36 Countries & Counting…


In my nearly 36 years of life on this big planet, I have traveled to 36 countries across 5 of its 7 continents. From the list below, one could argue that I have actually not been to 36 countries, but the true number is really subjective.

Case in point, the UN has 193 Member States and 2 Observer States (Vatican City & Palestine) for a total of 195 “countries”. But there are an additional 6 States with partial recognition (Taiwan, Western Sahara, Kosovo, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Northern Cyprus). All of these are claimed as parts of other countries but are not actually controlled by them. The number of UN members recognizing them varies from just one for Northern Cyprus to over 100 for Kosovo. This would bring the total number of “countries” to 201.

But there is another list that actually recognizes 249 “countries”. The international standard country code list, formally known as ISO 3166-1 includes the UN Member and Observer States as well as a slew of other dependent territories, uninhabited territories, and Antartica.

I personally utilize the ISO list because it is a very inclusive list that has less geopolitical biases than the UN list.

Now that I have settled on the number of countries, it is important to note what I count as a “visited” country.  Business trips do not count for me if I have not actually seen or experienced anything cultural. The same goes for long layovers at an airport.  For me, I only count a country on my list if I have spent at least 1 meaningful full day as a tourist within its borders.

What are your thoughts?

North AmericaSouth AmericaEuropeAsiaAfrica
USColombiaEnglandCambodiaSouth Africa
Costa RicaBrazilSpainSingapore
BahamasItalyHong Kong
Vatican CitySouth Korea


Mark Kim
Like 80% of working-class Americans, I also work a full-time job. But my goal in life is not to work, but to maximize the time I have outside of the 40 hour work week. This is where the idea for 128 Hours per Week came from. I want to chronicle my life and adventures and highlight the ways that I am trying to get the most out of my life so that I can share my tips and lessons with you.



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