What does “50 and 50 by 50” mean?

Now that I’ve launched this blog, I thought I should explain the title. I want to visit all 50 states, and 50 countries, by age 50. So it’s 50 and 50 by 50, hence the name of my travel blog, Visit50.com*.

For those of you keeping score at home, I was at 25 states and 20 countries to start the trip (I’m 32). So I have 17.5 years to visit 30 countries, which seems daunting considering I might not travel on big trips as much once I’m settled with a family, but this trip will help bring me much closer.
Considering only 4 of my countries were in Europe, and that’s where countries are most clustered together, I’m in decent shape to get there.

I’ll update my tally of where I’ve been at this link, and link countries I’ve written about from that list as well.

What constitutes a visit?  You can play by any rules you’d like, but mine are that I need to leave the airport or the highway and actually do something in that state or country for it to count. Have a meal, take a picture of an attraction, etc.

The surprisingly more difficult question is…What constitutes a country?  I don’t have a universal guideline for this just yet. It’s more challenging of a question than I thought.  If you visit Britain, Ireland, and the Cayman Islands, how many countries have you visited?  You can’t just go by UN’s list of countries, because Taiwan’s not listed. Is Palestine a country?  If you visit mainland China, Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong, how many countries have you visited?  [that last one’s a real example, as I’ll have visited 3 of the 4 by the end of 2011]

I generally count places I visit as distinct countries if they have at least 3 of the following:
– If they’re on the US State department’s list of countries.
– If they have their own Olympic team.
– If they consider themselves to be their own country.
– If they’re recognized on the list of countries by the UN.

– If they have their own immigration/visa policies.

Full explanation of what counts as a visit, and how I count if a place I visited counts as a country is here.
Do you have a suggestion here?  I’m open to feedback here.

How many have you visited?

*the site is Visit50.com, but was originally called 50and50by50.com. By popular demand I’ve updated it.

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