Destinations Magazine

The 200 Real Country Countdown

By Jsbdsl @jonnyblair

“It’s the Final Countdown” – Europe.

It’s hard to believe that it was almost 3 years ago that I quit full time backpacking, I’ve since moved flats 4 times but found a home in Poland. But after settling in Poland, I had to make steps to legalise my stay, especially since Northern Ireland was swallowed into the uncountry some call the United Kingdom (Untied Queendom). This hindered travel and changed my life again. I was no longer wanting to whackpack countries for fun and even the idea of reaching 200 real countries by the age of 40 faded by the wayside. I’ve just over 24 months to complete that if it happens and given that as of today, I have only been to 168 countries, to visit 32 new ones in 24 months is a task too far. In the last 3 years, I’ve visited the following new countries, which is more than I thought when I saw the list:

  • Lovely
  • Kingdom of Romkerhall
  • Serbia
  • Republic of Srpska
  • Kashubia
  • Bavaria
  • Krolestwo Dreamlandu
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Oman
  • Lebanon
  • Mongolia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Malta
  • Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  • Croatia
  • San Escobar
  • Kaliningrad
  • Ivory Coast
  • Benin
  • Togo
  • Western Sahara
  • Morocco
  • Cyprus
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina

So here are 5 trips that I still want to do in life, if depression ever goes and Ola Crueller apologises.

1.The Trans-Siberian Railway

This one has been on my hit list for years but remains undone. Even though I visited Russia three times last year (twice to St. Petersburg, once each to Kaliningrad and Krasnodar). I’d love to take the Moscow – Vladivostok Train someday though – I have watched so many documentaries about it but yet to do it. Visas are becoming easier, there are more travel blogs on it and it’s easy to find an Online Service for Russian Railway Tickets these days. I love Russia more and more on each visit. St. Petersburg was wacaday! Krasnodar was insania!

The 200 Real Country Countdown

Mr. Drunke Bar, Krasnodar, Russia

2.Gorilla Trekking in Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Ever since watching a video clip of the national football team of Zaire, I have wanted to visit the country. As yet, it (and most of Africa!) have eluded me. I simply didn’t backpack places like this. Before I met Panny, I had never even been to Africa. I’ve since visited 15 out of the 60 odd countries there, so 25% isn’t bad. But to see the gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo would be a dream.

The 200 Real Country Countdown

Zaire football team in 1974. I’d loved to whackpack modern day DR Congo

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Zaire football team in 1974. I’d loved to whackpack modern day DR Congo

3.Chill Out in Seychelles and Maldives

Apart from Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia and Philippines, I feel I haven’t really backpacked my way to tropical islands yet. So I would love to chill out sometime on Seychelles or the Maldives. These glorious island’s are seen as a relaxers paradise. In fact, the best and closest I came was my 3 nights on Madonna’s island in 2014, where “last night I dreamt of San Pedro”.

The 200 Real Country Countdown

San Pedro, La Isla Bonita, Belize


The Last Place I’ll mention on this list is also in Africa. It’s Cameroon. It also dates back to 1990 and my obsession with Roger Milla who should have taken Cameroon to the final of the 1990 World Cup, until England came back from 2-1 down in the Quarter Finals to win 3-2. Roger Milla is a superstar and I’d love to watch a match in the national stadium there.

The 200 Real Country Countdown

Roger Milla and Cameroon in 1990

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