Lee and I both have a stamp for Dubai, United Arab Emirates on our passports, but we don’t list it as a destination when we are counting up the places where we have travelled.
Technically, we have been to Dubai. We have set foot on Dubai soil, but have we really BEEN there?
We were flying back to England from New Zealand and our flight had an eight hour layover in Dubai. The airline offered us a free hotel room and since we hadn’t slept in 20 hours and we were only half way round the world from our destination we decided to take the opportunity to take a nap on a real bed. We went through customs, left the airport, checked into the hotel, got some sleep and a shower and then went back to the airport.
Should we count Dubai, even though we have only seen a couple of streets and the inside of a hotel? We don’t include it, but it brings up an interesting question…
When Can You Claim That You’ve Been Somewhere?
What criteria do you use to determine whether you have been somewhere? Do you have to stay overnight? Is 24 hours long enough? What about a weekend getaway?
I have been through Belgium on a bus from Paris to Amsterdam and I have seen the city of Brussels through the windows. The bus stopped for half an hour and I got a yogurt from the convenience store. Should I count Belgium as a country I have traveled to?
I’d be interested to hear from our readers, what countries round the world have you only briefly set foot in, such as via an airport layover or en route to somewhere else. Do you count these places on your list of countries visited? How long do you have to stay somewhere until it counts?
It’s Not All About the Tally
At the end of the day, although counting up the number of countries you have visited can be fun, it’s not really the point of traveling.
Traveling round the world is all about having exciting and diverse experiences, exploring different cultures, meeting new people and venturing beyond your comfort zone. It doesn’t really matter whether you have visited five, fifteen or fifty countries. What really matters when you are traveling round the world is what you did while you are there and how it helped you to grow as a person.