I arrived in Serbia by train from Hungary, travelling from Szeged to Subotica. It occurred to me when my passport was getting stamped that I can never arrive in Serbia for the first time again.
Being new in a country can only happen about 200 times in your life, give or take the number over a lifetime as unions are formed and regions break away to become new countries.
Serbia is a prime example of one country becoming many, many times over. In 1991 Serbia was part of Yugoslavia. Since then Yugoslavia gradually split up to become Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia (which for a while was known as FYR Macedonia), leaving just Serbia and Montenegro in 2003.
In 2006 Montenegro voted to end its union with Serbia and become a separate country, thus adding another nation to the world tally.
In 2008 the region of Kosovo in Southern Serbia declared independence from Serbia, and they too proclaimed themselves a separate country. Here is where your country count gets tricky. Serbia has not recognized Kosovo as an independent country as it counts the region of Kosovo as a historical and integral part of Serbia. Half of the world has recognised Kosovo as an independent country and half of the world hasn’t.
If you are on a quest to visit every country in the world and you ticked off Yugoslavia before 1991, you now have to come back and visit 7 countries, or 8 if you count Kosovo. I will expand on the every country quest in another post. For now though I am savouring that fresh “new country day” feeling.