About five years ago I interviewed someone who told me he had traveled to 42 countries. I started counting on two hands how many countries I had visited in my lifetime and I was nowhere close. I was simultaneously saddened and excited: I resolved to go to at least one new country per year for the rest of my life.
Several months went by and I was having breakfast at a cafe near my home; our server wore a t-shirt that said something about having run 1000 miles in one month, a challenge. This is was my aha moment for creating our 1 Country Per Year challenge.
Beginning in 2003, I’ve visited one new country every year. What I’ve noticed is how different a trip can be when it’s for business compared to traveling for pleasure. Traveling for business is more about a trip but traveling for pleasure is more about a journey.
It wasn’t until recently that I traveled somewhere that had nothing to do with business and all to do with getting lost. I went to Kyoto for the first time and rediscovered my sense of wanderlust. I have had so much certainty in my travels lately that it was nice to travel with no agenda.
The thing I like most about traveling to a new country is understanding and experiencing new cultures. One of my favorite cultures is Japanese. It’s a testament to the beauty and uniqueness of the Japanese people and way of life.
A couple places I’m considering for 2014 1CPY are in South America: Argentina (I saw a film called Sidewalls that inspired me to check out Buenos Aires); Cartagena in Columbia also sounds interesting; and Uruguay.
Next year is going to be tough planning all my travel, since I plan on spending a week or two in Brazil for the World Cup. In any case, I’m looking forward to making time for more 1CPY journeys.
Everyone should take this simple challenge. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that I’m 75 years old and have been nowhere, seen nothing. At Flight 001, we believe that travel makes for a richer life and a better person overall. We like to think we’re creating a better world through travel. Where are you going next?