7 Wonders

When dad and I were daydreaming about our grand travel plans, one of the things we had a lot of fun with was seeing how many extra achievements we could throw into the mix – like my plan to have visited every continent.

One of the extra ideas we had was to see if we could visit each of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World:

  • The Pyramids of Giza
  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • The Colossus of Rhodes
  • The Lighthouse of Alexandria
  • The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

We’d already visited the Pyramids at this stage, and dad had been to the Temple of Artemis. After he died, mum and I went to Rhodes, and saw the site of the Colossus (sadly no longer there – it would have been incredible).

Well, I’ve just come back from a week in Zakynthos (that’s Z sorted now), and took a day trip to Olympia where I saw the Temple of Zeus, or at least the remains of it – it’s another one where the statue is long gone, but still.

So I’m on 3 of 7, and I’ve just realised that 2 of the others are in Turkey and I don’t yet have a T… Well, isn’t that interesting?!


Word Count Milestone

As I write this, I’ve just achieved 20,000 words completed!

It feels like a massive achievement, that’s a lot of words. I also have a long, long way to go yet. Research tells me that memoirs are usually in the region of 80-100,000 words long, so by that reckoning I’m either a quarter or a fifth of the way there. Which sounds a little less impressive to my ears.

But I still have plenty to write about – I’ve actually only finished the chapters for 5 or 6 countries (though I’ve started plenty of the others), so I don’t think I’ll be lacking content.

Of course this is only the first draft, and I know there will be a lot of work to do once I’ve finished it. And I still have at least 8 countries to visit before I can complete even this first draft. Did I mention that this is going to be a long-term project?!


Antarctica – Where it Began

Ok, so that title is a little disingenuous, as I’ve never been to Antarctica (well, not yet anyway). But it is, in its own way, the country that kicked all this off.

It started when I mentioned to dad that I’d love to visit Antarctica, because as soon as I do so, I will have been to all 7 continents. And that’s something I’d love to achieve. I mean, I know it might sound a little pretentious, but saying that I’ve been to every continent just seems like a fabulous achievement.

That conversation started this whole crazy quest, because it triggered a conversation about all the other travel goals we could have. Dad wanted to swim in every sea in the world, to match my desire to collect every continent, and somehow we settled on completing an alphabet of the globe.

Incidentally, my grandmother travelled to Antarctica in her 60s or 70s, which just goes to show that I’ve got plenty of time to get there! I have a feeling I won’t want to leave it that late, but it’s not a priority right now – getting the last 8 letters ticked off is my main goal, and I already have A covered.


The Rules

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.

The Rules

  • 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.

Introducing the A-Z

If you’ve looked at the page about my project, you’ll know that I’m on a mission to visit at least one country beginning with every letter of the alphabet (and if you haven’t read that yet, go read it now… I’ll wait…)

All caught up? Great.

As you can see, it’s a fairly involved project. I’ve still got a fair few countries to visit before I’ll be able to finish the book, and unless I win the lottery (or meet a fabulous benefactor – any interest?), it’ll be a while before I get there.

So, to keep me motivated and on track to write up the countries I have already visited, and get as much of the book done as possible in the downtime between my trips, I’m keeping this website up to date with my progress. I’ll be sharing updates, excerpts, pictures, and anything else that might be of interest.

I hope you’ll join me for the ride!