One of our Aussie friends recently asked, “Where haven’t you two been?”
I got to wondering if I could generate a map of the world showing countries we’ve visited. So I did a Google search for “countries we visited map generator” and up popped amcharts.com. It allows you to create maps of the United States and the world.
The one above shows the countries to which Jamie and I have traveled on this and previous trips.
Then there’s the map below: Countries we’ve seen in the distance, and could easily have visited but for one reason or another didn’t. That would include:
Bolivia. When we were in Chile’s Atacama Desert, we were only about 15 miles away from its border and we could see the Bolivian Andes in the distance. Our cab driver said it was a well-known drug route and that the Bolivian border patrol agents were not pleasant.
Uruguay. You can stand in Buenos Aires and see Uruguay across the Rio de la Plata. But we had such a good time in Buenos Aires that we just never got around to taking the ferry across the river. It would have taken just an hour and a quarter each way. Oh, well. Next time.
Paraguay. It was a tantalizingly-close four miles away when we crossed the Paraná River between Argentina and Brazil. But the closest point of entry via land was more than an hour away and it just didn’t seem worth the effort to spend the time getting there and back just so I could say I’d set foot in the country.
Italy. We could see it across Lake Lugano while we were having dinner in Switzerland. There was probably a lovely boat trip that would have taken us there, but we just didn’t get around to it.
Mongolia. We had a choice of routes when we took the Trans-Siberian railroad across Russia — one turned south at Lake Baykal and went through Mongolia, the other went east to Vladivostok. Due to the craziness of Russian visa restrictions, we had to take the latter. But in my mind, I’m convinced I saw Mongolia off in the distance when the train curved around Lake Baykal.
Jamie thinks I’m insane because there are three months left on this trip but I’m already working on the itinerary for our next one. The map of countries visited should gain a few more blue spots on that trip — St Helena, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and maybe Namibia.
Jamie may be right.
UPDATE: I’ve given this a little more thought and came up with two more “There it is in the distance” countries we’ve “seen” but never been to:
Malaysia. If you’ve been to Singapore, you’ve probably seen Malaysia. I can’t even say “in the distance” because several bridges lead directly from one country to the other. You can see Malaysia from Singapore as long as there’s not a skyscraper blocking your view.
Morocco. From Gibraltar to Morocco is just 14 miles across the Straits of Gibraltar. It’s pretty easy to see one from the other.