Every year I have a rough plan and goals that I set for myself achieve. Overall, 2015 has been very successful though a rather extreme year of travel with 55 new countries.
In the beginning of the year, I started in South Africa and made my way up through the Persian Gulf. I hit up the tiny European countries of Monaco, Andorra, and Malta while taking a summer job in Sardinia. Then I went through my remaining South American countries and hopped around the Caribbean. Back in Africa I went around the Horn of Africa and just completed an insane trip through all of Western and Central Africa.
Throughout these travels I’ve met some incredible people, had some serious challenges, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
The people I’ve encountered and the friendships formed truly show that the world is a familiar place. I was even fortunate enough to meet several world travelers on similar missions.
Here are some of the more memorable experiences of the year.
- Climbing Mount Cameroon through a rainstorm.
- Taking a 7 hour motorcycle taxi-ride through the jungle to cross the border from Guinea-Bissau to Guinea.
- Exploring a diamond mining ghost town in Namibia.
- Witnessing the havoc caused by ebola on West Africa.
- Enjoying a luxurious Seychelles visit.
- Petting a live crocodile in Gambia.
- Feeling the unrest in Bangui, Central African Republic.
- Touching a bronze severed head of Saddam Hussein in Kuwait.
- Playing with highly inflated Venezuelan monopoly Bolivars.
- Touring the Galapagos.
- Making it upstream to Angel Falls when every tour group said it was impossible.
- Visiting caves with armed escorts in Somaliland.
- Piranha fishing in the Orinoco Delta.
- Exploring the churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia.
- Attending Incwala in Swaziland.
- Sleeping among hippos in Malawi.
- Discovering ancient forts in Oman.
- Getting an unexpected culture shock in Iran.
- Learning about the diversity of the Guyanas.
- Floating in Lake Assal, Djibouti.
- Feeding wild hyenas with my mouth in Harar.
- Skiing in Andorra.
- Sorting through voodoo animal corpses in Togo.
- Maximizing an Icelandic roadtrip.
- Dune surfing with a Land Rover in Sandwich Harbour.
- Getting lost for hours in a jungle in Dominica and then again in French Guiana.
- Dealing with the extremely frustrating bureaucracy of several African nations.
- And much more…
Here is my 2015 new country count in the order visited.
128 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
134 Trinidad and Tobago
141 The Gambia
145 Sierra Leone
147 Cote d’Ivorie
148 Burkina Faso
155 Equatorial Guinea
157 Democratic Republic of Congo
159 São Tomé
160 Cape Verde
163 Central African Republic
In 2016 I have only 32 new countries to visit primarily in the Pacific, Middle East, and Central Asia.
I’m looking forward to another exciting year of exploration and I hope to see you there!