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2612, 2021

Chad – 143rd Country

By |December 26th, 2021|Categories: Counting Countries 193 Countdown|0 Comments

Chad – 143rd Country.  To see where I have been so far, check out my map as I count down the final 93 countries on the road to all 193 UN countries.  Chad is my 143rd country. Check out the best 193 travel books to read! Chad is a landlocked country, located at the crossroads of north-central Africa.  Sixteen million people make their home there with 10% found in the capital, N’Djamena.  Chad is a smorgasbord of over 200 ethnic and linguistic groups with almost an even split between Christianity and Islam.  Chad is also a mix of desert, savannah, fertile grounds, as well as wetlands.  Chad was once a colony of France and gained its independence in 1960.  Idriss Deby ruled the country from 1990 to 2021, when he was killed on the frontlines fighting an anti-Chadian internal faction. I touched down in N’Djamena, the capital on October 2, 2021.  It was my first new country since March of 2020.  I arrived to witness the amazing Gerewol Festival which did not disappoint.  After one night in [...]

1812, 2021

It’s A Small World

By |December 18th, 2021|Categories: Unique Experiences|1 Comment

It's a small world.  If you know me, you know I love small world stories.  As we know, it’s a small world, after all. It's a small world after all It's a small world after all It's a small world after all It's a small, small world There is just one moon and one golden sun And a smile means friendship to everyone Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide It's a small world after all As an avid traveler, these lyrics are a fair reflection of my experiences.  No matter where I am, there really is only one sun and moon.  And I think it is also fair to say, when you see someone smiling, they are happy.  These are known knowns.  So despite the annoying music, I’m a proponent of the song’s message. The small world concept can also nicely be summarized with the Six Degrees of Separation.  Wikipedia sums it up as following: “Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. [...]

1612, 2021

Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen … Four Generations Of Female Travelers

By |December 16th, 2021|Categories: Podcast|0 Comments

Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen Counting Countries has traveled to 172 countries Mette and I had been connected on Facebook via Every Passport Stamp, but we recently crossed paths in Jeddah for an evening of dinner and shisha with a group of extreme travelers.    We were connected by former guest Henrik Jeppesen who was aware that both of us were traveling in KSA.  While I was aware that Mette was a seasoned traveler, over dinner I heard more of her stories and thought she would be a great fit for Counting Countries.   After my conversation with Mette, I will be checking in with Thor Pedersen again, of Once Upon A Saga.  I have been documenting Thor’s journey to every country in the world and all of the challenges he has been facing with this pandemic.  You will hear a snippet of this conversation, but my patrons will hear the entire conversation.   The next episode will be the 100th episode.  Our first episode was in 2016.  I would like to thank everyone for their support of Counting Countries, especially [...]

2311, 2021

Faces Of Iraq

By |November 23rd, 2021|Categories: Asia, Photos, Unique Experiences|5 Comments

Faces Of Iraq, Breaking Stereotypes.  Iraq has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons for as long as I can remember.  There was the brutal war between Iran and Iraq which took the lives of over 1,000,000 souls.  Iraq invaded and occupied its diminutive neighbor, Kuwait.  Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein, were brushed back by US and allied forces; embarrassed and punished by crippling sanctions.  This was followed by another invasion of Iraq with disastrous consequences.  Civil war followed for years, ISIS terrorized many in the region, and ordinary people suffered greatly.  Add in the persecution and killings of the Kurds, the genocide of the Yazidis, beheadings and car bombings, and it can all be overwhelming. With all of this in mind, it would not be surprising if someone had a negative opinion of this Middle Eastern country.  But it is unfair to label Iraq by simply judging the last two generations of history.  Iraq is known as the “cradle of civilization” as it hosted the earliest known civilization dating back 7,500 years.  [...]

1811, 2021

Unique Faces Of Gerewol Festival

By |November 18th, 2021|Categories: Africa, Photos|4 Comments

Unique Faces Of Gerewol Festival. The Wodaabe are a subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group.  The Fulani which goes by a number of names is one of the largest ethnic groups found in West Africa and the Sahel.  The Fulani number approximately 60 million.  The Wodaabe on the other hand only number 100,000 across Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, CAR, and DRC.  The Wodaabe are historically nomadic cattle-herders and traders Woda can be translated as “those who respect taboos” referring to the Wodaabe’s isolation from the broader Fulani group and the Wodaabe’s commitment to tradition.  The Wodaabe herd long-horned Zebu cattle and follow the rain from south to north from June through September.  A group is comprised of several dozen relatives.  The Wodaabe follow the Islamic faith and began to convert in the 17th century. I stayed five days with some Wodaabe in southern Chad at the end of the rainy season in early October.  I attended the Gerewol Festival.  You can read about my experience of Visiting Gerewol Festival.  The Gerewol Festival is a matchmaking opportunity for [...]

1811, 2021

Visiting Gerewol Festival

By |November 18th, 2021|Categories: Africa, Unique Experiences|6 Comments

Visiting Gerewol Festival.  The debate can become a bit heated when a group of traveler’s endeavors to define “off the beaten path”.  The definition is somewhere between subjective and slippery.  It is moving target based upon where you are from and where you live.  Something exotic to you, is pedestrian to the person that lives there.  From the western perspective, I will posit that Chad fits the definition of off the beaten path location. Let’s start with visitors.  Chad ranks 189th in tourist arrivals on the most recent year of data I could find in 2017.  That’s not good.  The best-known gateways to fly in from are Casablanca, Istanbul, Cairo, Addis Ababa, and Paris.  Paris is the only European gateway and has only two flights a week. For those Chasing 193, when you visit Chad a land-locked country, in north-central Africa, you might want to check the box and spend the night in the capital, N’Djamena, have dinner and head out.  This city of one million, is not recognized as a world class city.  Its dusty, hot, [...]

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