The question of how many countries there are in the world and what constitutes a well travelled person are known issues without an answer. The existing lists are unsatisfactory...
a. The UN standard of 193 countries is not sufficient - not including places like Taiwan or Abkhazia, not to mention the 50-odd territories in the world. Can you be well travelled if all you have seen of the US is, say, Guam?
b. Counting the wikipedia list of UN countries plus territories and 10 de facto independent countries (leading to about 250 total) is still insufficient. If you go to Tijuana, you can count Mexico as done. The same with a visit to London, you have done the UK. Is this enough?
c. The TCC (Traveler Century Club) is on the right track, and has 320 pieces at the moment, But the problems listed in (b) above remain. A quick visit to Buenos Aires or a transit stopover in Cape Town and you have ticked off their respective countries.
d. MTP (Most Traveled People) currently has 872 pieces. It deals with some of the problems listed above, but some of its choices are very arbitrary. Large countries like Kazakhstan or DR Congo are just one point, while tiny Switzerkland is divided by cantons to make 26 points. Surely this is too enthnocentric and leads to an imbalance. Not to mention the inclusion of some uninhabited rocks (like Rockall) which seems pointless and leads to no cultural (or other type of) understanding.
e. The adapted SISO considers every administrative division and leads to more than 4000 pieces, although uninhabited rocks are not considered. In my opinion, this is just too broad. This again is random though, even if it seems fair. Tiny Slovenia has more than 200 pieces, while Serbia only 3. This doesn't make sense. I have also seen similar lists which use ISO or a variation therefore, all of which are just not fair to the countries involved.
And so, I present to you World1221, a Rationalised List of regions. which considers nearly all of TCC's divisions but divides countries by considering their population and size. So for someone to be really well travelled means they go to more places on a fair, equal basis per country. This fairness is reflected in World1221.. World1221 is the product of much negotiation and exchange of (very different) opinions with Artur Anuszewski of Poland. Neither of us got what we wanted exactly, putting a veto on some of the other's choices, but this is the best we could do in agreement!
There are 1221 pieces to the puzzle.. On the excel file below you will find them, . We hope to develop a list if travellers based on their World1221 scores, so please download the file and see how many of the pieces you have visited by filling in the year you first visited a region or, alternatively, with an x if you have visited it . The aim is to make this one of the authoritative lists around... Have fun and please send your feedback with suggestions for explansion...