A colleague of ours has this theory about being a proper traveller: you should have visited as many countries as years you’ve been alive.
To be clear, he (and we) define ‘visited’ as staying for at least 24 hours, leaving the airport, and preferably staying overnight. Hanging out in an airport, even for loooong stretches of time (I will eventually recount my tale of my 20 hour layover in the Delhi airport), just doesn’t count.
M. spent the first 25 years of his life living in Europe, with dozens of countries at his doorstep. He’s almost at his proper country quota for the 33 years he’s been alive; he might make it after a 3-month trip he has planned this year.
I, on the other hand, am a mere 14 in travellers’ years. It’ll be 16 after we go away in July, but I’ll still have 13 countries to visit before I can hold my head high in well-travelled circles.
We’ll never be the kind of travellers who go just to tick boxes– that’s not our style. But it’s still fun to have a bit of healthy competition between us and our friends. It gives us something to aim for!