People love listing the countries they’ve visited. We do it on Facebook, we do it by putting pins in maps (Mitch Hedberg: “I want to hang a map of the world in my house, then I am going to put pins into all the locations I have traveled to, but first I will have to travel to the top two corners of the map, so it won’t fall down”). But I always feel a little sad when I realize how paltry my list of approximately 9 countries visited looks against the full list of nearly 200 countries.

The North Pole...seems a little extreme, doesn't it?

Enter theĀ Travelers’ Century Club, a group of people who have travelled to no fewer than 100 countries. Now, there are plenty of countries I’d still like to visit, but 100+ countries seems excessive. Do club members really enjoy their time in each country, or do they just step foot in them just to be able to cross them off a master list? What does one do on holiday in, say, Uzbekistan? And who has the time to hit each island in the South Pacific?

At this time, apparently, there are 14 people who claim to have visited EVERY country on the TCC list. This list actually includes 321 lands, some of which are not countries in their own right but are geographically separate from the parent country, such as Alaska or Easter Islands. John Clause from Evansville, IL was the first (by his account) to reach every country in the world, and was recognized in the 1995 Guinness Book of World Records as the most-travelled man. At that point it starts to seem like a compulsion. I wonder if these ultra-travellers get excited about the thought of new countries, or if they dread civil wars and the resulting border reconfigurations. Let me guess, last month there were immediately 14 tickets booked to South Sudan. I hear the weather there is excellent in August.