There is an organization called the Travelers’ Century Club whose members have a rare distinction: they’ve all been to at least 100 countries. That’s a rarity, and a feat that usually takes more than a few years — which explains why most of the members are baby boomers, or older. But rarer still are travellers who’ve been to every country in the world.
I can’t think of anyone who’s done it. In fact, it’s an elusive goal: no one is even sure exactly how many countries there are in the world. Different authorities count anywhere from 189 to 196 countries, depending on which hunks of land they recognize as independent states. Is Kosovo a country? More than 100 other countries say yes, the rest say no. Is Taiwan? It’s a self-governing state, but many countries don’t recognize it, for fear of riling China.
So it’s a strange journey when it comes to visiting — or even counting — every country in the world. And it’s stranger still when you look at all the countries out there: a lot of them have some pretty crazy things going on. For example, there’s the country that has three capitals; the country that has changed its name six times in the past 65 years; and the country that has the shortest regular commercial air flight in the world — it lasts 53 seconds.
How about a border crossing where time jumps ahead three and a half hours as soon as you step across the line? Or the landlocked country that has a one-ship navy with seven sailors? And the several countries where people have to travel through another country to get home from work or school?
It’ a funny old world when you start chopping the globe into little pieces. So visiting every country in the world becomes a real challenge, even if you have the time. But not to worry: you can see every country in the world by video, touching every stop along the way, and finding out some weird and wonderful facts about each one.
These videos are called, fittingly, Every Country in the World, and they’re by Wendover Productions, which has some really interesting videos on the ins and outs of travel. I thought these two were fascinating enough to share with you — something fun to start the weekend. Enjoy the trip.
If that jaunt around the globe wasn’t too much for you, here’s Part 2, which has more strange and wonky facts.
Map at top by Abraham Ortelius, 1595 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons