As is often said, life is a journey rather than a destination and travel is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. In the early days, travel was as the opportunity arose, which was reasonably frequently with my job and allowed me to visit a number of countries as I worked with different customers. Over time though I became more interested for travel for interest and that lead to a number of subsequent quests (after 'Overseas') as descrobed below.
The very first travel quest was simply to go overseas and especially to London, a place my parents had always wanted to visit. Then in 1994 the opportunity arose for me to present a paper at a conference in Oulu, Finland. I spent ten weeks learning to speak Finnish for my five days there and nowadays the only Finnish I can remember is "You are a beautiful woman"; it came in handy on a beach in the French Riviera once. After presenting a conference paper, on Non-Binary Spread Spectrum Multiple Access - whatelse? I took a Contiki holiday around multiple countries. Starting in London the tour crossed the channel to Calais iin France, then through Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Italy, Monaco, France and then back to London before flying home.
Africa has always held a special place given its wildlife and the tales of early explorers. Taking a tour around South Africa, I was fortunate that the tour also included Swaziland and the opportunity arose to take a day trip to Lesotho via the Sani Pass. The think about the Sani Pass is that as you travel up the steep mountainside you see all the trucks ans busses that have fallen over the edge. Reaching the top the border guard stamped us into and out of the country at the same time, so he could go home early. At the top of the Pass is apparently the highest pub in the world. Lesotho is one of the poorest countries in the world and a visit to a local goat herder woman and hearing her story was quite interesting. .
While studying for a Masters degree my abiity to travel overseas was substantially limited and so the travel quest became one of visiting all of the (continental) Australian States and Territories; and this was to be my way of claiming Australia as a destination. More recently I have started working through other Australian Territories such as Norfolk Island but there are several others still to go such as Lord Howe Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos and Keeling Islands. Even better would be the remote sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island, which its spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife.
Shortly after returning from my first overseas trip I took a photography course and each person was asked to bring in six of their favourite photos. One woman brought in six photos from Antarctica. The photos were of the colours of the Antarctic ice and they had me hooked with a desire to visit. I had visited Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America before finally attaining the Seventh Continent. Travelling by ship from Ushuaia at the bottom of Antactica across the Drake Passage, the ship was surrounded by fog for two days, finally emerging from the fog to see the shores of Antartica. Landing in several places and even going swimming, I got to claim the Seventh Continent.
So what next after The Alphabet Quest™? Well, firstly this quest is hard, especially with the letter Y. So I doubt that quest will be completed quickly. But there is always reaching 100 countries - that should be possible; visiting all of the locations in James Bond movies (you'll have to read the blog to understand this) .... countries on the equator, ... regions of the world, ... all countries .... .