Blog WH Travellers

The Quest for 1,100 visited WHS - Year 2

2023 was my second year of full-time travel (read here about Day 0 and Year 1). It felt like a routine already, as I found the right balance between being home and away and I can now budget (travel) expenses like no other!

There were memorable trips to Madagascar, Pakistan and Zimbabwe (photo 3 shows a "bender" at Mana Pools NP), and I finally got to see what New York is in reality. You can find my updated Trip Planner here, including the actual ‘results’ of 2023. With an added total of 63 (44 new + 19 from the WHC), I am still right on track to reach 1,100 visited WHS before 2028.

Things I learned about WH Travel this year:

The best ones for the quest are the “free” ones

The ones that help the most to stay on track are the ones gained from a WHC session. In 2023 we had a double session with a lot of new inscriptions, of which I already visited 19. These made my total go up significantly without additional cost and compensated for the more expensive trips I did this year.

Going the extra mile

Some of my best memories this year resulted from paying extra or allocating more time than strictly necessary to get a ‘good’ visit to a WHS. I am thinking of the 6 days in Mana Pools NP, or the forest walk in Ambohimanga, or spending a full day in Huai Kha Khaeng (photo 2).

I am missing Europe

One of the best things about the WH journey overall is covering all WHS in Europe. I now hardly have any left in Europe (6 to be precise, not counting those in Russia, Turkey and Israel), and I really miss going out for a couple of days to some provincial town in Italy or Spain for a worthy and well-managed WHS, accompanied by a stay in an atmospheric town with simple but great food.

Starting to see the End

Somewhere during this year, for the first time in my travel life, I could see the contours of the to-do list to finish it all. 

Regarding visiting different countries (I am now at 129 UN), there is only a handful left that I have not been to that really interest me. Among those are Yemen (waiting for it to fully reopen) and Papua New Guinea (needs a costly non-WHS trip). On the other hand, I have written off 19 countries that I have no interest in visiting at all:  Antigua and Barbuda, Togo, Guinea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Bahamas, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Liberia, Maldives, Moldova, Nauru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, South Sudan, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu.

Do I really need to go to Sarazm?

I am starting to see the end of the WH List as well. I have mapped out how to reach 1,000 visited WHS, with a splurge at the end. But after that? Will I push on to 1,100? Or will I put the required time and money towards revisiting sites like the Pantanal? Many of the remaining ones hold little interest to me – I considered Tajikistan for a trip in 2024 for example, but only 1 of its 3 WHS appeals to me (Tajik NP).

Also, after reaching 1,000 it will be harder to remain at the speed of about 50 new ones each year. It requires a few clusters of 10+ new WHS in one trip, and that's hard to achieve when countries like Israel/Palestine, Lebanon/Syria, Iran and Russia are more or less off the table for now.

Also have a look at Zoë's updated profile, which deals with "Seeing the End" as well. What have you learned from your travels in 2023?

Els - 7 January 2024

Leave a comment


Priyaranjan Mohapatra 9 January 2024

Amazing score Els :) Keep inspiring and guiding us.
I really admire the helpful, detailed reviews and experiences the travelers share.
Thanks All.

Jay T 7 January 2024

Glad you had such a memorable year of travel in 2023, and I hope you find some amazing adventures in 2024 as you continue your quest!

Nan 7 January 2024

I think Sarazm isn't quite as bad as you make it out to be. Landscape is nice and loads of WHS are in the area; Samarkand always worth a revisit.