|Dr. Hogenauer ... Systematic Travel|
Systematically planned out travel can provide travelers with a strategy for seeing the world.
By Dr. Alan Hogenauer
Hello, fellow travelers. This is the first installment in our series on systematic travel, defined here as the methodical visitation to a specific number of distinct places in a given area, or distinct elements on a given topic. Area-wise, these can range from just one site (such as the 12 residential colleges of Yale University) to the entire earth (the seven continents, for example, or the highest peaks thereon, the Seven Summits.) Topic-wise, these can be visiting the top 50 cities in population or eating in a McDonald's in all 50 U.S. states.
If you’re an avid traveler, you may already be well along in this type of activity. Therefore, over the next few months, we will both cite known systematic travel pursuits and encourage like-minded travelers to add their names and/or their special pursuits to the discussion.
COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD
This is certainly an obvious list at first glance, but it gets tricky indeed if you try to be precise. What, exactly, is a country? Only a truly independent nation (France), or also one of its sizeable, distant territories (New Caledonia)? A miniscule island (Nauru) or also a huge possession (Greenland)?
We will examine several systematic efforts to both determine and visit "countries". But NO "countries" list will EVER be truly definitive/objective!
UN MEMBER NATIONS
Here's an objective list, for sure, with 192 members as of this moment, covering most of the world. But Antarctica is left out and many UN member nations are so small as to be almost inconsequential, while others are so huge that a visit to one point therein is hardly sufficient to constitute a thorough or even a representative visit.
THE TRAVELERS’ CENTURY CLUB
This group, initiated 54 years ago by travel agents, to both recognize and motivate travel, has prepared a frequently revised list. It currently totals 317 "countries", including both independent countries (like the USA) and key possessions/territories (like Puerto Rico, even Alaska). Their list has certainly motivated many to reach the primary goal of 100, and then continue to try to complete their full list. Controversially, however, they count merely landing (and not even disembarking) as a visit. Do you agree with this? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEXT TO COME
Next time we'll cover MostTraveledPeople.com (698 "places") and the Amateur Radio list, yet another compilation with multiple revisions.
Happy travels, determined or otherwise!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Alan Hogenauer is Associate Professor in the College of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in travel and tourism. He has been traveling "systematically" for more than 50 years. In 1981, he became the first person to reach all the units of America's national park system, which he updated in 1995 and 2006. His multiple travel challenges are listed on his website www.cheklist.com. Dr. Hogenauer's latest and ongoing goal is to link everywhere on earth using surface transport only; to date he has linked 169 countries and territories on all seven continents without using an airplane.
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