My reverse bucket list


When you've travelled everywhere you ever wanted to go why not travel to every other place?

A few years ago I created a 'reverse' Bucket List consisting of the UN Countries that I had yet to visit. I knew that eventually I would find myself travelling to places my Government recommended that I don't....

I completed my travel 'bucket list' years ago and was buzzing around the world, hopping on trips that sounded interesting when I chanced across some 'country counters'.

Who are 'country counters'?

People that measure their travels through quantity rather than quality. Their goal: travel to every country in the world. Their timeframe: as quickly as possible.

Interesting. It sowed a seed. I had been to every place I had wanted to see, so how about every place I 'didn't know I wanted to see'? Kind of a reverse bucket list, if you follow my logic.

So, I defined the task at hand: travel to every 'UN country', research until I found genuine points of interest in each place, and then find the most economical way to get there.

I travelled, sometimes on group tours and sometimes alone. I always knew that at some point I would have to tackle the hard to get to or dangerous places; countries that my Government advised 'Do Not Travel'.

I have now arrived at that point and 2018 (and beyond) promises to be my years of living dangerously.

My next travel itinerary covers the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Somaliland (the northern part of Somalia), Djibouti and Eritrea in Africa. Pakistan, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan (the northern part of Iraq), and Lebanon and Syria, in the Middle East.

These are the first of my 'Do Not Travel' countries: Somalia, and Iraq. The rest share Government advisories ranging from 'Exercise a high degree of caution' (Djibouti and Iran) to 'Reconsider your need to travel' (Eritrea, Pakistan and Lebanon)

This presents some challenges in terms of locating travel insurance, visas, flights, accommodation and local tour operators. There are niche travel companies that go to some of the world's hotspots but of course the most economical way to travel to these places is independantly!

I anticipate some interesting times ahead.