affiliate links)
The one I looked at most was WanderClub. They have Country rings for $4, US States for $3.50, National Parks for $4.50 and a keychain for $25
Again, that was a bit rich for my blood, and might be for you too, depending on how many states, parks or countries you’ve visited. I can’t see a UN+3 country completer dropping over $800 for a full set but of course it depends.
Another option is the Traveler Collective. They are similarly priced but also have the option to add dates as well. They also have a “Starter Pack” which is a key ring and up to 50 countries, for $99.
You can see that those rings are much smaller, probably because they have an actual machine that is doing the stamping instead of doing them by hand. In any case, I am super happy with the one my wife made for me, and can’t wait until I can get back on the road and add some more rings to my collection!
What do you think of my countries visited keychain? Do you have something similar? Let me know in the comments!
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