"How many countries have you travelled to?"
Updated: Feb 19
I am often asked this question, more so since I launched Unique Travels. Why the obsession? I understand the curiosity, but it is just a number, and to me it doesn't mean anything.
I passed through Luxembourg once on my way to The Netherlands, does that mean I visited it? Absolutely not. I couldn't tell you anything about that country. I could probably guess the architecture, the food and the mood, but that would be a wild (and rude) guess.
What does it mean to visit a country?
Passing through the airport, spending a few hours doing a tour in a taxi and overnighting in a luxury international hotel chain doesn't qualify for me.
I feel I know a place when I spent time staring at locals whist drinking wine on a terrace. I need to try the food, and not just a burger in The States (also the meals that real people cook and eat at home).
I want to talk to families in the neighbourhood, understand what it means to live there, see their kids play and listen to them communicate (hell, even invite myself for dinner!)
I want to hang out with locals drinking late at night, just chatting, learning about their lives, knowing we will never see each other again.
If we are travelling with the little ones, I always encourage them to play with local kids. It can be really awkward at the beginning, but it takes minutes (and sometimes a shared snack) to break all barriers and make a new friend.
Now, if you really need to know... my passport has seen 55 countries 😉
Thankfully, I still have a lot of the world to discover.
On to the next adventure!