Thursday, May 06, 2010

Another Way of Counting

Speaking of country counts, here’s an interesting (and by “interesting,” I mean “borderline crackpot”) web site for a travel club based in southern California. It’s called the Travelers’ Century Club, and it is for people who can say they’ve been to 100 countries. That sounds like a lot, but the way they count countries, you probably went through two or three on your way to work today.

For the TCC, the U.N.’s official list of 192 countries is just a starting point. According to the TCC, if a region is separated by geography or culture from its official country, then it counts as a separate place. Alaska and the continental United States, for example, are counted as two different countries.

According to the TCC, there are six countries in North America, seven in Antarctica, 51 in Asia, and 67 in Europe. Worldwide, they reckon 320 total countries. By this count, you have probably traveled abroad without even knowing it. According to this group, I have been to 28 countries, which isn’t so much more than my U.N. tally, but does include accounting irregularities that would not have occurred to me, such as separating Russia from Siberia, and calling St. Barths a sovereign nation.

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