Those that know me know that I really like counting things and checking things off of lists.  Probably the best known example of this is that in addition to wanting to visit all 50 states (I’m at 49 / 50 right now – missing only Hawaii), I am trying to visit all 3,143 COUNTIES

There’s just something about a “list” that really makes me want to complete it.

Study in Harvard Business School about “completing” things

The other day I read a study in the Harvard Business School titled – People Have an Irrational Need to Complete ‘Sets’ of Things

The entire article is quite interesting but the basic premise is that for whatever reason, people seem to have a “need” to complete sets of things.  One example that the study used was partnering with the Canadian Red Cross.  They set up 3 different donation pages

  1. One page emphasized cash donations
  2. The second page emphasized specific gifts instead of cash donations
  3. The third page instead had donors give one of each of six items in order to complete a “Global Survival Kit”

Potential donors were routed randomly to one of the 3 pages.  21% of people that went to the 3rd page (to complete the “set”) donated all 6 items, compared to 3% or 5% on the other 2 pages.  Pretty wild.

What does this mean for travel?

So bringing this back to travel.  It is TRAVELING DAD after all!  I don’t know if I’m the only one who seems to obsessively collect lists of different places to visit.  That’s why you always see those Buzzfeed style lists of “250 places to visit before you die”

For me, in addition to wanting to visit all 50 states and all 3,143 counties, I have been known to track

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites (so far, 9)
  • The number of Interstates I’ve visited (104 out of 345) as well as my progress on most other US and State highways.

  • Countries visited – 16 out of the 193 UN countries
  • I also track my travels on  They divide the world up into 875 different jurisdictions, dividing most larger countries into their states / provinces and separating places like French Guiana or French Polynesia from France.  I’m at 79, most of which are my 49 US States, so I’ve got a ways to go 🙂

Am I the only one?  What lists of things do you “collect”?