On October 23 2009, I arrived in Serbia for the first time via train from Hungary. It occurred to me when my passport was getting stamped that I can never arrive in Serbia for the first time again. I call this New Country Day.
Being in a country for the first time can only officially happen 195 times times in your life, or up to 250 times depending on how you define a country. Either way, New Country Day is an extra special travel day. Even though I travel a lot, it’s a different feeling when you arrive in a country for the first time.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Bangkok, and I’ve found myself halfway from the airport in the back of a taxi before thinking that I’m in another country. When you are in a new country though, all your senses are on full alert. I’m looking at everything around me completely aware of little details, such as the uniforms of the passport control officers, to seeing new country URL’s everywhere (yes of course I would notice that). The language (or accent) is different, and there’s a new currency to deal with (most of the time).
When I’m on the bus or taxi from the airport I put the phone away and pay full attention to my surroundings because this day will not happen again.
That feeling 😊 when you just arrived 🙏 in a new country riding in the backseat of a cab 🚕🎶 from the airport 🛬 to the city center 🌃👌
— Marc Köhlbrugge (@marckohlbrugge) March 3, 2018
I enjoy New Country Day so much that I am reluctant to burn through them too quickly. I think I realised this on a big European trip I did where I was knocking through new countries so quickly that it began to lose meaning. It also helps that I am not on a quest to visit every country in the world, so I am not urgently working my way through the list.
New Country Day List
So har I have been 72 countries (here is my list of countries). One day I will get round to working out the date of each new country.