Bouvet Island, a Norwegian possession located between Africa and Antarctica, is covered in glacial ice and penguin guano. Getting there requires cooperation from Mother Nature.
You can pay the $25,000 for three attempts to get to the island, but there's no guarantee -- the Russian icebreakers that take you there might still be unable to make landfall.
Even Veley, one of a handful who have been to Bouvet, says there were times he was ready to throw in the towel.
Bragging about all the countries you've visited makes you sound like a self-involved ass.
According to Billep, bragging isn't part of the program.
Rather, members seek out enlightening and useful conversation with others who share their hobby.
It's like finding a fellow Depeche Mode fan who caught their "World Violation" tour at the Spectrum in Philly.
Only a few will ever really "get it."
There's enormous satisfaction to be had in meeting rare, kindred spirits.
What's the point of being in a country for a day or two, or for that matter, a few hours?
Point taken, but Fred Finn, a British-born businessman who holds the Guinness record for most air miles logged (a less contentious title than "ultimate traveler") flips that sentiment on its head.
Over the years, Finn hasn't just travel a lot, he's amassed an impressive resume of experiences.
He's been serenaded by John Denver ("Take Me Home, Country Roads"); spoken with Mikhail Gorbachev; had ribs with fellow first-class passenger Johnny Cash and played celebrity cricket with Pamela Anderson.
He also calls Richard Branson a friend and has more tales than Scheherazade.
Does all this really make you a better person?
In the end, "competitive travelers" generally make the case that the pursuit of travel stamps is really a way to better understand the world.
Sure, as Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder so eloquently put it, "we all know that people are the same wherever you go," but it takes being in a place to truly understand its people and customs.
Or to understand how geography explains everything -- how rain falling on one side of a mountain and not the other radically affects how people live.
"The more you travel, the more regional perspective you get," Veley says. "It helps you relate to different types of people, and the world becomes more beautiful because of it. It helps you understand the chaos."