As I whacked my way through that crazy 100 mark in the country stakes by banging my way through Tunis, Monastir and Kairouan, something dawned on me, partly by looking at an old map, but also influenced by politics and the way others view “countries”. There are a few countries that I will never and can never visit, mostly due to the fact that the country no longer exists, or in some cases even – never did exist. Here are 5 countries I will never visit, though confusing I have already stepped in all of their land masses.
I’ve no ambition to ever visit the “country of America”, nor would I want all the countries in America to become one. However I’ve been to every country on the mainland parts of North America, Central America and South America though so in essence I’ve seen quite a lot of America already.
My favourite countries in America are El Salvador, Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and Canada.
Why will I never visit the country of America?
The country doesn’t exist and I hope it never does. Can you imagine amalgamating countries like Brazil, Mexico, Suriname and Canada all into 1 country? It would be chaos! That’s four different languages for a start!
2. East Germany
I blame my age on the fact that I’ve never been to the country of East Germany. The irony is that I’ve spent more time in the former East Germany than I have in the former West Germany. My first ever night in Germany in 2005 was actually spent in the former capital of East Germany – East Berlin. I’ve even spent a few nights in the lonely village of Osterweddingen, as East German as they come.
The country of Ireland ceased to exist from 1921 onwards – the Partition Act and the Anglo Irish Treaty put paid to that. I’ve been to both the countries in Ireland though. I grew up in glorious Northern Ireland and I’ve passed through the Republic of Ireland manys a time. The flag of St. Patrick that was used to represent Ireland in the Union flag and the current island politically looks like this. Northern Ireland’s members of parliament take their seats at Westminster in London, England. Well, most of them 😉
When you’re talking about Ireland, please remember it’s an island. It is not a country. There are two countries here, both with their own unique cultures, government and banknotes. Yes, Northern Ireland have their own banknotes and the Republic of Ireland use Euros! I’ve even met some apparently experienced travellers and travel writers say the phrase “my favourite country is Ireland!” Could have fooled me, it’s not even a country! Sure St. Patrick was Welsh anyway, but you knew that. The irony of all this? I travel on an Irish passport as well as a British one. Oh the joys of the Good Friday Disagreement…
As a child growing up I always remember looking at Yugoslavia on the map and wanting to visit. I had no idea at the time that it would eventually disappear as a country and turn into 7 smaller countries (arguably 9 if you count the more recent countries of Liberland and the Kingdom of Enclava). I’ve managed to backpack my way through Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia so far. Just a few more to go to complete my Yugoslavian jigsaw, but as far as this flag goes, it’s history…whatever happened to Dragan Stojkovic?
Actually the most confusing thing for me what that Montenegro has undergone 4 different country names/areas in the last 25 years. It was part of Yugoslavia, then joined with Serbia (under the name of Yugoslavia without Bosnia and Croatia), then the name was changed to Serbia and Montenegro, then simply Montenegro as they voted to have their own country. Nice one lads, still got to love backpacking in Kotor though – great town.
5. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.)
It’s still my quest to visit every ex- USSR state but due to the fall of communism, curtains made of iron are no longer around nor are even any reminders of Joey Boy even in his home town of Gori in Georgia. My first visit to the ex-USSR was to Russia and Belarus in 2007 and I have since clocked up 12/21 ex Soviet states/disputed regions and republics: Lithuania, Uzupis, Nagorno Karabakh, Georgia, Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Transnistria. (still to come on my own Magical Mystery Tour are Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Ukraine, Crimea, Kazahkstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan). By that time, there will probably be another 6 countries and breakaway states…
And yes it was with crazy Transnistria that I thought I had done a Beatles and was truly Back in the USSR. Transnistria’s capital city Tiraspol is a drastically sublime place and reminders of the other famous Lenin are everywhere! It’s as close as I’ll get to being in the real USSR.
On a final note, I aim to visit as many countries as I can, whether they are on the UN list, the FIFA list or just plain crazy self declared countries like Austenasia and Nagorno Karabakh. Stay tuned, it’s a bumpy ride to come!
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8 thoughts on “5 Countries I Will Never Visit”
A truly sad and pointless post.
For someone who has travelled extensively, you sure do like to continuously prove your point about what nations are referred to in a degrading and condescending way. I have previously seen you post something similar (although that time it was targeted towards the United States in a very xenophobic light) on your Facebook page and I gave you the benefit of the doubt that it was just a hostility towards a nation (because hating the US is the cool thing to do), but to see you waste your time writing a post and throwing other places in there is just a bit ridiculous.
Why does it matter so much to you what a place is called? Why don’t you spend your time appreciating a country for what it has to offer rather than find jabs to poke at it every time for what others refer to it as. I understand this is your blog, but it appears to me that you really have a severe disliking toward Ireland and the USA. It is 2015. Good luck to you on your future travels and I hope that you can bite your tongue over pettiness.
I’ve just realised how happy I am to be a bit older – I managed to visit two countries you list 😀
Hi Monika, Awesome work, well done! Was it the USSR and East Germany?! Safe travels, Jonny
Hi Niamh, Thanks for the comment. It’s a fun post, not sure why you feel it is sad and pointless. Nothing on this blog is pointless and it’s my blog and I can write what I want – so can you if you have a blog.
I don’t like people who refer to countries the wrong way – Korea, America and Ireland are not countries and it’s the opposite to what you say – sadly it’s the well travelled people who get these names wrong. I even met a guy last week who asked me if I had been to America before. I said yes – Uruguay and Honduras.
Of course I enjoy my time in each place I visit – I’ve written over 2,000 passionate travel articles from around the world – that is certainly appreciating it.
As for having a disliking for Ireland, that’s laughable as I’m from Ireland and if you look carefully as some of my articles, I am wearing a green shirt with the words “Irish Football Association” on it! I’ve been to the USA 4 times so far and it grows on every visit, I will be back there sometime so I don’t dislike it!
As far as your last sentence goes, totally agree! Safe and happy travels. Jonny
The point of it is that if you know what someone is referring to, what is the point in getting so worked up about it or trying to correct them if the rest of the world refers to it the same way? So… many people refer to people from the USA as Americans? Does it really matter? No one is saying it to be condescending to the rest of the population that lives in other countries on those continents. It is just a title. I’m glad it was a post in a joking manner, but to see this not be the first mention of this topic indicates that it really perturbs you.
Not meaning to start a discussion and I genuinely enjoy your blog and reading about your travels.
Cheers from Dublin.
Hi Niamh. I don’t really get worked up about it – it’s more funny than anything, but I do like to try and be politically correct (even though I’m not always right). I admit I studied politics, history and media at college and tech and later did Political Communication and Marketing/PR at university so the influence from those days and the debates we had have moulded me into the person I am. I do like to call countries and places by what I feel they should be known as, same goes for cities and towns by the way – I’m not a fan of “the big apple” term even though I’ve used it myself before. The fact is that the real name of Mexico is “The United States of Mexico” yet if a Mexican says they are from the United States, people will assume they mean the USA, which is wrong and slightly disrespectful to Mexicans. And North Koreans have as much right to call themselves the “real Korea” as the South Koreans in my opinion. But I also don’t want to start debates as I’ve been to places like Mexico and South Korea and I had a great time there (especially the food in Mexico!).
It’s all fun though so I don’t mean to offend you or anyone else with these posts.
Say hi to Dublin for me – I spent many summers going to concerts in Dublin in the 1990s (R.e.M, Oasis, the Verve, Manics, Foo Fighters etc.).
The one issue with a lot of these blogs is that they tend to spread around misinformation. That is, people who have such a strong belief in something that they tend to see it as factual and plaster it over the Internet without doing adequate research. While people are entitled to their own opinions, there is a difference between known facts and an opinion. Lets not get confused.
For example, your comments about Ireland not actually being called Ireland is incorrect and also quite insulting, especially to a person from Ireland. You think that it’s actually called “Republic of Ireland”, however, this is the description of the actual state. The legal name is Ireland (or Eire in Irish) , and hence, the official name is Ireland, so I think a change to your blog is in order.
Hi Michael thanks for your comment. However, I am not spreading mis information! I studied Irish politics and grew up in Ireland, helping on election campaigns around the time of the Good Friday Disagreement. So I am totally aware of the situation in Ireland and aware of the names of the two countries on the island.
Ireland is the name of the island, so for someone to refer to Ireland, then to me they are including Rathlin Island, Belfast, Bangor and Newtownards. It’s been mis-interpreted – they don’t mean the island, they mean the country. And while the name of the country on my passport and yours is Eire (Ireland), the southern country will always be known as the Republic of Ireland. To myself, and to many many others. Of course the legal name of the 26 county state is Ireland, everybody knows that – but that doesn’t include the 6 counties of Northern Ireland (again I studied this sort of sh*t and used to live there so I know my stuff). In football terms there are two teams on the island – Northern Ireland (since 1880) and the Republic of Ireland (since 1921).
To call the country Ireland is the same to me as calling the combined countries of England Scotland and Wales as England. So what you are saying is that Belfast is in the country of Ireland and Glasgow is in the country of England. Neither are correct. Belfast is on the island of Ireland, but the country is not Ireland.
I won’t be changing the blog but I can certainly debate with you over this, but we may have to agree to disagree.
As per my other example, The United States, as far as I’m concerned refers to Mexico (oh and also the USA just to confuse things).
Safe travels. Jonny (from Ireland, the island)