Oh, the Places You’ll Go (Dr. Seuss)
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go….
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
It’s been almost 20 months since we gave up our traditional (“normal”?) lifestyle for one of “full-time travel.” Thanks to more traditional transportation modes (like cars, planes, and trains), we’ve visited a lot more places than we did on last summer’s bicycle ride across the US.
This year we visited 18 different countries, 14 different US states, and traveled just about every different way you can. We visited so many places I’ve resorted to lists. You’ll see that Joy and I didn’t always travel together. Joy flew to Europe to teach a few classes and I flew back to the US twice for family reasons.
One of our lifetime goals is to hit 50-50-7 (all fifty US states, 50 different countries, and all seven continents). We made great strides towards that target this year.
Joy reached 50-50-6. Her last state was North Dakota, which we hit in August. Her 50th country was Bosnia Herzegovina, which she picked up in October.
I hit 47-50-6. I hit my 50th country (Norway) in November. I still need to visit Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. We’re considering cycling up the US East Coast next year so with some (significant) detouring (in a car), I may get all 50 states in 2018.
Side effects of all this travel
We periodically have conversations that begin with something like, “In June, what country were we in?” (Italy).
We always learn the basic phrases for each country we visit (“thanks”, “hello”, “excuse me”, etc.). Sometimes my brain spasms and the wrong language pops out. Like thanking a Croatian waiter by saying “Efcharistó” (Greek), or an Irish waiter with “Shukraan” (Arabic). I’ve even said “Hvala ti” (Croatian) in London.
The “Schengen Area” (which overlaps with the EU) comprises ~25 European countries that allow passport-less border crossing. This is great unless you travel to Schengen countries a lot. Like us. If you spend three months in Schengen during any six-month period, you have to wait another three months before you can come back in. Joy keeps a spreadsheet handy for planning purposes, and in case we get challenged (again) at a border.
Countries we visited in 2017
We’re not typical Americans (who don’t travel internationally very much, if at all). The latest stats I could find show only 46% of Americans even have a passport. In 2017, alone, we probably visited three times as many countries as the average American will ever visit in their lifetimes. Here’s the list of countries we visited, in relatively accurate chronological order.
- Ecuador (new for both of us)
- Morocco (new for both of us)
- Ireland (new for both of us)
- Greece (new for both of us)
- Croatia (new for Tony)
- Bosnia & Herzegovina (new for both of us)
- Montenegro (new for both of us)
- Norway (new for both of us)
We also visited Gibraltar, but that’s a British territory, not a separate country.
Just passing through
If we only visited an airport in a country we don’t count that as a country visit:
- Serbia – Belgrade airport
- Germany – Frankfurt airport
States we visited in 2017
We visited fewer US states this year than we did during our cross country cycling trip last year. Even so, it’s a big list (in chronological order):
- New York
- Kansas (new for Tony)
- Missouri (new for Tony)
- South Dakota
- North Dakota (new for both of us)
- Montana (new for Tony)
- New Mexico
Airlines flown in 2017
I have no idea how many miles we flew this year. A lot.
- Le Compagnie
- Air Lingus
- Turkish Airlines
- Air France
- Air Serbia
- Croatia Air
- SAS (Scandinavia Air Lines)
- Norwegian Air
- Ryan Air (Tony, only)
Trains, Buses, Ferries, Boats, & Beasts
- Ecuador (yachts, zodiac rafts, horses)
- Spain (trains, buses, ferry rides to Morocco and to Ireland)
- Morocco (trains, camels, ferry ride to Spain)
- Ireland (trains, buses, and boat cruises)
- England (train)
- Scotland (train)
- Greece & Turkey (sailing – Joy, only)
- Croatia (boat cruise)
The amount of cycle touring we did this year was disappointingly low. We only rode about 1,200 miles, compared to last year’s ~5,000 miles. We hope to do better in 2018. We did lug our bikes around the globe, though, and had great cycling adventures in three countries:
- Ireland (read about these adventures in our “Wild Atlantic Way” posts)
I love baseball caps, and try to collect one from each country and each state we visit. I own a lot of baseball caps!