COME ON IN AND STAY A WHILE
THE PAGES I AM WORKING ON RIGHT NOW ARE:
KHIVA - visit the most preserved city in Uzbekistan
(Featured on the VT Homepage!)
ETHIOPIA - THE ANCIENT KINGDOM
PLEASE NOTE: My Khiva photo on the VT Homepage was taken by an excellent photographer and friend:
And now my story:
A lot of you folks put all sorts of neat details on your homepages. Lists, photos, likes, dislikes, future plans. Definitely the signs of organised and creative minds. I thought I would be original and put up a Robert Frost poem. You know, the one about the road less taken. Rob didn't travel that much, but I do.
I love to travel, but I am a glorified pin on the map guy. That's right, I collect countries. No letters or phone calls please. I can just hear dozens of you voicing your horror right now. Yes, I do like to meet new people and experience cultures. I have been well off the beaten path when there wasn't even a path to be beaten. I have many times been the obvious tourist feeling a bit awkward. But I want to see the whole world and you have to stay busy! It does not help that 3 countries I have been in no longer exist!
So what is the master plan? I have been trying to average 6 NEW countries a year. As of May 2013 I have 7 new ones! Last year (2012) was a very good year for new countries with 11!. I did visit 19 Countries in total so not too bad a year! Country 100 was Cambodia in February 2009. I am trying to build some tips and photos, but I only bought a digital camera a few years ago. Scanning old dusty photos is hard work. I have an all-new appreciation for you that have really spent the time to do all that you do.
So here are some of my Travel "Records":
Most countries visited in 1 year: 23 (previously 20)
Most countries in 1 day: 5 (Austria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia)
Most countries in 1 HOUR: 3 (Netherlands, France and the UK - but not in Europe!)
Most Border Points in 1 day: 9 (26 May 2011)
Countries I have driven in: 28 (10 left, 18 right)
Countries I have worked in: 4
Countries I was flown to unintended after the plane changed the destination: 4 (1 in flight)
Number of National Air Carriers I have flown: 45
Number of countries visited: Over 140 (3 don't exist anymore) - watch this space!
Number of countries I have lived in: 3 but I have had 75 addresses. Might explain the travel thing.
Number of countries I have walked into for the 1st time (think about it): 21 (2 illegally!)
I have also seen the New Millennium coming in (Year 2000) - twice - in 2 countries!
Number of countries I have arrested/detained/seized by the Police/Secret Police/Militias/Border Guards/Customs: 14. Egypt (in front of my Mum!), Djibouti (twice, 2nd one was for my safety), Burundi (Militia), DRC twice (Bribe paid once), Zimbabwe, Azerbaijan (Antiquities smuggling), Qatar (complained about Qatar Airlines - escorted onto the plane), UK (twice, once was a photo of sushi making, other was for carrying noodles in the Tube - same restaurant involved, but different months), Botswana (drunk Police demanded a bribe when I went to report a car accident), Mozambique incident 1 (bribe of a bag of ice), Algeria (my fault), Togo (Policeman noticed I had 2 cameras and demanded I give him one), Kyrgystan (jumped by 6 Policemen in the dark. Wanted to search my pockets for 'narcotics' and money. Yes money. I explained I had neither), 5 mintues in Alamty Kazakhstan and 5 Police throw me in a car, and Mozambique incident 2 - surrendered my International Driving Permit (paid $6) with permission to drive to the next town and get money from a bank to pay the bribe ($65). That was in 2005. I bet I am still 'wanted' there!