Tuesday Travel Rant: I’ve been to more countries than you

My dad could beat up your dad and that’s the end of it.

Country counters

“So, how many countries have you been to?” This one-upmanship exists in every backpacking corner of the globe and it truly, truly baffles me. In order to grasp if a person has seen a thing or two, ok asking them how many countries they’ve visited could give you a vague idea. So it’s not the actual question with which I have a problem with. In fact, admittedly, I use the fact that I’ve been to more than 50 countries as a way to show people that I (sort of, sometimes, maybe) know what I’m talking about when it comes to backpacking, but don’t be fooled by country counters!

 

The next time you hear the questions, check for that who has that special twinkle in hiss eye because you know the question is asked in order for the to ‘beat’ you. To be perfectly frank, it’s pathetic. More than that, I could travel for 30 days in Europe and visit 25 countries. One month, living on trains, spending more times in transit than feeling the country I’ve officially visited (I’m talking about specific people I’ve met on the road in the past). Compare that to a great guy I met in Borneo, he’d been in Asia for 18 months, visited maybe 3 countries I think  (Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand) but he knew those places inside out. He was a ‘traveler’.

 

Who do you think would be the first two of these case studies to ask the question “so mate, how many countries have you been to?”. I think we all know the answer. So when someone asks me, if they’re genuine, I’ll tell them the truth, if I sense that special twinkle, I tell them 5 and give them their victory. They’re not worth the time. Happy travels.

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “Tuesday Travel Rant: I’ve been to more countries than you

  1. Marc Belongie

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    Reply
  2. FormerFan

    Ha! I haven’t been to this blog in about a year because I just couldn’t handle Johnny’s ego. Hoping to give it another chance I stopped by and noticed the “Country Count” in huge font right on the front page announcing the 102 countries Johnny has visited. I snickered a bit but then nearly died when I went to the “getting started” section and found this little gem. Hypocrite much Johnny?

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      1. sam

        I literally laughed out loud at this. It’s a TRAVEL blog. There SHOULD be an amount of how many countries he has been to posted somewhere. I don’t want to read a travel blog by someone who spent 3 day in Florida (apply whatever the equivalent of an American state is for you HERE) and claims to be a “traveler”. I mean really, have you nothing else better to do?

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  3. Jonny Blair

    I actually have been guilty of this sometimes, but when I think that some of the countries I’ve been to were day trips and others short holidays then it’s really not a good gauge of how much a traveller you are.

    Over time, I have learned that the number of countries you have been to is less important. My girlfriend has been to less countries than me, but she has done a hell of a lot more travelling than me.

    Good post, will take the points on board lo1.

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  4. Katie

    Last Summer when I did a little bit of backpacking in Europe, I kept bumping into loads of kids using that Europe rail pass thing before they started uni and basically they were going from country to country like headless chickens. They’d get a night train to one place, inevitably collapse at the hostel and sleep throughout the day then go out and get pissed up at night then the next day catch a train to the next country on their list. I mean, what is the point??? One group of 18/19 year olds were actually catching a train to Berlin which got in in the evening, then were leaving the next day to go to Amsterdam, which left me completely flabbergasted! I’m with you Johnny, I’d rather leave a country feeling like I could be a pretty good tour guide for someone interested in going there, than be able to list the bars I visited. Grr. x

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  5. rob

    i once met a guy in thailand on a friday who was flying back home on a tuesday. he set off for cambodia just to say he had been there and to, in his own words “get the stamp” astonishing

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  6. Fidel

    I like to compare counting countries to counting the number of sexual partners one has had. Sure, some people may be impressed with the numbers and the variety. But those who know what love is, they know that the only numbers that matter most are the experiences that left a lasting impression.
    I use to be all about the numbers- in both regards in fact. I learned that it is more rewarding to spend my time getting to know one place rather than hopping off as many trains and planes as I can in two weeks.
    I’ll never get the full experience like a person who lives there, but at least I know I wasn’t just a flash in the wind. I think it’s because of that that I go back to places I’ve been to more often than I go to new places. You get the touristy stuff out of the way the first time, after that you just enjoy all the aspects of where you are.
    One question I ask people who boldly boast about numbers is this, “You’ve been to 40 countries, do you still talk to 40 people from those places?”

    Reply
    1. Johnny Post author

      hahaha – what an analogy mate! i got lost as to which topic you were referring to as i read on! :P Your last sentence is a great one though, really thought provoking :)

      Reply
  7. Kelly

    I have never counted. But I thought it funny in the past when a friend claimed they had been to Dallas simply because they were catching a connecting flight at the Dallas airport.

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  8. Maura

    I’m very, very proud of the travelling done by my son, and I confess I do count the countries he has visited!!!

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  9. Rachel

    The people who ask you that just to one up you are probably one-uppers in other areas too… Though actually I do participate in kind of a light-hearted country-count competition: my boyfriend’s family has a competition, complete with chart which I was recently added to, but it is definitely in good fun (except the oldest brothers are actually pretty serious about it…). I definitely condone that sort of thing but am not really in the running.

    Reply
  10. JengleBell

    hahaha i love this rant! I must say that my dad has been more than 50 countries but im not so proud or glad at all because he doesnt get to see or learn whats in and around those countries. I can see what he saw on the internet or travel guidebooks as im sitting at home too. Anyway what ur doing is what i always wanna do but im not brave enough to leave everything behind yet. So i will keep following ur stories Johnny! Happy Travels soon!

    Reply

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