There are rules in my family for counting the number of states and countries you have been to. For example, you have to leave the airport. I have spent the night, twice, in Texas yet I have never been to Texas. (Four states to go, Texas being one of them.)
Tomorrow I will get to add country 55 to my list.
There are rules for countries as well. For example, I have been to both Hong Kong and China. If you were to visit both places now, for the first time, they could only count as one country. Confused? The first time I was in Hong Kong it was still independent, therefore I get to count it as a separate country. Another example is that my grandparents list would have been much longer if the U.S.S.R. had been disbanded when they took one of their trips.
Even living in Saudi has played into this count/competition. Since you can't just hop on a plane with KSA as your destination my mom and my aunt have been keeping an eye on one another. I really think if one were to come (though we do not know if we could get my aunt a visa, but I would be willing to try) then the other would be spurred on a bit.
This is the atmosphere I grew up in. I am very fortunate to have traveled as much as I have. And it is not as if my parents took us on backpacking trips through Europe. I did not travel out of the U.S. or Canada with my parents until I was an adult.
Why am I telling you all of this? This opportunity for a PD conference came up (Google Apps For Educators Summit). There were two 'near' me; one in Mumbai, India and one in Dubai, UAE. My husband and I talked it over and decided I would plan on the one in Dubai. After I was registered and the plane tickets were booked he came to the realization that I would be going to Dubai. In the United Arab Emirates.
So what? Well, his countries visited list tops out at 27 currently. The UAE is the only country he has been to and I haven't. Come tomorrow that won't be true anymore.