I love to travel.
It's one of the things that makes me really excited about being alive.
The world is small but so fascinatingly diverse. What an incredible planet we live on!
Perhaps my love of travel has something to do with my parents and my early upbringing. My father is Bangladeshi, my mother is Scottish. I was born in Saudi Arabia before moving to (and growing up in) England. I have since lived in Scotland, Sierra Leone, and Vanuatu.
Whatever the reasons, I'm exceptionally lucky to have been given the opportunity to travel since I was young. I'd like to pay back some of this luck by sharing a few experiences from my travels around the world.
WHAT I'LL BE WRITING ABOUT
I'm documenting each country that I have been to. So far, I've been to 73 countries. For anyone who's interested, my criteria for this previous sentence are the following:
How do I define 'country'? Hey, everyone's entitled to their own methodology on this, right? I have a particular (or should that be 'peculiar'?) interest in how independent, sovereign states function. So on my list, 'countries' are the 193 United Nations Member States, plus 4 extra countries which I consider to be effectively independent and/or sovereign, namely Kosovo, Palestine, Taiwan, and Vatican City. So, that makes 197 countries (only 124 more to go!).
How do I define 'been to'? I take a pretty liberal approach to this one. In my book, I would say I've been to a country if I've spent at least a few hours 'on the ground' there, outside of an airport, and ideally not just metres away from the border. But I don't have to have been to the capital city, say, or have spent a night there, to consider that I've 'been to' a country.
I will be keeping each entry for each country brief, on purpose. Other than the haikus (see below), there isn't a strict theme to each entry, so I may write about the general vibe of a place, or about specific activities that I did there, or about not much at all other than my hazy memories (also see below).
OBVIOUSLY THERE WILL BE HAIKUS TOO, RIGHT?
Obviously! I'm going to write a haiku that somehow describes my feelings towards each country I've been to. Hopefully this will spice things up a bit. But it also allows me to attempt to summarise my thoughts on each country as concisely as possible rather than rambling on.
I'll be documenting countries as I go along, chronologically, meaning that the next country I visit will be #74, and so on. Of course, I'll only count my first visit to each country.
For the first 65 countries that I went to, though, I did so before I created this website. So they are backward looking.
I also have very hazy memories of my travels before 2006. Obviously, being born in Saudi Arabia, it's #1. From Russia (#23) onwards, I know the correct chronological order. But #2 to #22 are uncertain - I'll number them using only a rough guesstimate of the order in which I visited them.
COUNTRIES TO WHICH I'VE BEEN
Here's a great map creator, courtesy of www.amcharts.com. Countries to which I've been are shaded in light blue.
Here is a list of the 197 countries of the world (using my definition, see above). Countries to which I've been are in bold (and hyperlinked).
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Federated States of Micronesia
Papua New Guinea
São Tomé and Príncipe
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America