A globetrotting couple from Adelaide has visited an unbelievable 101 countries
Visiting a different country, or maybe a few countries, is on the wishlist of most people, but an Indian couple in Adelaide, have taken their love of travel to a new level. Not many can claim to have visited 101 countries and islands, across several continents, around the globe.
Bitten by the travel bug, Tiburcio and Vinny Fortes, now in their late 60s, enjoy exploring the world and understanding the geography they studied decades ago in Mumbai. The pair, who trace their roots to Goa in India, moved to Adelaide four decades ago, at a time when skilled migrants were in high demand.
Back in India, Tiburcio was a draughtsman with American firm Ralph M Paisons and his wife Vinny worked with Westinghouse, an American firm in Mumbai.
Now living the retired life, Tiburcio and Vinny are proud to display mementoes of all the countries they have visited over the years throughout their home. Like their travels, the collection is equally extensive – fridge magnets, souvenirs, currencies of every nation visited and even a journal recording day-to-day activities of their numerous tourist destinations.
“We took our first holiday from Adelaide in 1974, but on our way here in 1972, we stopped in Singapore and that could well be our first overseas holiday,” Vinny recalls.
“When we embarked on our first cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong in 1974 on the P&O Oronsay, which was the last cruise of that ship, there were many Goans. We were very excited to have fellow Goans as crew sailing with us. We were pleased to converse in Konkani and ask them about their Goan roots.”
The dynamic duo have since completed 17 cruises!
Vinny also has fond memories of their trip to Goa in 2011 when they visited 59 parish churches in the state.
“To us, Goa will always be Goa, no matter what,” Vinny says. “Its name comprises only three letters, but it has all the palms, jackfruits, mangos, cashew trees, paddy fields and the beaches crowded with tourists from around the world. We remember Goa on a daily basis.”
Over the years Tiburcio and Vinny have travelled to a staggering 101 foreign destinations. “We have seen different churches and historic buildings, besides sampling the culture and customs of various countries,” says Vinny.
Asked if they had any unforgettable moments, Vinny replies, “All memories and sights are unforgettable, wonderful ones with beautiful prints and thoughts in our minds. We’ve made good friends while travelling around the world too.”
In 2008 they had two unfortgettable experiences on the same day on board a cruiseliner – lunch with an administrative officer, and dinner with the captain and his wife. “This is something that is very rare I think.”
Vinny admits travelling today is faster and more convenient than in the past. “In our modern times, the world is a small place as compared to previous years. Currently, one can step onto the plane and arrive at a different country within a few hours. Modern travel is very fast and I am sure it will get faster as the years pass by.”
Asked what an extensive traveller like her would advise others, Vinny sums it up in one sentence: “If one has good health and wealth and would love to see the vast world, go ahead!”