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We did it! 11 years, 9 months a year on the road, 197 done and dusted, and done properly. No border hops, no airport transfers, no 1 hour trips. Integrity is everything, and traveling is more than counting countries, but that being said, I’m proud (and relieved!) to have finally finished. Thanks for the support, now on to bigger and better things! Johnny 

 

I’d like to share my progress with you guys as I slowly move towards my goal of being the first Irishman to visit every country in the world as far as I know (197 countries in total, more of that in the FAQ below),  and one of the youngest in history to do it, perhaps the youngest to do it officially! Not only that, I’ll be bucking the trend of actually traveling through these countries, over a space of ten years, not flying in and out as pretty much everyone else has done, bar one or two travel legends.

NOTE: If you wanna know how I afford it, which everyone always asks me, read this!

This list is in chronological order of where I’ve been, and where I think I’ll roughly be going next up until completion. I hope to finish towards the end of next year, 2016, in Autumn/Fall but it all depends on whether the last few difficult countries grant me a visa to visit. Wish me luck please!

 

There are some FAQs at the end, if you guys have any more questions let me know and I’ll add them at the bottom too 🙂

johnny ward travel business

Right then, so here is a list of the countries I’ve visited so far, all 149/193 of them, and the ones I’ve yet to visit in the order that I think I’ll hit them.

The ٭ symbol means it’s not strictly a UN recognized country, but I went there anyway

ALREADY VISITED

Visited in Chronological order:

  1. Republic of Ireland
  2. UK
  3. France
  4. The Netherlands
  5. Belgium
  6. USA
  7. Canada
  8. Thailand
  9. Laos
  10. Cambodia
  11. China
  12. Bangladesh
  13. India
  14. Nepal
  15. South Korea
  16. Vietnam
  17. Malaysia
  18. Singapore
  19. Japan
  20. The Philippines
  21. Brunei
  22. Indonesia
  23. East Timor
  24. Australia
  25. Sri Lanka
  26. Zimbabwe
  27. Zambia
  28. Botswana
  29. South Africa
  30. Swaziland
  31. Mozambique
  32. Malawi
  33. Tanzania
  34. Kenya
  35. Uganda
  36. Rwanda
  37. Ethiopia
  38. Somalia
  39. Djibouti
  40. Sudan
  41. Egypt
  42. Jordan
  43. Syria
  44. Lebanon
  45. Burma
  46. Taiwan

*Hong Kong

*Macau

  1. North Korea
  2. Mongolia
  3. Russia
  4. Kazakhstan
  5. Finland
  6. Estonia
  7. Latvia
  8. Lithuania
  9. Belarus
  10. Ukraine
  11. Moldova

*Transniistria

  1. Romania
  2. Bulgaria
  3. Macedonia
  4. Kosovo
  5. Greece
  6. Albania
  7. Montenegro
  8. Croatia
  9. Bosnia & Herzegovina
  10. Serbia
  11. Hungary
  12. Israel
  13. Palestine
  14. Italy
  15. Vatican City
  16. San Marino
  17. Switzerland
  18. Liechtenstein
  19. Slovenia
  20. Austria
  21. Slovakia
  22. Czech Republic
  23. Poland
  24. Germany
  25. Denmark
  26. Sweden
  27. Luxembourg
  28. Qatar
  29. Bhutan
  30. UAE
  31. Portugal
  32. Spain
  33. Andorra
  34. Monaco
  35. Iceland
  36. Papua New Guinea
  37. New Zealand
  38. Solomon Islands
  39. Vanuatu
  40. Fiji
  41. Tonga
  42. Samoa

*American Samoa

  1. Kyrgyzstan
  2. Tajikistan
  3. Uzbekistan
  4. Iraq
  5. Maldives
  6. Iran
  7. Azerbaijan
  8. Georgia
  9. Armenia

*Nagorno Karabahk

  1. Turkey
  2. Malta
  3. Cyprus
  4. Mexico
  5. Belize
  6. Guatemala
  7. El Salvador
  8. Honduras
  9. Nicaragua
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Panama
  12. Brazil
  13. Uruguay
  14. Paraguay
  15. Venezuela
  16. Colombia
  17. Ecuador
  18. Peru
  19. Bolivia
  20. Argentina
  21. Chile

*Antarctica

  1. Suriname
  2. Guyana
  3. Trinidad and Tobago
  4. Grenada
  5. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  6. Saint Lucia
  7. Barbados
  8. Dominica
  9. Antigua and Barbuda
  10. St Kitts and Nevis
  11. Dominican Republic
  12. Haiti
  13. Cuba
  14. Bahamas
  15. Jamaica
  16. Bahrain
  17. Kuwait
  18. Algeria
  19. Tunisia
  20. South Sudan
  21. Democratic Republic of Congo
  22. Burundi
  23. Comoros
  24. Madagascar
  25. Seychelles
  26. Mauritius
  27. Lesotho
  28. Namibia
  29. Angola
  30. Republic of Congo
  31. Gabon
  32. Sao Tome and Principe
  33. Equatorial Guinea
  34. Cameroon
  35. Central African Republic
  36. Chad
  37. Nigeria
  38. Benin
  39. Togo
  40. Ghana
  41. Ivory Coast
  42. Burkina Faso
  43. Niger
  44. Mali
  45. Guinea
  46. Liberia
  47. Sierra Leone
  48. Guinea-Bissau
  49. Senegal
  50. Gambia
  51. Mauritania
  52. Morocco
  53. Cape Verde
  54. Libya
  55. Eritrea
  56. Afghanistan
  57. Turkmenistan
  58. Pakistan
  59. Palau
  60. Federated States of Micronesia
  61. Marshall islands
  62. Kiribati
  63. Tuvalu
  64. Nauru

Middle East

  1. Yemen
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Oman

Europe

  1. Norway

197  = 193 UN member states, + Palestine, Kosovo, Taiwan and the Vatican City

FAQS

How many countries are there in the world?

Good question! There are a few different answers to this – the United Nations list, the FIFA list, the travellers century club list, but I’ve gone with the most internationally recognized list, ratified by the UN, plus Palestine, Taiwan, Kosovo and the Vatican City making 197 countries in total.

 

How Many People Have Visited Every Country In The World?

The last I heard, 91 people have done it, most of whom are older Americans who sold companies, got rich and then spent their retirement hunting a new goal. I’m hoping there will be a new breed of younger people doing it, building something as they go. People like Chris Guillabeau, Lee Abbamonte and Graham Hughes have all kinda done it too, and they were a big inspiration for me, but they count airport stopovers, or stepping one foot over a border, not getting visas and getting stamped in, or flying in, staying in an airport hotel and flying out as their travels. For me, I want to FEEL the country, and overlanding when I can so I can experience the place.

 

How long have you been doing this?

I started this goal way back in 2006, straight after leaving university. I stopped to teach English in Thailand, flirted with a ‘real job’ in Sydney, Australia for a year and partied a bit too hard in Bangkok once I started making money online, but other than that I’ve pretty much been on the road the whole time. Once done, it’ll have taken me the best part of a decade.

 

How long do you stay in each country to make it count?

I do this because I love travel, even nine years on, I still love it – crossing borders, new currencies, stressing about logistics, I’m addicted to it all. And although I may only stay a couple of days in the more dangerous countries – Burundi for example recently, historically I’ve spent a couple of weeks in each place. Now the countries are more obscure and become a little scarier, the time has reduced, but I do it for the travel, not for the box ticking.

I know a lot of people who have completed this goal look at it slightly differently than me. As I mentioned earlier Graham Hughes – the first guy to visit every country without flying or Lee Abbamonte – youngest American to visit every country – or Chris Guillabeau, one of my inspirations. Those guys went about it with a view to get in, get out, move on. Lee for example didn’t get get out of the plane and transitted through many, and spent less than an hour in lots of them. Graham counted physically stepping one foot over the border, taking a photo, and moving on. Chris didn’t make it to Eritrea, just the airport, and as a travel hacker he was more about fly in for a few hours, maybe a night, nice hotel and fly out again. I want adventure, I want crazy stories to tell my grandkids, and some crazier ones to tell in the bar. But all these guys,  they helped me believe it was possible, and I’ll always, always be grateful for that. For me though, war zones aside,  I like to try to ‘feel’ the country before leaving. It’s not a box ticking exercise for me.

 

Where possible I overland – Japan, to East Timor, Mexico to Argentina. China to Ireland, Cape Town to Cairo. It’s fun, I get to see the countries and it’s cheaper, but sometimes it’s not possible due to visa problems etc.

All that being said, I don’t really have rules as to what counts, but at the very least you’d have to get stamped in the country by their immigration, although it will be much cooler if I can actually travel throughout the country, or overland through it.

 

How much does it cost to travel to every country in the world?

Good question, and it’s the question I kept trying to find the answer to when I first started. I’ll calculate it properly when I finish but it’s in six figures for sure, USD. However, that’s not as dramatic as it sounds I’ve been doing this as a lifestyle for the best part of a decade, so this journey is not ‘a trip’ as much as it’s my life, so equally I guess I could ask how much did your life cost over the last nine years? Probably something similar to my travels, in fact probably more. Let’s say you can do it for somewhere between $100k to $500k, I love to do everything that’s on offer, so I’m probably around the middle of that mark. Also, now I get a lot of my activities and hotels sponsored by brands and agencies due to my blog, which has helped a lot. Another HUGE benefit of blogging!

 

How do you fund this? Do you have a sponsor? You come from a rich family? etc etc etc.

I started this trip when I was broke, and for the first five years I traveled on a ridiculously small budget, at one point spending around $2kUSD in five months of constant travel, chicken buses, sitting with goats, hitch hiking on cargo boat, riding on the top of trains.

I then started my blog, OneStep4Ward.com, and started to sell advertising on it. Once I realised how online marketing, and SEO work, I started a media company, Step4WardMedia.com, so I work as I travel and it’s worked out ok in the end. Combine that with the fact that I have a team of awesome people who work with me for my companies means I can keep traveling until I reach my goal.

If you wanna read more about how I make money blogging, and how you can too, read this

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So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

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Got a question? Wanna comment? I'd love to hear from you

77 thoughts on “My Journey to Every Country in the World – Country List and FAQ

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  3. Nice to see a realistic approach to counting countries. I got sick of reading articles about thoses doing it solely for bragging rights and no actually spending any quality time in the country.
    I am at 158 over c20years, most of which holding a full time job (with some travel component). I’ll get to all in the end, but big sections (like tiny Pacific nations) will need to come when I have more time.
    I’d love to know how many have really completed the goal. I think 91 is an underestimation. If you strip out the most problematic 5-10 nations it must be in the thousands.

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  5. I am also just setting up my list of visited countries and will enter no.95 (BruneI) in about 2 hours!

    Interesting to see that we count the same, or lets say nearly. I added Kosovo ato get to 196 and will decide about Taiwan once i get there in November 🙂 But it might end up on the list as well, making it 197 too 🙂

    http://www.chrisontour84.de/travelreports/

    Cheers
    Chris

  6. Hi johnny
    Well done
    It’s not easy
    I will probably be the second Irish man after you
    I am from Tralee Kerry
    182 independent countries seen now out of 195
    13 to go
    And I work full time as a consultant intensive care doctor!
    Aged 45
    5 more in November I’d say
    But the wars are a problem in Yemen,Syria and Libya for visas
    They will burn out eventually
    They blew up the airport in Libya the day before I was supposed to go the last time!

  7. Hello johnny
    One word legend
    Just wanted to know how the hell you managed to visit Iran and Israel?
    Cause I know once you visit one of those country’s you can’t really enter the other one?
    Just interested to know
    I’m originally Iranian but lived most of my life in London and I think you will be inspiration to a lot of people from around the world no matter what race, colour, religion and country they are from, Which is something unfortunately we don’t have people like your self much around the world
    Keep it up and wish you all the best in your future journeys

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  12. You are such an inspiration….if i am not wrong ur next step is in Saudi Arabia ….nd that is soooo awesummm cz i stay there…..wish i could meet u 😀 nd get inspired live

  13. You have Norway to go?? Gosh I live in Finland but never been to Norway, now that is going to be one of the most beautiful countries you’ve ever seen! I wish I could join you.

  14. Thanks for the inspiration and various information about your travels. I too would like to visit all the countries. I am currently traveling in Costa Rica and in a few days will visit country #60 – Panama. I work full time as an international teacher, but having lived in Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, Italy, Germany and now again in Mexico, I can easily travel during vacation time. I look forward to hearing of your final four countries. Cheers!

  15. Hey Johnny! It’s awesome what you are doing here and I hope you will be able to visit every single country on your list!
    I just wanted to ask you to please remove “Nagorno-Karabakh” from under Armenia and put it under Azerbaijan. Although practically you can only access Karabakh from Armenia, it is still considered a part of Azerbaijan by law.

    Thanks a lot!

    KM

  16. I love travelling to new places. For me it’s exciting to know I have the rest of my life to travel and explore many new countries around the world. Aren’t you afraid you will have lost something when there is no new place to visit? It’s such an ambitious project. As an Irishwomen it would make me immensely proud for you to be in the record books for this !

  17. Really inspiring post and a good example. It’s glad to have found this blog and know about you, I’ll be a follower now! I have a question, what are you going to do after you take down all countries form the list?

    Regards,
    WeiLe Ng

    1. Hello WeiLe.. Good question buddy!
      I believe sky is the limit. Who knows after striking all the countries on the face of the earth he may would like to play golf on Mars stopping en-route on moon to sip chilled beer on Mons Huygens (Tallest mountain on moon). May be passion of travelling fuels the zeal of Johnny to always take “One step 4 ward”. Hence, as I said before- sky is the limit!!

  18. Wow you have been so many places. i love to go too but it is hard for me. i just been a few country. i hope one day i will try more. i see you have been to Turkey. I am from Turkey,place call Cappadocia. It is very nice place. Have you been to cappadocia my home town I hope one day i will write my own success story like you.

  19. I’d like to say that the day will soon come when Sardinia will not be part of Italy anymore, but that’s never going to happen. In any case, we are a world apart and if you haven’t been perhaps you can consider visiting 🙂

  20. Hi I’m from Nigeria. I haven’t ever left my country but I’m hoping to soon, I”ld love to be a business traveller; breakfast in London dinner in Hong Kong kinda thing…lol.
    Holler when you visit and make sure you come to Lagos, Nigeria….cheers

  21. Great blog, Johnny. I see that Chad is still on your list of countries to go. I am an expat working in N’Djamena for the next year so if you do make it, give me a holler. All the best on your adventures.

    1. it’s surreal to think about it, but normally im focused on the next place, i’ll get to thinking about it when i’m done 🙂

  22. An amazing and inspiring post! Hope you could achieve your dream and be a big inspiration to others. It’s a hard challenge but don’t give it up!

  23. Hi man! Awsome website and blog you have! Congrats on your 150 visited country! I’m only on 32! 😉 I came across your website looking for tips to see and do in Montenegro! Your tips are very much apreciated! 😀 Can I ask you why Norway is the last country to visit on your list?! See you when you finish in Oslo! 😀

  24. Congrats on doing so well. I have the same goal as you do. I am determined to visit every country in the world, but I travel so slowly that it will be a long time before I reach that goal. 🙂

  25. This is just awesome, Nepal is my dream. Wish i could be you man, very glad to find this blog. Regards from Brasil.

  26. Hi! I learnt about this blog from the Business Insider article. Very inspirational (I know you’ve heard that too many times!!) I actually graduated from Uni. of Bristol this year.. and I just want to follow your footsteps haha! I’ll see 😉

  27. Hey mate!

    Just wanted to say I have really enjoyed reading your blog since discovering it last week. You’ve been the source of much inspiration! Starting a website with my friend (another intrepid traveller and professional photographer) over the next week or two. We’ve been talking about it for ages, but your success has spurred us to action.

    Not sure if your list of ‘to-do’ countries is sequential.. But if Norway is last, perhaps you’d consider ending your epic trip in Trolltunga (google image if you haven’t heard of it)? Up there with the most amazing natural rock formations I have seen, with an epic view over the Norwegian Fjords. Sitting on the edge of the rock with a few 1000 ft drop below you is just the most unique feeling, perhaps only rivalled by Yosemite Point in California. Well from what I have seen so far (probably about 1/3 the number of countries you have haha). Completely understand if you have different plans, but it’s such an stunningly beautiful place. Think it would be up your alley from what I’ve read of your adventures 🙂

    I know you’re very busy, but do you have an email address I could get in contact with at all? Would love to pick your brain with a few questions about starting out, maximising a target audience, and other nitty gritty details. If you don’t have time, I completely understand as well 🙂

    Enjoy Africa, and safe travels.

    Daniel

    1. hit me on my facebook fan page mate. And is that rock formation you’re talking about ‘Pulpit Rock’? Or the rock wedged between two cliffs? Both those are on my hit list 🙂

  28. Gahhh….I love a good list! This is the sorta to do list you just want to have in your life.
    I’m new to following you! It was my Dad who actually told me about this fantastic website – I’m a wee aspiring blogger from NI 🙂

    Thanks for the great post!

  29. This FAQ greatly helps in answering why you spend only a couple of days here and there now for some of the latest countries you have visited. I hate when people land in an airport, and say that they have “visited” a place when clearly they have not. At first, I thought you were only spending a couple days in countries just to “tick boxes.” Now that I see that you only do that in countries where you need to minimize your safety risks, I commend you on your efforts and respect that travel mindset. Good luck in finishing your goal by the end of 2016!

    1. Cheers mate, lots of central africa is pretty sketchy :S Also, I have so many biz and life plans so I want to finish my goal before I’m much older, hence rushing a bit more now 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  30. We are looking forward to seeing your visit to Lesotho…we were there for two weeks and found it a fascinating country!

  31. Love your travels, even if I fear for you sometimes (Somalia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone…) By “not ticking the box” how do you cope with counting say China or USA? These countries are so vast and so much to see they are almost impossible to see without spending weeks travelling round (I know, I’ve done it / doing it)

  32. thanks for sharing, i dont even know some of the countries listed here… hehe

    what’s your next goal once you reached your 193rd country? 🙂

    1. Which ones didn’t you know Fei? After every country? SLEEEEEEP, haha 😛 Let’s see, some crazy cycling trips i think 🙂

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