Fancy visiting each country in the world… Why not? The question is how many countries are there. Surprisingly, it is not an easy question. According to the UN there are 193 member countries. Wikipedia provides a number of 194. Setting the Guinness world records 196 countries are cognised. However, there are countries that are not partly or wholly recognised, there are incorporated territories, non-incorporated ones, peripheral regions, autonomous states or overseas administration.
How to deal with those inconsistencies?
Some help may be provided by the ISO 3166 standard that defines codes of 249 places in the world. This has inspired me to compile a list of countries I wish to visit to face my challenge!
Since some of the places in question are difficult to reach, I have decided to modify my list slightly. I have decided to skip some military bases that are not available to tourism. The have been replaced with other interesting destinations in order to keep the original value of 249.
Now you know what a mysterious number of 249 means. Now you will find out what the very project involves!
I believe running and travelling is not only leisure. They both mean some way of life. Together they have led to the idea of 249challenge – the challenge that may let help you release your internal energy and find your motivation.
This is an ambitious goal. I have decided to run a marathon in every country in the world. In places where that would not be possible I will take some other challenges. There are numerous poverty stricken nations and my journey would also involve some charity. I would like to offer my contribution and help local communities. There is much to do. You can always help locals built a school, dig wells or clear debris from the ocean floor.
This project involves many challenges. Its global character means that no rigid time framework can be set. It is impossible to draft any reliable itineraries. The project is flexible with no pre-defined sequence of visiting particular countries. I find travelling outside well-established routes the most important, which shall allow me for meeting people, listening to their stories and getting familiarised with their lives. My goal is to travel. I am not interested in racing against the time. I want to collect experience and inspiration that could later be used while organising trainings, lectures or seminars.
Although I have visited over 120 countries and despite my 20-year travel experience I am pretty sure I will have to face many surprises. However, I do believe that the future counts. I hope my project may inspire others. I might be joined by other runners, who knows…
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