My name is Mike Richards. I’m a human man, attempting to visit every country on the planet. I’ve visited 139 countries so far, and have 56 to go (see interactive map below). As an economic and political risk analyst, I would love to say my goal is solely driven by a desire to better understand the world. But the truth is that I’m also doing it so I can boast about it at cocktail parties.

In a simple sense, we are all the same. I, like you, am a bewildered, slowly decaying ape. We find ourselves marooned inexplicably on a small rock careering through the space. Our time is short. With this in mind, the decision to travel to the world’s 195 countries was an easy one. Made easier still by turning 30, and having a midi-life crisis.

Travelling seems a decent way to spend your life. The borders created in the minds of generations of inventive humans are arbitrary. You can’t see them from space. But without our diverse nations the world would perhaps be less rich. More importantly, I wouldn’t have any nations to scratch off a map, and would be less able to fend off existential distress with what is essentially an extremely long ‘to do’ list. I hope enjoy my musings about this strange little rock we all live on.