It was a busy and rewarding year!! I covered a lot of ground, some of it old, but plenty of new. In 2016, I traveled to eleven new countries; including: Cuba, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Iran, Bulgaria, Iraq, Eritrea, Honduras, and Guatemala. This brought my country count to 103. A great feeling to finally have crossed the century mark, but still a very daunting task ahead of me. Still 90 new countries to visit. I also revisited nine countries; including: Thailand, Hong Kong, Holland, Armenia, UAE, South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia.

Great protective day bag.

I had some incredible experiences this year. Right after the New Year I headed down for a three city trip to Cuba. I wanted to beat the rush before US tourism is 100% open to this time capsule-like country. I had a great train trip across Western Europe in April. I made my annual visit to Armenia to catch up with friends and recognize the Armenian Genocide. I spent an amazing week plus visiting Iran, a country that breaks so many pre-conceived notions. Bulgaria was a country that punched way over its weight class. I also visited the Kurdistan region of Iraq, another great place to visit, and also surreal. I visited Eritrea, a very isolated country and one of the least visited countries in the world. Eritrea was another surprisingly awesome country highlighted by a steam engine train ride through the mountains. I got to visit two of my favorite festivals in Thailand. The bizarre Sak Yant tattoo festival and the beautiful Li Peng/Loi Kratong Festival in Chiang Mai. I also revisited the moving Borobudur Temple in Indonesia for both sunset and sunrise. I also got to continue my relationship with the Mercy Center as a volunteer teacher in Bangkok for the first three months of the year.

Great organizer to hold all of your cables and chargers.

There were also some professional accomplishments in 2016. I started my podcast Counting Countries, where I interview people who have traveled to every country in the world, all 193!

I published an article in Huffington Post on my visit to Iran. The Brookings Institute purchased a photo of mine to use as the cover of a soon to be published book, The Eagle and the Trident. I was interviewed in Skyscanner. I was the keynote speaker at the PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference. And I was also awarded the MOST CAPTIVATING DIGITAL STORY at the 2016 Digital Innovation Asia Awards.

Great portable battery charger.

For those who like statistics …

  • 44: I stayed in 44 different hotels
  • 18: I traveled on 18 different airlines
  • 46: I flew 46 different segments
  • 3: I crossed 3 different international borders via train
  • 1: I crossed 1 international border via bus
  • 1: I crossed 1 international border via rental car

    Flexible converter when traveling.

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