The unexpected moment is always sweeter. I learned this in a really fun way on my recent trip to Norway. Seeing the northern lights has been at the top of my bucket list for a long time and as I got onto the bus to 'chase' them down, quite literally, I was filled with so much anticipation. As with every natural sighting or phenomena there is no guarantee you'll get lucky enough to see it.
But still. I was there. Planning on seeing the aurora borealis.
What I didn't plan on was that our search for the lights would lead me across, not one, but two country borders that night. Several hours of driving through a massive blizzard taking over Norway, we found ourselves in the middle of a frozen lake in Finland! Finland has also always been on my list of countries to visit, and without realising it, I just made it there.
Now I also have a somewhat strict definition of what a country visit has to consist of in order for me to count it:
1. Must leave the airport or arrival terminal
2. Must eat local food
3. Must meet the locals
In this case, I only met the first part of my criteria and so I can't totally count Finland as a country I've been to. For consolidation I gave it half a point on my roster - after all, a campfire in the middle of a frozen lake in a country I didn't expect to be in should be worth something!
Another fun unexpected turn that night? Sweden was just across the lake, so of course we wandered over. Can't say I've ever been in 3 countries in one day. Add and check that one off the bucket list!