300 countries and counting

David Horne has  few new travel choices. Photo: Peter McIntosh
David Horne has few new travel choices. Photo: Peter McIntosh
A St Kilda man has few worlds left to conquer.

David Horne (79) went to Los Angeles last weekend to receive a certificate from the Traveller’s Country Club for travelling to more than 300 countries and territories.

He is now on 301, out of 329 recognised by the club.

However, some he will miss.

‘‘Some countries are very, very dangerous. About a month ago I was in West Africa and things were a bit dicey there.’’

His favourite was Greenland, especially its southern forests, which had white hares, foxes and ‘‘fields of bluebells so sweet that you can eat’’.

‘‘Do you know what you do if you get lost in a Greenland forest? You stand up, because the forest is only 1m high.’’

His spent from a few days to two weeks in each country, although he ‘‘did not waste time lying on beaches’’.

‘‘When I can talk to people, I do. I’m interested in culture.’’

Mr Horne’s love of travelling came from his father, who he grew up with in Company Bay.

‘‘My father worked for the railways and we had a free pass and we travelled by train all over New Zealand.

‘‘He used to receive the National Geographic and these are the things that made me want to start travelling.’’

Mr Horne was a school principal throughout New Zealand and retired in 1992, from his last job at Mataura School.

He could afford his adventures through not having a family and his Scottish heritage enabled him to ‘‘know how to save a penny’’.

While travelling accelerated after retirement, his international journeys began in 1959.

‘‘I remember travelling from Sydney back to Christchurch [by air], which in nowadays terms would have been about $4000. Only the rich travelled by air. Everyone else travelled by boat.’’

He wanted to hit the 300 mark before turning 80 next year for ‘‘insurance purposes’’.

He has completed many bucket-list activities, including climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and swimming at the North Pole.

He travels business class on most long-haul flights.

However, he hopes to reach another goal in June of flying first class with his own room on a 17-hour Auckland to Dubai trip, before going to the Himalayas.

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