32 Unexpected Borders in Pursuit of Travel Freedom

written by A. L. Hart Havens on April 1, 2021

The unprecedented restrictions imposed across the world over the past year have brought the issue of travel freedom to the center of public attention. While international mobility has long since been a major headache for citizens of sanctioned counties like Iran, Syria, and the Sudan, it has been US, Canadian, and Western European citizens who have enjoyed excellent visa‑free travel throughout most of the world until very recently.

Recent restrictions imposed on US citizens reduced the quality of their passport from one of the world’s best to par with that of a third-world country. With the majority of preferred travel destinations off limits, Americans began to wonder what countries they could actually enter by way of air, land, or sea.

Furthermore, the draconian lockdowns witnessed across Australia, particularly in the city of Melbourne, have left people around the world wondering if they too could soon end up trapped in their home country, state, or city.

In the conceivable event that civilian air traffic comes to a complete standstill in the near future, any remaining opportunity to cross state, regional, and national borders may be restricted solely to land travel. In this situation, it would be advantageous to be cognizant of the states and countries that lie adjacent to one’s own, as these locations will likely be the most feasible escape options before eventually all travel is prohibited.

Against this background, this essay will shed light on 16 international borders and 16 US state borders that may strike an educated person as surprising. In addition to serving as a fun geography lesson, the two lists aim to alert readers about jurisdictions just one border away that could become prime relocation destinations in the event of a regional, nationwide, or worldwide shutdown.

The Top 16 Unexpected US State Borders

The various methods aimed at subdividing the United States into different regions are most commonly drawn along perceived geographic, cultural, political, or climate boundaries, with the regions often featuring blurred and overlapping transitions that can split a single state into two or more different regions.

Although there is no single universally recognized approach, a widely accepted breakdown features the following seven major national regions: Northeast, South, Midwest, Plains, Northwest/Rockies, Southwest, and West Coast. People are often surprised to learn about the existence of borders involving states associated with distinctly different regions.

With this in mind, here is Liberated Services’ very own list of the top 16 unexpected US state borders. Land and freshwater borders count but saltwater borders do not.

1. Oregon – Nevada                         9. Missouri – Nebraska

2. Colorado – Oklahoma                 10. Missouri – Tennessee

3. New Mexico – Oklahoma           11. Colorado – Nebraska

4. Michigan – Minnesota                12. Iowa – South Dakota

5. Nevada – Idaho                            13. Virginia – Tennessee

6. Florida – Alabama                       14. Illinois – Kentucky

7. Maryland – West Virginia          15. Texas – Arkansas

8. Virginia – Kentucky                    16. Texas – Louisiana

* Michigan and Minnesota are not conventionally viewed as bordering states, but they do in fact share a common border in western Lake Superior.

In most of these pairings, one state is significantly more socially, politically, and/or economically conservative than the other. And although the fiscal and social policies currently being pursued in the United States as a whole are certainly disturbing, it is obvious that some states will be less adversely affected than others.

The Top 16 Unexpected International Borders

The breakdown of the entire world into major regional subdivisions is typically performed along a mixture of cultural, ethnic, religious, geographic, climate, political, and language‑related lines. And although it is a more complex undertaking than the division of one specific country into various regions, the underlying approach is ultimately the same.

A reasonable division of the entire world could include the following nine major international regions: Anglo‑America, Latin America/Caribbean, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Muslim World, Sub‑Saharan Africa, South Asia, East/Southeast Asia, and Anglo‑Oceania.

Again, land and freshwater borders count while saltwater borders do not. Additionally, land and freshwater borders on islands and non‑contiguous regions in reasonably close proximity to a country’s mainland count, while borders shared by overseas territories do not (irrespective of the degree of political integration).

For example, the French overseas department of French Guiana located in South America is unique in that it enjoys largely the same political status as any other region on the French mainland. If counted for the purposes of this list, it would create a France‑Brazil border. This, however, would open up a can of worms requiring a subjective assessment of the degree of political integration of all British, French, Dutch, US, etc. overseas possessions and territories.

Here is the list of the top 16 unexpected international borders.

1. Russia – North Korea                  9. Brazil – Peru

2. China – Afghanistan                    10. India – Myanmar

3. China – Pakistan                          11. Hungary – Ukraine

4. Greece – Albania                         12. China – Kazakhstan

5. Italy – Slovenia                            13. Iran – Armenia

6. Russia – Norway                          14. Mexico – Belize

7. Turkey – Georgia                         15. Austria – Slovenia

8. Turkey – Bulgaria                        16. Austria – Slovakia

* India–Afghanistan is an intriguing candidate but was ultimately left off the list due to its questionable status as an international border. This is because the entire side of border claimed by India is disputed territory under Pakistani government administration.

It is probably safe to say that readers of this article won’t be attempting to cross the Afghan or North Korean border in pursuit of a more prosperous and free way of life. Although the two lists presented above were admittedly created in part as a fun geography lesson, this essay nonetheless aims to highlight the importance of remaining cognizant of one’s geographical surroundings and taking note of the entire scope of neighboring states and countries when considering a jurisdiction’s usefulness within the scope of a holistic offshore strategy.