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!