In The Happiness of Pursuit, Chris Guillebeau talks about finding purpose in life by working to accomplish big goals and seek out adventure. The main example of this is his decade-long quest of traveling to all 193 countries in the world (started in 2002 and completed in 2013), but he also talks about other quests undertaken by various individuals, such as guy who walks across the United States, a guy who takes a 17 year vow of silence(???), and a teenager who sails around the world.
Inspired somewhat by The Happiness of Pursuit, I set a goal a couple of years ago of reaching 45 countries visited by the age of thirty. At the time in 2015, I had reached somewhere around 34 countries. 45 seemed like a nice milestone number, somewhat challenging, was clear criteria that is measurable, and required sacrifice, persistence, and effort.
Since then we have been persistently trying to make it happen, and we have been fortunate enough to go on a few trips the last couple of years (including a crazy weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland, and a detour from Switzerland into Liechtenstein, the 6th smallest country in the world). As soon as we landed in Portugal this past September, Christine actually knocked off her 50th country visited, while I reached a measly 42nd country. So I have about a year left to reach the last 3 to complete this quest.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am a travel junkie. It is a real thing, and psychologists have even come up with a diagnosis for it called ‘Dromomania’, signifying an uncontrollable psychological urge to wander. So this quest of mine may be just an excuse to fuel my travel addiction, but as long as we are seeking out adventure I think we’ll be fine.