I’ve travelled to 39 countries so far.

39 countries across 5 continents.

39 countries out of some 195 countries in the world.

To some that might seem like an incredible achievement, whilst to others it may seem so tiny as to be almost inconsequential.

Well, to me, it’s important.

I feel proud to have set foot in 39 countries across the world. The majority have been in Europe – a place that I love so much. Others have been further afield – like America, Vietnam and Australia.

It’s exciting to visit new places, see and do new things and learn more about other countries and cultures. It’s rewarding, often eye-opening and some of my very best memories are travel memories.

For the last few years, I’ve been saying to myself and others that I’d like to visit 40 countries before I turn 30. Right now I’m almost 28 and a half, so I’ve got 20 months to visit one new country. That’s a goal that’s pretty darn achievable, especially as I live in Europe and there are some countries that are just a few hours flight away that I haven’t yet set foot in.

Maybe my 40th country will be Austria, as I’ve wanted to visit Vienna for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’ll be Hungary as I’m dying to go to Budapest for a mini break. Or it might be somewhere more far-flung. Asia is always calling me back and there are so many countries there that I’d still like to explore. Who knows.

I don’t travel quite as much now as I used to (thanks to having a mortgage to pay and all the responsibilities that go with it. Adulting!), but travel is still such a massive part of my life. I try to travel at least once a month, even if some months that’s just within Scotland.

At present, I’ve already got 4 abroad trips planned between now and next November. None of them are to new countries though, so won’t help me reach my goal.
visiting 40 countries

I can’t even really remember when this became a goal I had. It must have been when I was around 22 and travelling the most I’ve ever travelled. I realised I was racking up my country count and decided I wanted to quantify it in some way, so why not aim to visit 40 countries before my 30th birthday?

In previous years I’ve travelled to dozens of countries in the space of a year, some old and some new; taking 25-30 flights per year.

Once I hit 40 countries before my 30th birthday, it won’t be a major focus for me anymore. Sure, it’ll be cool to hit 50, 60, 70 or more countries in my lifetime, but it’s not something I want to solely focus on. I don’t want to feel pressure to constantly go to new places when sometimes all I want to do is return to destinations I’ve already been and adored.

If I’d really put effort into it I’m sure I could have hit 40 countries before I was 25 even, but that wasn’t something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t revisit places I loved and making my goal 40 before 30 has allowed me to do that. Places like Barcelona, The Algarve, Venice, Sorrento and the south of France I’ve been to more times than I can count and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on revisiting these places in favour of going others simply to add to my country count.

So, yes, 40 countries before 30 will be a great achievement for me. It could have been many more, but 40 is a number I’m comfortable with. Whatever my 40th country will be, you can be sure I’ll be toasting reaching my goal with champagne!

Do you count countries too? Have you got any goals to visit a certain number of countries before a big milestone?