It’s never too late to learn Geography

Current Goal: Research all the Countries in the World

About 2 months ago, I embarked on a 100-day solo journey around the world. I didn’t have to pack a thing…because my journey exists solely in the internet.

My goal is to learn about and summarize all the countries of the world. I want to learn where they are located, what’s interesting about them, why I should or should not visit, and gather basic information about travel (peacefulness, tourism maturity, cost per day of travel).

How do I approach the travel research?  In short, very methodically.  I started in alphabetical order, and I research two countries per day until I complete all 197 of them. If you’d like to fact check me, see my resources below, or just dive right into my World Research Summary.  After I read a volume of information about each country, I summarize key facts that would be important for travel research. Last step is the hardest step: I summarize my interest in traveling to each country using a simple 5-scale Likert-esque indicator: “Erika’s thirst.”

Why am I doing this?

Three practical reasons I’m learning about the countries of the world:

  1. I never took geography class in high school or college. This educational gap feels unfortunate and uncomfortable.
  2. To create the most objective-subjective assessment of where I should travel with my limited vacation time
  3. I manage a very diverse team at work — they are from all over the world (literally, my 9 team members are from 7 different countries and unique heritages!). I wanted to know more about where they come from so I can approach them from a more empathetic, common ground.

How can other people use this?

When I told my friends about my internet research journey, I was surprised to get multiple requests to share my research so that they could be lazy in planning their own travel** using my summarized research.

I’m only about halfway through the 100 days and it’s moving slowly, but I decided to post it here so you can see where I’m at and learn about countries “A” through “G” if you’d like.

**Caveat to using this for travel planning: visa requirements change often, so I encourage you to independently research the current visa situation and safety warnings from your government before making travel plans. However, my concise summaries regarding reasons to visit, reasons not to visit, and fun facts about each country should be valid for some time.

Some interesting things I’ve learned to date

  • One quarter (!) of the world’s countries begin with “A” “B” or “C”
  • There are a lot of countries I had never heard of.  Like the Comoros.  And Cape Verde. I also didn’t know that Fiji was a country.  Or that Indonesia is as wide as the United States.
  • French and Portuguese are very handy languages to speak when traveling around the world — (thanks to yee olden explorers and colonizers!)
  • Bhutan measures development using GHP (Gross National Happiness), a holistic approach of well-being, rather than GDP (Gross Domestic Product, an economic indicator of development and prosperity).
  • “Abyssinia” — this elusive and interesting name — is an historic name for the country now known as Ethiopia
  • The world’s newest/youngest country is…South Sudan.  (9 newest countries article and areas that have a high potential to become new countries soon).
  • Greenland is not a country. It is an “autonomous Danish territory.” Mind. Blown.


Enjoy the fruits of the research here…Erika’s World Research (caution, it may have some notes that are not well-suited for kids).  I will update it weekly as I complete more research, and I will update the reference tables as they are updated for 2016.



Key Resources

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Erika Written by:

Operations zealot, writer, & art lover tackling sustainable development by day and dreaming up her next backpacking adventure by night.

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