CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Donna Shaver was getting close, so she decided to knock off the five Stans a few years ago.
That would be Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan , Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
"That brought me up to 147. Then, I went to the three Baltic countries this past summer -- Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia," she recalled.
So it was that on July 27 this summer that she crossed the border from Latvia to Estonia. And thus, she had finally come to visit her 150th country. "So I achieved the goal, which has really been 44 years in the making."
She reached a rare level. The Charleston woman was already a card-carrying member of the Travel Century Club for having notched a visit to a 100th country in 1995 -- it was Mongolia. She now joins the club's more rarefied Silver Level, receiving a letter, a pin and new membership.
"Not so many people have achieved 150 as have achieved 100," said Shaffer of what she describes her "travel disease."
"It's an honor."
Which raises an obvious question: There are 196 countries in the world, so ...?
"No, I don't anticipate that," she quickly replies. "But I did not anticipate getting 150."
Still, she added, "I'm not quitting."
The retired schoolteacher obviously has a serious case of the travel bug. Also, "I return to favorites places, and that doesn't count" toward her club total.
She cannot tell you how many miles she has traveled, but does know the exact number of flights she has made: 754. "The shortest being 15 minutes, the longest being 16 hours," she added.
She admits that after so much jetting about, finding fresh, new places to go isn't so easy as it used to be. "They're really getting harder to find."
And, of course, there are many places she has no interest in attempting. "I don't want to go to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan -- places like that."
She counts Iceland as her first country visited -- many years ago her plane touched down briefly on the way to England.
Her teaching career, along with some inheritances, has enabled her traveling addiction.
"I became a teacher because of the summer vacation; each summer I went on at least one trip and sometimes I went on two trips. Along the way, I inherited some money here and there, which helped with finances."