DV Follow-up story: “Katrin Sif reached her goal: visited 200 countries before 30”

Here’s an English summary of an article published yesterday on DV by Bjorn Thorfinnsson. See the online version in Icelandic here.

Katrin Sif reached her goal: visited 200 countries before 30; planned a week long birthday celebration in the last country, Mauritius.

page 12 of DV March 21, 2017

Three days before her birthday, Katrin landed on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. There she had reached her goal, to travel to two hundred countries before she turned thirty. After sharing her final list and recounting, it turned out Mauritius was country #201, but either way she had made it. Katrin, the adventure woman, was located in Lesotho when DV reached her, another new country, where she was about to go horse back riding.

It’s easy to say that Katrin Sif is one of the most traveled, living Icelanders today, and she had already been interviewed by DV at the end of 2016 where she shared a bit about her travel lifestyle. At that point, she had been to 197 countries and only had a couple of months to reach her goal. Her 30th birthday was fast approaching.

Katrin saves money from her summer job as a tour guide in Iceland, and then flies out every winter and travels around the world. She’s an active member of couchsurfing, where she gets free accommodation in each country. She believes its not just about the couch to sleep, but to be able to experience a country with the help and insider tips of a local. Katrin usually travels alone, so she can travel freely as she pleases.

The Goal was reached accidentally in the Seychelles

The last 3 countries Katrin had decided to visit would be in the Indian ocean: Reunion, which is a part of France, the Seychelles, and Mauritius. She flew from Paris to Reunion and stayed there a week, which happened to coincide with a new volcanic eruption at the Piton de Fournaise. From there she went to Madagascar, and finally to the Seychelles where she explored paradise for a week, unknowing she had already reached her 200th country. She stayed the first few days couchsurfing, but also allowed herself to enjoy some luxury at the Hilton hotel for her last nights.

Katrin then went on to Mauritius, what she thought to be country #200, and held a week long birthday celebration with 9 friends from across Europe and North America to celebrate with her. Included in that group was a Lebanese entertainer from Paris, a German horseman, a Belarussian pair, her college roomate from Washington, and the Icelandic Culinary team’s chef Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson.

“Not even close to stopping”

“The week was amazing, and I couldnt have imagined better people to spend it with. We were happily traveling around the island and were especially pleased with the beautiful beaches, and never ran out of local rum” says Katrin. On her blog, Nomadic Cosmopolitan, Katrin speaks about the fun they go up to. After a week in Mauritius, she went to South Africa and planned to visit Lesotho and Swaziland, both new countries for her list. After that, she’s headed to Mozambique for the first time. “I’m nowhere near close to stopping” says Katrin.

Country Count disclaimer

Its difficult to say how many countires there are in the world. According to the UN, there are 193 recognized country states, plus the Vatican and Palestine. Katrin also counts a few others. For example, Greenland and the Faroe islands, despite being under Denmark, are considered separate states. She also counts separately England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, though they are all considered the same country by the UN. With these exceptions and others like it, Katrin has the possibility to visit more than 230 countries. Thus, there’s plenty left for this traveling Icelander to keep exploring.

The List of Countries Katrin has traveled to:

Afghanistan, Albania, American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Federated States of, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niue, North Korea, Northern Ireland, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Réunion, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (French part), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sint Maarten (Dutch part), Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City State, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Virgin Islands, British, Virgin Islands, U.S., Wales, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe

Riding in Lesotho

Lesotho is a tiny, land-locked kingdom, surrounded by South Africa on all sides. There aren’t many road borders in or out, but you could easily walk into the country by accident. There are some beautiful mountains and National parks on the north side where South Africans can see Lesotho just across the valley, including the Drakensberg and Golden Gate National park, places I visited to flirt with the idea of Lesotho before arriving.

on the road in Lesotho

I found couchsurfers to stay with, a household of Filipino sisters and brothers and cousins. They’re all working in various businesses, from textiles to furniture and a car garage. We ate breakfast and dinner together every day, with a few other guests, and at one point I was in Lesotho singing Karaoke with 9 Filipinos drinking South African wine and couldn’t imagine expecting a more random experience to write home about.

bumpy road ahead

I borrowed a friend’s car from Johannesburg and drove to Lesotho. The roads on the South African side were excellent – and also filled with tolls and speed cameras. Once entering Lesotho, I didn’t see a single traffic police officer or camera, and only one traffic light, and the roads were full of potholes, where they were paved, and one big pot hole where they weren’t. I was driving a Ford Fiesta, not the greatest off-road car, and it took hours just to drive 80km, but I managed to get deep into the countryside and find some horses to ride.

riding off into the Lesotho countryside

Lesotho has an alive and kicking horse culture – people still travel by horse, shepherd on horse back, and use horses to work their fields and transport goods. I found a camp called Malealea where tourists can go on multi-day treks, up to 28 days, and basically see the whole of Lesotho from the back of a horse. I rode for only one day, barefoot because I didnt have proper shoes and it was too hot, and left my guide in the dust everytime I asked him if we could go for a gallop. We visited a waterfall, a cave, and some ancient rock art paintings, and by the end of the day I realized I should have stayed a week for this. But oh well, there’s always a next time. And next time I’ll bring riding shoes.

Mauritius, country #200

I came up with the goal to try and visit 200 countries before I turned 30. I arrived in Mauritius, country #200, 3 days before my birthday, and 9 other friends from around the world. Without sharing too much incriminating evidence, here are a few pictures and stories from the best birthday week I’ve ever had.

one of those lazy beach days

Most of my friends are from Europe or North America, so I had originally chosen Laos as a more ‘central’ meeting point. But my best friend Ursula from Washington D.C. said there had to be a beach, and booked her flight to Mauritius even before I did. She knew it was a new country for me, and thought it would increase the number of people coming, despite it being much further away in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

La Cambuse beach

There were supposed to be twelve of us, but one friend from Australia who is a pilot for Qantas couldn’t use his standby tickets because of some schedule changes. My best friend from Canada, who recently married an American, got scheduled an immigration interview for a date exactly in the middle of her already booked vacation, so since Green cards don’t last forever and Donald Trump exists, she had to cancel.

But, there was the Lebanese entertainer from Paris, the German horse-back rider from Munich, the Belarussian couple from Minsk, my study abroad roommate from Washington DC, a couchsurfer I met in Italy from Pennsylvania, an emergency doctor from New York, a professional dancer from LA, and Iceland’s best chef. We were 4 girls, 6 guys, half of us couchsurfers, and nearly no one had met eachother before.

the 4 ladies of the group

The week went flawlessly. I could never imagine putting a group of 10 strangers together, traveling and staying together in a foreign country without any hiccups, but it was perfect. Everyone got along, the rum was never-ending, and the beaches and sunsets stayed beautiful no matter where we were on the island.

sunset at Flic en Flac

We spent our first 4 days in Blue Bay, 3 days in Flic en Flac, and 2 days in Trou aux Biches, near Grande Baie. Our only errands every day were to refill the ice bags and fill them with wine, then walk to the beach and work on our tans, or burns, in some cases. In Le Morne we swam with wild dolphins in the open sea, and our personal taxi-van carried us from A to B and showed us some of the touristic sites on the island. We passed towns with the names of Suriname and Yemen, and saw endless fields of sugar cane backdropped by Jurrasic park-like mountains.

Tea party at the Bois Cherie tea plantation

We visited a rum distillery, a tea plantation, a Hindu temple, and some waterfalls and park areas, but the beaches were by far the most memorable. The water was always warm, and even under dark and stormy skies stayed bright and crystal blue. We had a few rain showers, but went to the beach anyway, and missed the cyclone that hit after we left. We danced at some live music bars, drank with some locals who were friends of friends of friends, ate brunches with bottomless mamosas and cooked dinners together at the various airbnb’s we stayed at. It’s a miracle no one got hurt or lost or left out or too claustrophobic, but this group of people made my 30th birthday a most unforgettable party. I’ve also never traveled in such a big group, but after visiting 200 countries and experiencing Mauritius the way I did, I kind of wish some of those people would carry on traveling with me.

The Seychelles

The Maldives and the Seychelles are two destinations I always thought were reserved for couples, and not just any couples, but rich, getting-married or honeymooning couples. But, fun fact, there is a lot more to do than just sit at a Hilton bungalow resort for an all inclusive week of seeing nothing else.

the Hilton’s infinity pool

The culture of the Seychelles is a crazy mix of imports and exports. All the tourism and associated industry caters to English, French and Russian speaking white people, but the local people and Seychellois food was mostly Indian and Indian influenced. There were hindu temples, christian churches and muslim mosques, but total peace seems to reign between all the islanders. People smiled and greeted strangers wherever and whenever, and I had the impression people were happy. Even when the tropical rain storms hit and the hillside streets flash-flooded, it was normal to go out and play in the puddles in your bathing suit, and this made people smile at us, the crazy white people doing it too.

one tune and one dorado!

I didn’t totally do things wrong, since I had some handsome male company too and we actually stayed a few nights at the Hilton, but I also couchsurfed with some not-so-local locals and partied with all of their friends. My couchsurf host was an off-shore banking something something kind of guy, and his friends were the managers and HR heads of local hotel resorts.

the top of Morne Blanc

We hiked up to the top of Morne Blanc and looked down at Mahe island as if we were flying above it. We had fresh fish and local rum and even celebrated someone else’s birthday, and caught or own fresh fish off a deep sea fishing boat. I met more Mauritians and Russians than Seychellois, except for the fishing boat captain and the first person I met on m way over to the Seychelles.

this tortoise was trying to escape the male mounting her but didnt fit thru the fence

I flew Air Seychelles from Madagascar to Mahe, and got upgraded to first class after being the last one to check in on the overbooked flight. An engineer from the airline sat beside me and he was the only local friend I made all week. He took us hiking to some secret spots on the very far south of the island, including a bottomless rock pool carved into the cliffs beside the ocean. Nearby at the beach resort, we saw some giant tortoises, and even some tortoise mating! I guess humans arent the only ones having sex at the honeymoon spots.

The Cheltenham Festival in the UK

If you are visiting the United Kingdom next March we recommend that you enjoy some British heritage by going to the Cheltenham Festival. The Festival is not a music festival but rather the second biggest horse racing event in the UK. The event takes place over four days and is a great way to experience an important part of rural British culture.

cheltenham-day-1According to the Cheltenham Festival website, racing at Cheltenham dates back over 200 years. Very quickly the race became one of the most popular sporting events in Victorian Britain. The races at Cheltenham have survived many events including two world wars and is now considered the biggest racing meet in the country after the Grand National. Crowds of over 200,000 will descend on the racecourse during the course of the four days. The best way to understand why this event holds such as special place in the UK sporting world is to visit the festival.

treadmill-1201014_960_720The Cheltenham Festival is a great chance to experience British culture and even see the Royal Family who come to the races with their own horses every year. If you feel like dressing up for the races then Ladies Day on the second day of festival is when people come in their best. Women will wear elaborate hats with elegant dresses while the men will wear their finest suits. If you need some inspiration for what to expect then The Guardian did a photo article on last year’s event.

Tickets range greatly in price depending on where you want to watch the races. They will cost between £25-£200 for the big days but no matter where you decide to view the race you won’t be able to help but get wrapped up in the excitement. Be sure to place some bets down to get the full experience.

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The town of Cheltenham turns racing mad for four days and the city will be alive with race related events. It is impossible not to get swept up in the atmosphere. The town of Cheltenham is famous for its quintessential Britishness and is one of the UK’s most famous examples of Regency architecture. Surrounding the town is also the beautiful British countryside that is perfect for walking in if you need a breather from all the excitement. Cheltenham is easy to get to as there is a direct train line from London, which takes less than 3 hours making it the perfect day excursion.

So if you are in the UK in March and want to experience some British heritage be sure to come down to the races. UK horse racing specialists Betfair who cover the event call it the “the greatest four days in jumps racing”. There is certainly no event like it and you will get to encounter a side of the British population that can’t be found in the city.

Madagascar

I’ve literally procrastinated one month to write a blog on Madagascar, because I feel it’s impossible to put into words. Malagasy words are also impossible to remember – lots of letters and syllables. But now I’ll attempt to rant in some coherence about all the crazy, indescribable, and magical things that happened (not all good), and what a wonderful surprise it was to enjoy traveling there as a solo-female.

Tritriva Lake with my biking guide

My first moments in Antananarivo (aka Tana) were a bit stressful. Everyone I had left behind in Reunion told me to be careful, and that it would be dangerous. I landed just after sunset, which is always a bit discombobulating, and the airport didn’t seem like a very big or important international airport, or at least not an airport serving the capital city. I walked out to the small arrivals hall, filled with only taxi drivers, exchanged some money, bought a sim card, and took a taxi 45 mins to town for a little more than 10 euros.

The road was also dark, no kind of major highway, but we hit one traffic jam. There were hordes of people rushing from the dark to the road, and someone exclaimed ‘2 dead!’ It was a car accident, where a truck had rear ended a scooter. Its two passengers were scattered, meters apart and yards ahead of the shredded scooter, and only one helmet lay a few inches from the drivers head. My taxi driver simply drove on the curb to get around it, and didn’t seem at all bothered by the sight. It took me a few days to shake the image, though I can still recall it, slightly more blurry, but it still makes me gasp.

Another day I was on a bus that got stopped by an entire school of children. Everyone stood roadside in their uniform while a teacher held a life-less girl in his hands. She was board-stiff, so still alive enough to have all her muscles clenched. I guess she must have had some kind of seizure, but they couldnt fit her into our full bus, and the next car that passed took her to the hospital. I wonder what happened to her.

My first couchsurf hosts were actually some Turkish guys that had just moved there, and had seen almost as much as I had of Madagascar. I reached out to a couple other locals – one gave me a walking tour of the lower, middle, and upper cities of Tana, and another took me fishing. We didnt catch anything, but it was still fun, and he taught me the basic Malagsy words I’d need to know to greet people well enough to think, just for a moment, I spoke Malagsy.

a zebu cart taking me out to my boat to Anakao

I have 1 friend that lives on and off in Madagascar, and 3 friends who had recently backpacked Madagascar, so I asked them for some tips. Strangely enough, they came back with very similar ideas and itineraries, so I ended up traveling the N7 from Tana south to Toliara and surrounds. I spent a night in Anakao where I was the only tourist on the beach. I had the only bungalow rented out, I ate dinner alone, and I shared the beach with a plethora of children. There were always a lot of children in public areas, and never any parents. There were kids driving zebu-carts (zebu are the cattle in Madagascar), and kids alone in the middle of the open sea in dug-out canoes (some to paddle, others to sail with sails made out of old clothes) fishing with nets. Its strange how that makes you feel safer, but it definitely does.

my bungalow at Anakao

Then I went to Ifaty, or Mangily, I never figured out the difference, and visited a forest of baobabs and cactus-like trees. I saw some strange bugs and birds and then got escorted by my hotel security for a late-night walk, just before he proposed sleeping in my bed. I said no, quite politely, and he said ‘okay thank you, just had to ask. Good night!’

one fat baobab and a cactus tree fence

People had warned me that buses break down a lot in Madagascar, and it never happened, except for the two ways to Ifaty and back. Both ways, only 20 km, took hours to complete. One bus went up in smoke and we waited on the side of the road at high noon until they figured out someway to stop it. Another had the gas peddle stuck and the car stayed revving up its engine for a good 20 minutes, black exhaust smoke spitting out behind it until they also finalyl figured out what was wrong. They always did.

a ring tailed lemur at Anja Reserve

People also warned me about broken bridges. Luckily none broke when we were driving over them, but we passed 3 that I could clearly see had collapsed unexpectedly. One was on the way to Ranomofana National Park, a place where I stayed 3 days, also the only tourist at the auberge. I took a 8 hour hike through the park, a lush valley of greenery, rivers, waterfalls and of course, lemurs. Noone warned me about the leeches though, and those suckers were thirsty for blood. I actually had to pick them out from between my toes, where they had slithered to through my shoes and socks! some even crawled up my leg and I had to pinch one off my calf the size of my thumb. Ew. My guide kept reminding me it wasn’t life-threatening, which I knew, but its still gross.

Not much was gross in Madagascar. For an African country, it wasn’t even that polluted or smelly. All of the accomodation I stayed at were clean enough, just the occasional cockroach and a few mosquitos, except for one night. In that same bus stop I got stuck at with the slaughtered chicken. There I ended up spending a few hours at a guesthouse the size of a prison cell where you werent sure if the floor or walls were dirtier. There were smears of brown, maroon and yellow, all fluids I couldn’t recognize, and opening the mosquito net revealed more blood spots and dead mosquitos than were already in the room. I couldnt decide if it was better to sleep under it or not, and eventually just covered myself in bug spray and lay on the bed under my silk-liner.

I usually went to bed shortly after sunset, maybe around 8 pm, and I always  rose before sunrise, maybe 5 am. The streets were bustling by 5:30, and all the buses departed for their destinations by 6am. Traveling a mere 150km could take 4 hours, and I took one 20 hour trip with only 4 hours of stops. One bus station I got stuck at unexpectedly, in a small bus-change city, was a small parking lot with a few buses and passengers waiting around, and not much else. As I stood there thinking about how hungry I was. a man walked infront of me with a chicken in his hand, a knife in the other, and stood on its wings while it slit its throat, right there in the parking lot. It bled out in a minute and stopped twitching after another, and he casually returned with the chicken to a food stall to prepare dinner. Needless to say, I lost my appetite.

rainy season makes everything green, especially the rice fiels

It was the tail-end of rainy season, but I managed to almost always miss the rain. I could see the dark clouds in the distance, and often heard lightning, but I never saw the thunder and the sun still shone overhead. During my long bus rides, we’d sometimes drive through a rainshower, or pass one by just to the side of the road. I was unlucky enough to once get stuck in the window seat where a window was stuck open, and got drenched to everyone’s entertainment. I thought I had figured out the best seat in the bus – the one beside the driver in the front – until I got into a stick shift van and the driver had to maneuver the gear stick between my legs for 6 hours.

I saw a guy working on paving the road in flip-flops, and the soles of his shoes had melted onto a layer of tar that must have made it really hard (and hot) for him to walk. There was a guy who threw a butterfly at me from out his passenger window when we passed, and I wondered if it was a nice gesture or not. I guess its better than getting hit by someone spitting out the window, which also happened to a few people.

Isalo national park

There were the most beautiful big blue butterflies floating around, and these little robin birds with bright red and orange stomachs. There was a boy who passed my in the street and sniffed me as he walked by. I never really understood if that was a good or bad gesture either. The kids I saw on the beach also had strange reactions; one splashed me, which may have been playful, but another threw a handful of wet sand at me from behind, which was a little mean. Others tried to

Both men and women like to wear hats, all kinds of hats. Straw hats, baseball caps, bucket hats, and their Sunday’s best hats. The local hat fashion was usually a multi-coloured woven straw hat, which sometimes just fit like bowls on the tops of people’s shaven heads. It was beautiful to see how people had shiny, new hats, or at least very well taken care of hats, but their clothes were in rags and their shoes were either filthy or non-existent.

Madagascar was a pleasant surprise. In general, I never felt danger, I never felt lost, I never felt abused or taken advantage of, and I even think I barely got ripped off. And if I did, it was only for half a dollar at most. I thought Madagascar would be a bit weirder, more other-worldly, exotic to the point of unrecognition – but, it was very familiar. I’ve never been to Mozambique, but I imagine it was very similar to Mozambique.

 

Ile de la Reunion, a colourful French island in the middle of the Indian Ocean

Its weird to fly 12 hours south from Paris, over half of Africa, into a hot and humid island  in the middle of the Indian ocean and still be in France. Ile de la Reunion is a department of France, full of way too many Renault and Peugot cars, where Metropoles shop at supermarkets, stocked with foie gras and champagne, and pay in euros. But it felt somehow familiar – Reunion is to France what Hawaii is for the USA, a slice of home out in the tropics.

one of the many natural fresh water pools you can hike to thru tropical forests

one of the many natural fresh water pools you can hike to thru tropical forests

Like Hawaii, its also a lush, green island, stretching from coasts of crystal blue waters up to black volcanic peaks. The middle of Reunion is split into 3 large craters or ‘cirques’, all inhabited somewhere remotely. Mafate is a car-less village, only visitable by hiking in and out from the top of the crater. Another cirque is still a very active volcano. The Piton de Fournaise started erupting the day after I arrived, so I didn’t miss the opportunity for a midnight hike up to see the red-hot, glowing, spewing lava eruption. I was surprised how many other people were walking the 3-4 hour return hike in the middle of the night, dressed like we were back in France, because at 2200m above sea-level, even this tropical island was freezing cold.

the road to Cilaos

the road to Cilaos

There were other natural forces in Reunion that made the island seem wild and dangerous. A recent rise in shark attacks has made half the coast unswimmable. The road to Cilaos, at the bottom of the third cirque, is a narrow, windy, cliff-hanging road full of blind turns and two tunnels only wide enough to fit a bus – there were literally only centimeters between the side mirrors and the walls. When the road turns into single-lane width, just before another u-turn bend, cars simply lay on their horns to warn any oncoming traffic of a potential head-on crash. The day I left Reunion, a cyclone warning had been announced, and I’m not sure when or how hard Cyclone Carlos was, but people had already started locking down their homes.

colonial architecture left an interesting mark in Reunion

colonial architecture left an interesting mark in Reunion

The people of Reunion are a mix of metropoles and creoles, with very friendly, civilized demeanors. People I passed in the street said Bonjour just to say hello, and after the first few hellos, I started greeting everyone that made eye contact with me with a smiley Bonjour, and didn’t feel weird about it. I traveled mostly by public bus, which is superbly organized, and the regional bus drivers were even greeted with handshakes and cheek kisses by the passengers. I didn’t try that, since I assume the probably knew eachother.

beaches of paradise, without sharks, are on the west and south coast

beaches of paradise, without sharks, are on the west and south coast

I always say Iceland would be the best country in the world if we had better weather, but maybe we just need to colonize a tropical island and export our people and culture out there. I guess I’ll have to keep my eye open for an eligible island for the rest of my Indian Ocean trip.