If there’s one thing any quest needs, it’s rules. When dad and I first came up with the idea for our A-Z of the world, we also planned out how to decide whether or not a visit would qualify.
Our rules may be spurious (certainly a family friend disagreed with a couple of them, and has her own version of the rules), but they’re what we agreed and therefore they’re the rules I will be sticking to as I complete this journey for the both of us.
- In order for a country to count as having been visited you had to be there long enough for a toilet stop. You must set foot in the country itself – airports and other transport hubs don’t count.
- A country can only count for one letter, but you can choose which letter if there are multiple options (you can see that I’ve used H for Holland, rather than N for Netherlands, as I have another N country covered).
- The countries of the United Kingdom absolutely count, apart from E for England.
- Countries we had already visited counted, and formed the start of our lists – we weren’t trying to make it completely impossible!
- Countries only, no provinces. Visiting an embassy didn’t count – foreign soil only qualified if you stood on it in the actual foreign land
- Bonus points would be awarded for swimming in a new sea or seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world
- Historic names wouldn’t count – so there was no way to visit a country that was previously part of Yugoslavia to claim the challenging Y
- X would involve some level of compromise.
So, there you go, the rules of engagement.