It’s been a while. This time I will make a real effort to get back to writing. I will start the year with a little overview of my travels from 2023. So if you like statistics as I do, here are a few interesting numbers for the year. I can conclude, that 2023 is my absolute record year in terms of the number of countries I visited.
- Visited countries: 28
- Visited new countries: 15
- Solo trips: 11
- Miles travelled: +180,000km
- Visited continents: 5
- Milestones reached: 2/3
Visit Antartica being my last continent to visit
Visit Chichen Itza making it my last World Wonder to visit
Let’s go through the countries month on month
Coming back from a 3 weeks vacation in December resulted in a relaxed beginning of 2023. However, as I have traveled non-stop since 2021, I didn’t want to break my continuous traveling, so I had a weekend-trip to Sweden. First week of January, my partner (R) asked me if we should go on a last-minute trip to Antarctica in February, and what do you think my answer was? A pretty obvious YES!! So January was spent on practicalities (buying clothes and necessary gear) and preparations for our trip to Antarctica, which was our last continent to visit.
Then came the big month, where probably my biggest dream came true: Antarctica! We were on the road for 1 month. First stop was a day in Houston, to meet up with my dear friend Nat! She came from Denver to meet me for a day. Then we continued south, to Argentina, as this is the most common place to leave for Antarctica. We spent a few days in Buenos Aires and a day trip to Uruguay, before flying down to Ushuaia from where our cruise-ship would take-off. We had an 11-day itinerary before coming back to Argentina. Our final stop was El Salvador, where we celebrated our friend’s birthday.
I returned from El Salvador in the beginning of March. But March had more travel plans on the program. Mid-March I went on a solo trip to Moldova, a trip which was supposed to be a full weekend trip, ended up being a 1 day trip due to flight delays. But on the positive note, the airline refunded the full-ticket, as I had lost a whole day. My 24-hours stay in Chisnau was well spent.
That was not all for March, as for every month, there is an end. At the end of March, I visited San Marino with a friend. We spent the weekend there, enjoying the beautiful little country within Italy and a day in Bologna.
Spring was a very busy schedule, looking back at it, I am not sure how I managed to survive as it was packed with trips while at the same time working full-time. During Easter, I had an intention of visiting a few new countries, but I ended up revisiting 2 countries, however, during a very special season. Cherry blossom! First stop was in Washington DC and second stop was in Tokyo. I mean, is there something to complain about? This too, was a bucket list thing.
…and yet again, April was not over. There was one more trip waiting at the end, a weekend trip to Belgrade with my friend.
What is there to say about May – the most beautiful month of the year. With all the blooming and a me turning another year. I am not the kind of person who loves to celebrate things, but I like to spend my birthdays abroad which I have done a few times and 2023 should not be an exception. I decided to celebrate my day in Barcelona, which I had never visited before combined with a day trip to Andorra (another new country). So I had a mini-vacay with a good friend of mine, enjoying the lovely Catalan weather and celebrating a new country.
And as you probably have guessed by now, surprise surprise, I did have another trip for May. I revisited Jamaica, a one week vacation in the Caribbean.
The first 5 month had been really tough, and even tough traveling is wonderful, it is tough when you travel a lot. For the month of June, I ensured to have a light schedule, which included one weekend trip to Georgia. It turned out to be one of the best weekend trips I’ve done. Georgia is a lovely country and despite only having 2 days there, we managed to visit 4 cities.
July, summer in Europe. Where to go? If you ask me what my main activity is outside of traveling, it would be looking at a map and planning different routes. Throughout June, I had a lot of time to think. I knew I was going to Latvia for the Riga Song and Dance Festival followed by a stop in Istanbul but what to do from there. As a lot of money had been spent already, I was looking into cheap flight from Istanbul and suddenly I realized that Middle East was extremely cheap to travel to and within. And I quickly realized why it was cheap – Middle East during peak summer – any idea? Well let me tell you this summer in Middle East is not in December, it is July and August like in Europe, and their summer is BOILING. I had 2 weeks of traveling in 45+C. At the time I was thinking of this trip, I did not for a second think of weather and it turned out to be a good learning, do not be fooled by cheap tickets like I did. Nevertheless, I managed to visit 5 countries during the 2 weeks: Oman, Bahrein, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
For August, we had a few plans in mind across Europe, the main theme was to experience two festivals and visit a few bucket list destinations. We started the month celebrating R’s birthday in two countries: Bosnia and Croatia. It was my idea to go to Bosnia and suddenly I realized we could celebrate him in two countries (something he has not done before) as we were staying in the southern part of Bosnia. After the celebration, we continued our trip to Sicily. Italy never disappoints! Finally, at the end of the month, we went to Spain.
As I had accepted a new job offer, starting my new job in October, I couldn’t travel much in the month of September due to knowledge sharing. In order not to break my stats, I went to Sweden for a day, to spend some time with my friend.
1st of October I started my new job as HR Manager, a new and very interesting beginning. Luckily, I had a vacation planned long ago, so I knew I would be traveling to a long waited destination: Mexico. This trip however was not the regular Mexico trip to Yucatan, the main aim was to experience The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). With this visit I also visited Chichen Itza, which is one of the World’s Wonders, and my last one to visit.
November came with two surprise trips. For the first time this year, I did not have any ticket in my hand nor an actual plan. Only thing I was thinking was that I would probably go somewhere during Christmas. But November was apparently not supposed to be without traveling. I got a surprise trip to Paris and I booked a last-minute trip to Istanbul.
In the beginning of the year, I had a goal, a goal of reaching 100 countries by the end of the year. This was the only out of 3 goals I knew I wouldn’t complete. I didn’t expect to change job, so by doing that, my plan did not go through which is ok. I was very much in doubt about what to do for December, should I go somewhere or not but I could just feel that I had to go and increase my number, so I ended up in Nicaragua for a solo trip. I did one week in Nicaragua on my own, followed by a few days in Belize with R.
… and with that 2023 got me to 94 countries. A very well-travelled year but do not underestimate how hard it is to travel while having a full-time office job.