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.
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