Counting Countries

With a membership of only around 100, it’s one of the most exclusive clubs on Earth. In fact, more people have been to outer space than have earned their way into this, the ultimate travel club. According to the United Nations there are 193 sovereign nations in the world. Welcome to the only podcast to bring you the stories from the dedicated few who’ve spent their lives on the singular quest of traveling to them all. Welcome, to Counting Countries. With your host, Ric Gazarian.


episode 85: Melissa Roy…Dreams From Her Father

Key Links

  • Untamed Borders
  • Group Trip To Madagascar 
  • Support Counting Countries, and check out these trips from G Adventures 
  • Support Counting Countries at Patreon
  • Counting Countries Apparel 


I reached out to Melissa shortly after she announced her accomplishment of traveling to every country in the world.  Social media and traditional media began reporting that she was the first woman of South Asian heritage to complete this quest.  On Counting Countries, I am always looking for diverse voices, whether it is nationality, ethnicity, religion, or any other differentiators.  It is great to get other perspectives.    

Lemurs, Baobab trees. Come join Counting Countries on its first group tour to Madagascar in August of 2020.  Please reach out to me with any questions on this trip

I am reminding you that Counting Countries is partnered with Patreon.  Patreon is a platform that allows patrons, that’s you, to support creators, and that is me creating Counting Countries.  And thanks to my other patrons, Steph Rowe, Ted Nims, Bisa Myles, Ryan Gazder, Stephen Rothwell, and Adam Hickman. They get to listen to extra content, like the extra interview I did with Melissa only for them.  

Untamed Borders, the sponsor of Counting Countries, focuses on challenging locations for those chasing 193.  I finally visited Afghanistan In November as an invited guest of Untamed Borders. Co-founder, James Wilcox, spends a couple of minutes asking me about my experiences of exploring this amazing country.      

Melissa continually resisted a life of conformity.  Her family, her culture insisted she chart a path of other people’s expectations.  But, the siren call of travel was overpowering. Her eyes were opened to travel with a semester abroad in Argentina when she was 18.  The fire had been lit with the journey ending in her father’s homeland with an emotional visit with her mother. Of course no episode of Counting Countries is without a bit of controversy.  Melissa touches on her visit to Syria, and you will be able to debate at home on the validity of her visit.       

I encourage you to subscribe wherever you listen, Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify and write a review, even better when it is 5 stars.    

Melissa was at her mother’s home in Michigan, while I was in the Counting Countries studio in Bangkok.  Please listen in and enjoy.   

Thank you to my Patrons …. Stephen Rothwell, Steph Rowe, Adam Hickman, Bisa Myles, Ted Nims & Ryan Gazder.

Be the first on your block to sport official Counting Countries apparel!  You can purchase some today on Amazon.


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Subscribe on Apple Podcasts today! And write a review!

Check out our friend: Large Minority.  They organize international rallies around the world including: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, the Philippines and the Amazon.  And watch my full-length documentary in Cambodia when I traveled with Large Minority.   


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About Counting Countries

Counting Countries is the only podcast to bring you the stories from the dedicated few who’ve spent their lives on the singular quest of traveling to every country in the world. Less people have traveled to every country in the world than have been to outer space.

Theme music for this podcast is Demeter’s Dance, written, performed, and provided by Mundi. 

About GlobalGaz

Ric Gazarian is the host of Counting Countries. He is the author of three books: Hit The Road: India, 7000 KM To Go, and Photos From Chernobyl.  He is the producer of two travel documentaries: Hit The Road: India and Hit The Road: Cambodia.  

Ric is also on his own quest to visit every country in the world. You can see where he has traveled so far and keep up with his journey at

More About Melissa:
  • Born in: USA
  • Passports: USA
  •  Instagram: Mapped By Melissa


How Many Countries Are There?

Well… that depends on who you ask! 

  • The United Nations states that there are 193 member states.
  • The British Foreign and Commonwealth office states that there are 226 countries and territories.
  • The Traveler’s Century Club states that there are 329 sovereign nations, territories, enclaves, and islands.
  • The Most Traveled Person states that there are 949 unique parts of the world.
  • The Nomad Mania divides the world into 1281 regions. 
  • SISO says there are 3,978 places in the world.  
  • Me? My goal is the 193 countries that are recognized by the UN, but I am sure I will visit some other places along the way.

An analysis of these lists and who is the best traveled by Kolja Spori.  

Disclaimer: I will earn a fee if you order from Amazon/Agoda. Or book a trip through G Adventures.  PS Thanks!   


Produced by Simpler Media


 2020-04-09  2h23m