Too many people have asked me whether I have visited all the countries in the world and where I would go next. Some think I visit a country in order to add it to my list while many consider me an adventurous traveller. It’s time to reflect and trace my footprints and put the record straight.
I have completed a full cycle in my life i.e. 60 years and have visited 130 out of the193 Member States of the United Nations. I have also been to some places of note including the Antarctica, North Pole, Vatican, Kosovo and Taiwan.
- Land Mass stretching from Asia to Europe (including Middle East) (77): Albania Armenia Austria Bahrain Bangladesh Belgium Bhutan Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Cambodia China Cyprus Czech RepublicDenmark Estonia Finland France Georgia GermanyGreece Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Islamic Republic of) Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg MalaysiaMaldives Malta Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Myanmar Nepal Netherlands Norway Oman Pakistan Philippines Poland Portugal Qatar Republic of Korea Romania Russian FederationSerbia Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sri Lanka Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab RepublicThailand The former Yugoslav Republic of MacedoniaTurkey Turkmenistan Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Uzbekistan Viet Nam (* Belarus has been excluded as I was in transit from Poland to Moscow)
- Africa (21): Algeria Belize Benin Burkina Faso Cameroon EgyptEthiopia Gambia Ghana Kenya Mali Morocco Namibia Nigeria Senegal South Africa Togo Tunisia Uganda United Republic of Tanzania Zimbabwe
- Americas & the Caribbean (28): Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Bahamas Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Chile Colombia Costa Rica Cuba Dominica Ecuador El Salvador Grenada Guatemala Honduras Mexico Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Trinidad and Tobago United States of America Venezuela
Truth No 1: The number is meaningless, unimportant and irrelevant
I am an easy-going and flexible backpacker and value efficiency, time management and value-for-money. I love nature and hiking, culture and history, wildlife and the people. Food, party, resort, beach, comfort and shopping are totally unimportant.
As a professional tourist and a world traveller, I have been to seven continents. Many tourists say they see Europe, Asia or South America in a month or can tick it off from their list. I hate rushing and never visit a country for the sake of adding it on my list. Though I have already spent over nine years in Europe, more than four years in the US, a year in Australia and have been to many parts of South America, Africa, India, Russia, Japan, Mainland China and Taiwan several times, I still find them intriguing. I often return to the same countries to explore different parts of the country or the continent.
I am not as adventurous as my friends think. I love and can afford roaming without a fixed travel plan. I like to poke my head around to get a glimpse and taste of the place/country. I love street food and local markets as they give me a sense of the place and the way of life of the common people.
Truth No 2: Travel is an art, a way of life and a treasure hunt giving me lots of joy and inspirations.
My next destination
My main consideration is timing, my health condition and whether there is something worth seeing. If I remain fit, I would like to spend a few months travelling overland again in South America and Africa. It would be interesting to spend a winter in the Arctic/polar region. I am also looking at a two-month boat trip from New Zealand to the Antarctica before going north to Cape Verde.
Truth No 3: As an intrepid traveller, I wish to see at least 20 more countries and to embark on a few epic journeys before I die!
Sarah Wu, August 2014