10 years ago, I embarked on a journey to memorize the capitals of every country in the world. After several weeks of countless Sporcle games, I achieved my goal. Since then, it’s become my go-to party trick. Whenever I let people in on my secret talent they immediately respond with, “What’s the capital of…” and throw the most unusual country they came name my way.

And to their delight, I answer correctly every time.

But my curiosity wasn’t satiated with simply knowing the countries and their capitals. I found myself randomly Googling countries and getting lost for hours reading about their histories. Because it’s not just about the names and locations – it’s about the stories. Maps to me are like tapestries; as whole they are a masterpiece, but the beauty is in the finer details of each section.

There are too many stories in this world to ever hear them all. But I wanted to take a journey through each world capital. I believe that even knowing just a little bit about a place makes it a little less foreign and helps us see the humanity in its residents a little more clearly.

I have written a capital/county on a notecard, numbered them 1-197 (alphabetical by country) and will pull one out of a box each week. I’ll┬áresearch and blog about it the following week.

My first country and the beginning of this blog is country 106 – Nouakchott, Mauritania.