So far I have been to 80 countries on this glorious planet. And I have more adventures ahead.
Welcome to the Chronology of my travels.
The Lexpedition 3.0 – On New Year’s Eve of 2010, I embarked on my second massively-unscripted global adventure. I started in Vietnam and ended up in Iceland, with 41 other countries sprinkled in along the way during my 448-day, non-stop voyage.
In addition to several life-changing experiences, I also endured more than my fair share of long bus and train rides, connecting flights, quiet dinners, and beers alone. Oh, and many hours on the Internet or comparing notes with fellow travelers to figure out my next destination, and the details and logistics required to get from here to there.
Once again I spent a great deal of time in my beloved India, including another trekking season in the Himalayas of Ladakh and Zanskar. I also enjoyed a healthy sampling of the Asian continent on this trip, including five exceptional weeks in Laos, a month in Sri Lanka, and three weeks in Mongolia.
Spain was my home for six weeks. I also explored several off-the-beaten-path European countries including Romania, Macedonia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. I passed through four of the six European Microstates of Andorra, Monaco, Lichtenstein and San Marino. Having visited Vatican City while studying in Spain with Mitch, Paul, and Chuck in spring of 1989, the only Microstate that eludes me is Malta. But don’t worry, That Mediterranean gem is definitely on my list!
And, as luck would have it, my buddy Mitch was working as an international lawyer in Kosovo and offered me his convertible Volkswagen EOS for a few weeks. How cool is that? I drove Mitch’s car for 19 days, covering 2,300 km (1,400 miles) while seeing Albania and all seven of the former Yugoslavian countries of Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Croatia is a fantastic country and deserves a whole month (or more) of my life at some point down the road.
Speaking of former countries, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan in Central Asia are not yet on the travel radar. But they soon will be. These are four of the 15 Post-Soviet States created when the USSR dissolved in 1991. I spent more than three weeks in Kyrgyzstan alone, and with a chronic, prolonged case of diarrhea notwithstanding, I loved every bit of my time in that amazing country. The highlight: My four-day hiking and camping adventure with Rudy and Veronika in the beautiful wilderness near Karakol. The Silk Road city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, featuring the ancient and glorious Registan, was one of the high points of my trip.
Depending on your definition, there are fifty countries in Europe; there are only eight I have not visited yet. I mentioned Malta above. Six of the others are actually the Post-Soviet States of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Russia. And the eighth is Cypress. But don’t worry, all those countries are on my list too.
Even though I visited 43 countries on The Lexpedition 3.0, the bulk of what I wrote about in my book, The Lexpedition, is from my adventures in Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Mongolia, India, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and the ‘Stans of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Nothing against any of the other countries, but for some reason, most of my favorite moments and memories have occurred in the raw and under-developed countries I find so interesting and captivating. Let’s face it; I’m not expecting to have a life-changing moment in London, Paris, or Dublin. I love each of those fine cities, but I prefer the Himalayas, or the newness of a back alley in Hanoi or Phnom Penh, or a quiet beach on an Indonesian island any day of the week.
Here are the details of The Lexpedition 3.0
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Next Step: Check out the details of my travels since 2014 on “The Lexpedition 4.0”