Annual Review: 2009 Travel Roundup


As part of my annual review series, I’m looking back at everywhere I went in 2009. It’s a long list!

Let’s kick it off with an observation that’s either interesting, awesome, or troubling (I can’t decide which): when I started writing this post, I had trouble remembering all the places I went this year. I had to go back to old calendars, itineraries, boarding passes, and even my much-loved passport to figure it out.


For better or worse, I certainly got around the world a few times. In rough chronological order, here’s everywhere I went in 2009:

Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong (x3), Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Qatar, United Kingdom, Mauritius, South Africa (x2), Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Haiti, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Dominican Republic, Cook Islands, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia

Additional transit stops were made in airports such as YVR DEN FRA ICN LGA ATL POS LAX LHR (and so on) Last year’s list, if you’re curious, is over here.

Domestic Trips

Since I’m overseas so much, I try to keep domestic trips to a minimum. This year I made it to New York City, Washington, Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, and Salt Lake City, but the rest of the time I stayed home in Seattle (January and February) and then Portland (March-onwards).

Even though I don’t like trips at home as much as trips abroad, I’m beginning to see the need for more domestic travel for various business meetings. Next fall will also have a substantial amount of domestic travel for my book tour, but we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.


Fun things (and misadventures) happen almost everywhere I go, so you’d have to read the whole year’s worth of travel archives for the whole story. I’ll assume you won’t torture yourself that much, so here are a few highlights:

  • I took my first sponsored trip, with Air New Zealand picking up the tab to send me to the Cook Islands. (I’ve turned down two other offers since then. I’ll happily work with the right company at the right time, but the other offers didn’t feel right.)
  • I was nearly deported from Saudi Arabia upon arrival. It wasn’t pretty, and I’m glad it’s all over. No offense (again) to our small contingent of Saudi Arabian readers; it just wasn’t my kind of place.
  • I completed my visits to all of South America. I know it seems like a small continent, but there are a few out-of-the-way countries down there, especially Bolivia, Paraguay, Suriname, and French Guiana.
  • I achieved the trifecta of airline elite status, racking up Platinum (or equivalent) status with OneWorld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam. Woo hoo! Note that two of these statuses were earned through an airline status match. The only airline I fly enough to actually earn the top-tier status is American.
  • I continued my style of varying travel experiences as much as possible, flying Lufthansa First Class on a Star Alliance award and being delivered directly to the plane in a Porsche — then taking a 15-hour Soviet train from Baku to Tbilisi. I love both kinds of travel and wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • I slept on the floors of a few airports, but old age (I’m 31 and getting older by the minute) and travel fatigue is starting to wear me down. For better or worse, this year I slept in JFK (awful), Singapore x2 (not bad the first time, not good the second), and Hong Kong (easy). Those are the ones I can remember, anyway.

Friends and Readers Along the Way

One of the fun things about my unconventional life is the chance to meet friends and readers in various stops along the way. This year I met up with Rachael in Amman, Daniel in the Dominican Republic, Naomi in England, Ryan y familia in Lima, Emily + crew in Santiago, Haider in Kuwait, Sarya in Cambodia, Cody + Dwight + Brooke in Bangkok, and Sondra in Rarotonga.

(These meetings are in addition to the bigger group meetups we’ve been doing — so far in Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, and Washington, D.C.)

The Quest to Visit Every Country

The total number of countries visited is now 122. I use the U.N. standard, not one of the inflated lists that includes various islands and other “non-countries.” By the inflated list standard, my total would probably be around 150.

So far along, but yet so far to go – the closer I get to the goal, the harder it becomes. Looking ahead to the travel plans for 2010 will require a completely different post (coming in early January), based on at least a dozen hours of plotting itineraries.

How Much Does It Cost?

As best as I can tell from bank withdrawals and credit card statements, all of these trips cost approximately $16,500 this year. Whenever I write about money, I’m always hesitant because I know that some people consider this kind of spending extravagant. For me, any kind of spending is about making deliberate choices and understanding what I value.

Anyway, I was actually afraid of tallying it up for a while, but now that I look at the list and remember all the trips, I’m pretty happy with $16,500. I expect the annual bill may go up a bit more as Round-the-World tickets keep getting more expensive and I have to get to more and more remote destinations, but I’ll just try to keep making progress by taking it one country at a time.

Another guy I know who went to every country in the world spent nearly a million dollars after selling a successful business. I don’t begrudge his success or think he’s a bad guy for doing it that way, but I’m also happy that my total travel spending since I started the journey around country number 50 is still way under $100,000.

On Travel and Tiredness

When I read through the above list now, it all looks overwhelming. I always point out to people who ask that I’m actually home for much more than I’m away, and this fall I even stayed in the country for two full months so I could finish writing the AONC book.

Most importantly, though, I’d rather be tired doing something I love than be perfectly healthy and well-rested by not pushing myself so much. It’s just who I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


QUESTION: I’m going to ask where you’ve been this year, but I know
that some people are going to feel like their list isn’t as exciting as mine. Please allow me to preempt this statement if possible: IT’S OKAY. 🙂

First, I’ve been doing this for a while, and I know that not everyone is as travel-crazy as me. Second, our group is diverse and international. Some people travel a lot, some travel a little, some live abroad, and some stay at home all the time. It’s all good.

So … where have you been this year?


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  • Scott Bravard says:

    My girlfriend and I live in Florida, and as I’m a student our travel budget is light. But we managed to get to Washington, DC, for 5 days last August. For some reason I was expecting a fairly hostile city, but in fact it was a very friendly place. We took Metro as much as possible and walked ourselves ragged seeing all the monuments. A highlight was a relaxing evening people-watching in DuPont Circle.
    As a new-comer to your blog, let me say kudos on your success this year, your reports are always interesting and an inspiration to the rest of us.

  • Caroline says:

    I was on exchange studying from January – June this year in Sweden. I had never been to Europe so I took advantage of the cheap flights and easy class schedule and made it to quite a few places: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

  • Keira says:

    My boyfriend was long distance this year, so a lot of travel time was devoted to visiting him. Places visited this year:

    New Orleans, LA (7x)
    Baton Rouge, LA (2x)
    Montgomery, AL
    Pensacola, FL (2x)
    Destin, FL
    Boston, MA
    Providence, RI
    Dallas, TX

    Not bad for a MI girl.

  • Bradley says:

    well, my list isnt nearly as extensive as your’s! i did take my first solo trip this year. i went to belize in march.

    other than that, i havent traveled too much except locally. i live in the southeast US. here are some firsts:
    1. merlefest in north wilkesboro, nc
    2. hiawassee, ga
    3. charlotte, nc
    4. greensboro, nc
    5. bristol, tn/va (lovely little town)
    6. havent been yet, but going to oak island, nc over christmas holidays.

  • Dillon says:

    You are the king of creative travel! With a wife and three kids, I cannot compete with your travel schedule, but enjoyed your writing as I made my own adventures. Living near Atlanta has helped with a lot of same day or one night travels in the US, plus I made a short trip to Haiti (my second) that was life-changing. I’d love to read more about how you put together your gratitude gatherings (how you communicate these to people and decide when and where) since I believe these informal, short meetings are increasingly becoming part of my travel plans as well. Keep pushing toward your goal of reaching every country. I love hearing your stories!

  • Elizabeth Bonet says:

    I went to Paris this year. After not having been out of the U.S. in 9 years and dreaming about getting back to Paris for years, starting several “France funds” (and raiding them), I actually got my way paid as a 40th birthday gift. I was ecstatic! I grew up in a traveling family. My parents traveled to over 60 countries and lived in 15 or so dragging along 4 children. It has not felt right to have not traveled for so long, the births of two babies and the raising of small children aside. I took my 8 year old with me and formed memories neither of us will ever forget. Thank you for your inspiration and including those of us who only travel sporadically but love to read about it, obsess about it, and hatch plans for it, however far out they are.

  • robyn says:

    this year, the husband and i went to chicago several times {i have family there}, and kansas city once. we travel “across the river” from omaha to council bluffs all the time to watch movies and such {our favorite theater is there}, and we stopped off in iowa city to party with the younger set {read: to visit one of my brothers}.

    i’m definitely a home body, so i live vicariously through travel websites like this one – i’d much rather be on my couch knitting for charity! but this year i think we’re going to try to actually get somewhere out of our norm, call it our honeymoon {we didn’t take one after our wedding in late march, opting instead to redo our bathroom}.

  • Mike Hedge says:

    Great post, once again. fun times. wow. you have me beat in the total number of countries visited. cheers! So the 16,000 is total for the year? or only flights and food? How does that break down?

    Here is my annual recap. I post them every 1127.


  • Michael from Minnesota says:

    Answer to Where Have You Been?: Dallas, Chicago (4), Tokyo, Shanghai (2), Atlanta (3), San Francisco (2), Istanbul, Ft. Lauderdale, Tucson, New York (2), Seattle, Las Vegas, Singapore, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt/Wiesbaden, Zurich, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Toronto, and………..FARGO!

  • Liam says:

    Hope you’re having a great time. Your goal is to visit every country on your list before you’re 35 isn’t it? Looks like you’ll definitely be able to make it at this pace.

    I live in New Zealand, and out of curiousity where have you visited here?

  • Dan O'Neil says:

    Hey Chris, I didn’t go beyond my normal Dominican Republic-Haiti-US circuit, but I did enjoy our lunch in Santo Domingo. You’ve rocked my world and given me new dreams! I look forward to hearing about your 2010 plans!

  • Alan says:

    Nice reflection, Chris. Makes me nostalgic for 2009 already, even though we have a few weeks left!

    As a cost-of-living surveyor, I traveled to 19 countries this year: Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Albania, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Georgia and the U.A.E.

    Looking forward to 2010!

  • David says:

    Hi, Chris. In 2009, I’ve been to Fresno and Los Angeles (x2), CA; East Palatka, Miami, Melbourne Beach, Orlando and Palm Bay, FL; Princeville, HI; Elon, South Port, Raleigh and Wilmington, NC; Albuquerque, Cloudcroft and Las Cruces, NM; Las Vegas, NV; New York, NY; Dallas and El Paso, TX.

    Have a great 2010! Always look forward to your posts.

  • Linnea says:

    Like most years, all my trips in 2009 were domestic. I visited friends on the north end of my adopted home state, Ohio. I got married on the coast of California, then took a driving trip from Napa to Monterey, and then back up the coast to San Francisco, for my honeymoon. I also visited family just last week in Eugene, Oregon. I hope it’s warmed up in Portland!


  • Oleg Mokhov says:

    I lived in wonderful Boston, dropped by the US Virgin Islands (for nature exploration, pre-tourist season), and assimilated myself in nature in Alaska.

    Boston is great. Small enough to be walkable and breathable, but big enough to attract great stuff. The winding streets (Euro-style) make it a joy for exploration. The ocean is beautiful, and the seafood is 1st-class. Harvard + MIT makes Boston/Cambridge the great minds center of the world. Plus, the Boston accent is wicked – ‘Pahk yah cah in Hahvahd yahd’.

    US Virgin Islands was my Russian self’s first immersion into a tropical environment. I was sold. Viva la warm weather, clean blue water, and a constant refreshing breeze. My friend and I got to have a beautiful sunset evening on Turk Bay (“top 10 beach in the world”) all to ourselves.

    Alaska was unfiltered nature. 2 weeks of no other people, culture, trash, society, tech. Just a raft, a river, and fishing. The cleanest water in the world, grizzlies, gorgeous mountains and fields.

  • bondChristian says:

    I love these “end of the year” updates. Congratulations on all the vacations and trips.

    Yes, Chris, you’ve got me beat a bit. :>) I haven’t been out of the country this year, but I have traveled across the US. I took a road trip from Kentucky (where I live) all the way to California and back, stopping in a bunch of places along the way. This is my third cross-country trip, so I didn’t add any new states this time. Still quite the memorable adventure though. Also, I made my first trip to Michigan early this year. Another state to cross off (as I didn’t like Michigan that much… the upper peninsula, though, was a nice addition).

    Looking forward to seeing where other readers have been this year.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  • Nine says:

    I’m kind of jealous of the travelling you do, so I like that you acknowledge that most of us don’t manage as much!

    I got made redundant at the end of March, so I took the opportunity to visit Hong Kong, Macau and Australia for the first time (£650 return from Scotland – I spent a lot of time researching routes, and I couchsurfed along the way). Since then, I’ve travelled within the UK several times, taken off to Spain on a day’s notice, and visited Germany and Ireland as well. I don’t have a steady income again yet, but I’ve done this stuff cheaply and I’m very glad I did – better to be broke in a different location than to stay home and mope about it. It’s been an uncertain year for me, but still good.

  • Al says:

    This year has been a “Stay at home” year as me and my co author worked our butts off to finish a writing project…

    …finished now, Thank God and our first sale encourages us to think beyond this project and start planing the new year, so I’m looking forward to visiting Melbourne and Hong Kong.

  • Am Bair says:

    My husband has been ill. The perk (so to speak) of his being ill is I’ve done more travelling this year than I ever have.
    June-1 week on Islamorada Key for our belated honeymoon
    June-3 days in Great Neck, NY (Chiari Center is there)
    August-4 days in Great Neck, NY
    August-5 days in Holland, MI (met all the inlaws and husband got to see parents)
    September-3 days Long Beach, CA
    October-14 days in Great Neck, NY (husband had brain surgery)

    He is healing nicely so I hope to make more trips for fun in the very near future. We’d like to go to Belize for a week or so. I’ve heard it’s wonderful down there and not as touristy as other tropical locales.

  • Harvizzle says:


    First and foremost – congratulations on a stonking year!

    My travel this year was limited to Sunny Spain (Brits abroad!) whilst setting up my own mini-business, but I’m off to Vegas in Jan, Portugal in June and around the world indefinitely from September! I’ll be sure to re-read a lot of your posts before setting off, but I’m bloody excited and your posts do nothing but convince me that I’ve made the right decision.

    Great work dude! I can’t wait to join you in a new exciting place every few weeks!

  • Susan says:

    Let’s see…. I went to Budapest, Prague, Edinburgh, Cleveland, Atlanta, Turks and Caicos, Telluride, Montreal, Quebec City, Montauk, St. Maarten… I think I’m forgetting something. But I’m also proud of is seeing so much more of the city I live in, New York. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center in Broad Channel, Queens tops that list. I also did some great hiking in Nyack and in the Cloisters.

  • Jeff says:

    I’ll chime in, for what it’s worth -thanks for the “it’s okay,” Chris! 😉

    This weekend, I will experience my 30th country. Spread over 15 years as a student, in the air force, as a corporate executive and an expat bum.

    Full list here, roughly in order:

    US Canada Russia Ukraine Uzbekistan Finland Estonia Saudi Arabia Bahrain England Scotland South Korea North Korea China Greece India Croatia Czech Rep Germany Egypt Belgium Austria France Denmark Sweden Norway Netherlands Malaysia Australia Italy (for a week, starting Saturday!)

  • Cara says:

    This year I took advantage of Jet Blue’s All You Can Jet pass to get to Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. It was a great experience, though it definitely taught me about how exhausting it is to travel constantly for a real length of time, espeically when you’re staying in hostels. I don’t know how people can backpack for a year!

    The really fun part was that some people picked up on our journies through my blog and I wound up getting to go speak to Jet Blue execs along with some other jetters a few weeks ago. It goes to show that if you strive toward excellence someone will notice!

    Thanks Chris! It sounds like you had a great year and I look forward to reading more in 2010!

  • Andi says:

    Extravagant, please! How can you say spending money on your passion is extravagant? In my mind it’s a necessity! People wouldn’t think twice about spending money on Prozac to be happy, well traveling makes you happy, so there! 😉

    Your list is BEYOND impressive!

    2008 was a bit more exciting for me as I was in 15 countries… 2009 I was in Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, Argentina, Belize, and I’m finishing up the year in Brasil! Can you tell I love Latin countries?

    Happy Holidays and here’s to wishing that our paths cross some day!

  • Karen says:

    Hi Chris,

    Quite a list you have there! Although not a lot of people can match your travels, but I did mange to take my first European trip this year. We visited Rome, Paris, Florence, Pisa and Venice. Plus, I went to Las Vegas again (I go every year). And, I went back to Toronto 3 times to visit my friends.

    Next year it’s going to be Peru or Spain. Oh, and course, long weekend trips to Toronto. Oh, and Las Vegas, too 🙂

    Looking forward to reading your travels to the remaining places. When do you think you will have reached your goal? Are you going to come in ahead of your limit and have you got the party planned yet? 🙂

  • Sherri says:

    I wish I had such grand goals but my travel interests are simple and US based only. At 40 & 45 years old this year, my boyfriend & I bought our Dodge Ram P/U truck & 26′ travel trailer and have taken 3 Eastern US trips to Ohio, MD & FL (from a home base of NJ). He has camped all his life but this was my introduction to the lifestyle. Not really roughing it w/ a kitchen & bath in the RV but it has been a fun adventure for me. My goal is to be able to sell off the worldly possessions and live in the RV full time for a year seeing as much of the warmer US states as possible and find a small town to settle down in in the next 10 years. Thanks for the inspiration and ideas on how to simplify to reach your goals. I love reading about your adventures.

  • Fabian Kruse says:

    Always good to read your updates, Chris!
    Looking back at 2009, I did the Grand Amazon Roundtrip visiting the rainforest of Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Afterwards, I spent quite some time in the Andes (Bogotá, mostly), headed for two months to Central America (El Salvador), and then settled down in Cartagena, Colombia since October. I like to travel really slowly, so this is a good fit for one year… in 2010, a trip to Europe is planned, and maybe I’ll even visit some friends in the US.

  • Steve says:

    That’s a pretty good number of trips for just $16,500, I would have thought it would be quite a bit higher.

    Anyway, not much travel last year from me. Just Manhattan, Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Tak, Phuket and Krabi) and Mexico (Playa del Carmen).

    With a baby on the way travel for us in 2010 will likely be non-existent, but we are planning a permanent move to Thailand so that will feed our travel need for the time being I hope.

  • Kathleen says:

    Well, I’m sure plenty of people who stay home spend at least that much or more on clothes, shoes, gadgets, eating out, and a whole lot of other stuff.

    I didn’t get to travel much this year, but I live in a foreign country so everyday is an adventure. I live in Ecuador so I went to Galapagos, which was awesome. I also went to Japan (Tokyo area, Kyushu) and next week we’re going to Chile. Next year I’m hoping to visit Argentina, some places in Chile, and anywhere with nice beaches. We may go to Europe as well.

  • Tammy J Bray says:

    All I can say is WOW! It must be truly amazing to visit all of those countries. I have never been out of the country. I have only visited about 10 states in our country, should I include the ones I just drove through? That might take it up a few more.

    I did have a great year though. I live in Indiana and we visited a handful of State Parks. We went on a lot of hikes, kayaked a couple times, floated down the creek on tubes, camped out, and also stayed at a couple of the State Park inns. Simple, refreshing, and didn’t break the bank.

    I just recently found your site and really enjoy reading about your adventures. Looking forward to another great year!

  • Mercy says:

    I went to San Francisco and Yosemite in early 2009 and Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire in October. Planning on going to Seattle, WA and the Grand Canyon/Santa Fe in 2010. I’d like to visit Europe again next (spent two months in Spain on a study abroad program in college).

  • Margy says:

    Where have I been… Port Stephens, NSW, work, home, work, home. I have spent alot of time in my house, cleaning, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, being a mum… I am off to Queensland in a few weeks, so doesnt count really for this post. May 2010 bring me more travel opportunities… as an ex travel consultant to now a midwife, I am lucky to say that I have been privelidged to deliver babies in to the world and often wonder what they will do with their lives. I do miss traveling alot but when one has kids it makes the task a little more challenging! One thing is for sure, I will be old one day if I am lucky! so I plan to enjoy the journey along the way and enjoy each day with my children, family, friends, dog, cats and so on! I am typing this on a night duty in birthing suite.. and my eyes are burning from being tired and not to mention the air cond doesnt help!… oh well, back to google for some more surfing … merry xmas all from OZ!

  • Leigh says:

    I didn’t do a lot of traveling this year but made a huge move towards the end. Two weeks ago I moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia to work for an NGO. I trust that 2010 will hold lots of opportunities to travel within South East Asia.

  • Jess says:

    Well, I spent some time living abroad in Cairo, Egypt, from January through May. I intended to visit other countries in North Africa and the Middle East (namely, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine), but because of money and stress I opted not to. I did get the wonderful experience of returning to Spain (though equally as frustrating – I discovered southern Spain is much, much different than central or northern!) during Western Holy Week, which was quite an adventure. It was also my first time traveling along.

    I had such a fantastic time. I got a chance to climb Mount Sinai, ride up part of it by camelback at 3 AM, and see the Burning Bush. I also saw the Alhambra in Granada, lived in two different apartments in Cairo after being evicted once, stayed at a resort on the Red Sea, and got very close to Libya, amongst other things. I also was fortunate enough to visit Boston twice this fall (the trips within two weeks of each other) as well as Wisconsin in August.

  • Andy Hough says:

    This year I spent a month traveling through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Before this year I hadn’t been out of the U.S.-except a few trips to Mexico-since 2000. It shouldn’t be that long between international trips again.

    Domestically my only trip was to PA to hike the AT for a week.

    Not sure where I will travel in 2010.

  • Karen says:

    Your trips sound so exotic!

    We went by boat to Belize City, Belize, Nassau, Bahamas, Costa Maya, Mexico, Cozumel, Mexico. We went by plane to Orlando, Fl. We went by motorcycle to various places in TN, Ashville, NC. and Louisville, KY. The boat trip was super and the motorcycle trips were great fun.

    We would have gone on another boat trip this Christmas break, but we didn’t plan for air travel to be so high! We are doing a lot of pre-planning for next year’s trips. You’ve given me some great ideas to help keep the costs down.

  • Mike says:

    I had a chance to do a lot of traveling this year with a band. We drove across Italy, The Netherlands, and England. As well as a tour of the Western half of Canada.

    I love your site Chris! Thanks

  • Ann says:

    This year I went to Portugal (Algarve and Lisbon) and Italy (Tuscay). The Portugal trip was a huge confidence buider for me personally. I’m 62 and traveled on my own. My husband and I have done a fair amount of travel in Europe together, but this was my first solo trip. I enjoyed myself immensely and would love to take more solo adventures. Even went parasailing for the first time. I used some of the travel and frequent flyer tips from your website and e-mails to take the Portugal trip for next to nothing. Also went to Tampa twice to visit family and made two getaway weekend trips with my husband to Janesville and Green Lake WI.

  • Leigh says:

    I made it to:

    Munich, Berlin, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Houston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City, Amsterdam, Brussels, San Jose, San Francisco, Portland,Seattle
    Boston, and a few other less travelled towns along the way.

    It’s been a good year and in 2010 I hope to move my yearly average even higher! Good luck in your country quest!

  • Rod says:

    Hi Chris, I am enjoying learning about your “different” lifestyle. AONC is so refreshing.
    I was living in the Philippines for 17 months, left for Mexico (San Miguel de Allende) in May, came back to the US in August, and will be moving back to the Philippines for good soon. It’s always such fun to spend some time somewhere else. Also challenging! Spending a few months tasting a culture keeps one out of the “rut” of life, I say! And seeing how spoiled westerners are has been an eye opener!
    Best to you in 2010. I look forward to hearing about your trips!

  • Terri says:

    1- Ft. Lauderdale (for business)
    2- Scotland (for the 4th time) – husband’s family lives there
    3- Prague – a 3 day trip, leaving the kids’ at their grandparents’s in Scotland! Lovely. I call it Disney-Prague…it was so beautiful and clean and ice-creamy.

    Also had one near-trip to Venezuela. However, I was a little relieved it was cancelled because I read the State Dept’s travel advisory – yikes!

  • Peter says:

    Our best trip was to your backyard. We stayed at the Kennedy School in Portland, OR. Great place to visit with kids. We plan to make it an annual destination.

  • marian says:

    i’ve been to san francisco, new york/new jersey, and hawaii (honolulu/kauai for 5 days). currenty living in LA 🙂 next year i plan to do more travelling – will be visiting the philippines in 2010 and hope to travel more of the northwest (portland and seattle)

  • Ron Swanson says:


  • Cathy says:

    This year for me has been the less traveled since 97′ but I am content..I feel blessed : )

    ENgland, Scotland, Fargo, Kentucky

    My goal for the New Year is to become debt free, get out of the 32806 for a couple holidays : )

    For Chris and readers of AONC …

    Enjoy time with friends and family over the holidays…Be safe !

  • The Global Traveller says:

    Hi Chris

    That’s an amazing list of new places you’ve visited this year. You are right about it getting harder to visit new countries once have been to over 100.

    Earlier this year I calculated a flight connectivity index – how many countries have direct flights to each country. For some there are very few options. I’ll be doing an update early January.

    Happy travelling.

  • Marie-France Roy says:

    I travelled for 3 months last spring in Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Japan. Spent a week in New Mexico (USA) in September. Took a couple of trips to Montreal (Canada) to visit family. That’s pretty much it.

    My goal is to visit a total of 100 countries. I’m at about 46 right now (depending how I count). I’m still not sure if I can count the Cook Islands as a separate country from New Zealand…

    I want to visit at least 4 new countries a year from now on. 🙂

  • Alison says:

    This year I was in between big international trips…so instead I traveled “domestically” (which I tend to include the USA in this even though I’m Canadian). But the biggest trip I took this year was to the Black Rock Desert in North Western Nevada to the Burning Man festival. If you’ve ever been you’ll know its a week of surviving in a completely different culture and environment, and at times you feel like you’ve actually been transported to another planet. There really is no other place on earth like it!

  • Luce Beliveau says:

    Hi Chris, great yearend review. I’m looking at doing a detailed goal settings similar to yours for 2010. My husband and I love to travel and we are on the road right now spending 3 months in the USA with our RV. We will be visiting Florida and New Orleans before going back to Aurora, Ontario, Canada. This year aside from this trip, we visited friends and family in Québec around Montreal and Grand’Mere. We also visited the Gaspé area in Québec. My husband visited his son in Nice, France and we will be visiting friends in March of 2010 in Singapore stopping in Hong Kong and Indonesia.

    Joyeux Noel.


  • Gary Arndt says:

    You visited the Cook Islands which are not in the UN, but you didn’t get a New Zealand stamp on your passport, you got a Cook Islands stamp. The Cook Islands has their own parliament, issue their own passports, have their own stamp and coins, and New Zealand basically has no authority on the island. Why aren’t they a country? Wikipedia describes them as a “a self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand.” Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands also have compacts of free association with the United States, but they are in the UN. There is almost no difference between how they function other than the decision to join the UN. The Cook Islands are represented in UNESCO, WHO, and have their own Olympic team. Cook Island athletes walk into the opening ceremony of the Olympics under a Cook Island flag. Why wouldn’t they be a country?

  • Gary Arndt says:

    …and my travels this year included:

    Thailand, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Greece, Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Monaco, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Grand Cayman, and Honduras.

  • Chad says:

    I spent a month living with my fiancee in Beijing after I graduated from college in the spring. She got her fiancee visa a few months later, and we are happily married and making future travel plans.

  • Stacy says:

    I’m looking forward to more travel in 2010 and hope to add a couple international trips. Here’s my list for 2009 which was more domestic.

    Palm Springs, CA
    Los Angeles, CA (twice)
    Reno, NV
    New York City, NY
    Charlotte, NC

  • samantha says:

    hey chris and fellow-portlander. i gotta say, i super duper love the whole non-conformity message and the live your life as you want to and all your other messages, but after two decades of extensive travel all over the world, (including a six month road trip across the US) i have no freaking desire whatsoever to go anywhere ever again. zippo. maybe it is b/c portland is so wonderful. maybe i’m more interested in other things right now. just for laughs, here’s my list: seattle, richland, st helens, the gorge, the grande rhonde river, fred meyer. oh wait, i did go to hawaii in feb. anyhoo, this post by jacob sums it up for me.

    Can you relate to any of it? as someone who has clocked many many transpacific flights, i really understood his point. anyway. welcome to portland!! and…happy holidays.

  • Alina says:


    My first time posting…

    Gotta say: I love your list and will continue to read your posts and storing them in my “Things I Like” gmail folder. My favorite quote this time ’round:

    “For me, any kind of spending is about making deliberate choices and understanding what I value.”

    Travel this year: England, Scotland, France, Canada and then back to the U.S. for a WA-OR-CA road trip. In the midst of moving and finding a new job. Hoping to incorporate some AONC into the life plan, it’s time to make some deliberate life choices.

    Cheers, Alina

  • JoAnna says:

    I quit my full-time job in October of this year, so a lot of my travel has happened in the last couple months, but here is where I went this year:
    Peru – hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
    Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
    Bryce Canyon National Park
    Great Basin National Park
    Burning Man
    Honduras – La Ceiba, Roatan and Copan Ruinas
    Huatulco, Mexico

    And my tickets are purchased to spend the Christmas holidays in the Seattle area, followed shortly thereafter with a cruise in the Caribbean.

    2009 has been an awesome year!

  • Kristin Haffey says:

    I took my first REAL trip abroad this year to Ireland — twice!
    The second time, I went by myself to see U2 play in Dublin.
    It was a dream come true! 🙂

  • Jane says:

    I started off the year living in China (until June), so saw the new year in in Beijing. Apart from several other trips to Beijing (I was living in a city a few hours south in Hebei), I also visited Yangshuo, Macau, Hong Kong, Xian, and Qingdao, and went to the Philippines and Vietnam. After coming back to England I visited Bath and Bristol, and then Amsterdam.

    As I’ve chosen to start at part-time MA in January I might be a bit tight for time and money in 2010, but I’m going to wait and see.

  • Kelly P says:

    I am so impressed with your list!

    This year took me and my husband to Peru, Bolivia and Australia plus domestic trips to Eugene, OR – Seattle, WA – Portland, OR – Washington DC – San Diego, CA and all over Northern CA (we’re Sacramento based).

    Next year we hope to hit up Spain, Morocco, Tunisia and maybe some of Central Amer.

    Safe travels to you and thanks for the inspiration!

  • Wendy says:

    Hey Chris,
    I live in Toronto. Last Feb. i took my 7 year old daughter to Mt. Tremblant in Quebec, to fulfill something on my “bucket list:” dog sledding. It was awesome!
    Then in April I travelled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico – by myself. I never had a desire to go to Mexico and it had been many many years since I had travelled by myself, but I loved it so much, I went back in October and plan to go again next April. Now I have friends there, which is nice.

  • The Global Traveller says:

    I forgot to say where I’ve been this year.

    Including a few places I’ll visit in the last 2 weeks of the year, my 2009 travels have taken me to:

    Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Burma/Myanmar, Canada, Chile, China (HKG), Colombia, Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Germany, Japan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Nauru, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, UK, US, Venezuela

  • ziggy says:

    Thanks again Chris, for another great article. I love the how you embrace both types of travel–either ‘Porsche-ing’ it or enduring a 15-hour train!

    Looking back, this year’s travels can be summed up as a serendipitous list of destinations. Most of them were done without much planning, either because I just ‘had’ to, or because some places didn’t have rigid visa requirements or none at all. Whatever the reason was, I’m so happy with the places I went to, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Some were even life-changing. I’m very grateful.

    1. Munich, Germany
    2. Manila, Philippines
    3. NYC (4x)
    4. St. Pete, FL
    5. Boston & Foxboro, MA
    6. Atlanta, GA
    7. Outer Banks, NC
    8. Chicago
    9. Peru
    10. Colombia
    11. spending the holidays in Southern California

    BTW, $16,500 isn’t extravagant at all, given the number of places you went to. That’s amazing!

  • Tomas Stonkus says:

    You are inspiration for sure! One thing that I am thankful is for sharing your costs for these amazing journeys. Now it all seems much more manageable. You are demystifying the traveling as being expensive and affordable only when you have tons of money.

    This year I have spent in Champaign and in Chicago Suburbs. Not very exciting, but at least I have completed a major task: I passed my CPA exam. It was a journey by itself. Even though, I did not leave the country, I was on an emotion and mental journey, which taught me a thing or two about myself, which I think is the point of any journey in life: learning.

    Great stuff and keep at it!


  • Adam says:

    A very busy year of world traveling: Israel & Costa Rica. Ouch, its painful to look at the list realizing just how little traveling I’ve done this year.

  • Lise says:

    Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, remote Alaska and assorted US destinations.

  • Laura says:

    @Tomas: Yeah, internal journeys can be just as satisfying as traveling ones. I fell in love with Champaign-Urbana over the 5 years I spent in school there, which is part of why, at the end of last year, my husband and I moved back to the midwest. My main journey since then has been choosing a lifestyle best suited to this new environment. This town is big enough to have a Wal-Fart, but small enough that people in town are on rural postal routes. Big enough that we can get Star Trek on DVD the day it comes out, but small enough that we can get locally-produced, grass-fed beef from the local butcher shop. I’ve started canning my own veggies, riding a bike again… it’s really cool!

    But I’ve also been to LA a few times to visit friends we left behind when we moved, Chicago a few times to visit family, Orlando once because my husband was attending a professional conference there so I tagged along as a tourist, and this Yuletide we’re driving to Virginia to visit my mother-in-law.

  • judy says:

    You are my hero!

    This year I have been to Aruba, Panama, Jamaica, Atlanta, High Point, North Carolina, New York. Startin the year off right with a trip in February to St. Croix and St. Thomas…

  • Sarah M says:


    I first read Chris’ work via a friend’s G-mail profile link to an article her wrote back in March-ish. I’ve been reading your posts ever since and sincerely look forward to their meaningful, useful, and interesting information.

    Places I’ve traveled in 2009: Vietnam, Japan (over 20 cities), Malaysia, South Korea, and within my home country of the USA: WI, MN, IL.

    Make a difference, every day!


  • Chris says:


    I did a Eurotrip this summer, originating in Bulgaria, than London, Barcelona, Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Zurich, Milano.

    I’ve also been to Turkey for a week and spent a day in Munich and in Frankfurt.

    It was a good summer.

  • Dave Shepherd says:

    Cuba! We stayed around Varadero, rented a car to go to Havanna for a day. When you drive into Havanna there’s a group of people that scout you out, and if you’re tourists they offer to give you tours for ten pesos. We accepted. The tour was actually quite good, Pedro explained a lot about the country, how things worked, what it was like to live there — he could of been lying, but I don’t think he was.

    Until we got arrested for trying to buy (unknown to us) illegal cigars. We went to the little police outpost, talked to them, then to the major station and talked to them — few of which spoke English (though I think it’s also an official language there). After a few hours worth of explaining we made it out then tried to drive out of Havanna at night when we didn’t know where we were going. Great time, would be careful about buying cigars though.

  • Tim M says:

    Well, 2009 was fun:
    Bailed on Tahoe in Feb (snow shred) and instead punched over to France for Le Tour and L’Etape (which led to my first ebook! 🙂 ), which also allowed me to take in delightful Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

    2010 looks even better with Hawaii in Feb for surf trip, France/Spain in July for Le Tour and L’Etape (10 days in Pyrenees), NZ in August for a heliboarding shred, NZ in October for wedding.

    2011 even better with Tahoe/CO/UT for snow (using Qantas FF points) in Feb, Spain or Italy or France for Le Tour, Giro d’Italia or the Vuelta (this time with the gf), and perhaps a cheeky South America snowboarding trip or Costa Rica surf trip.

    2012 will be South Africa/Tanzania/Botswana for safari and maybe Bhutan as well.

    All is good. Much more fun than being a slave to a mortgage!


  • Aaron says:

    Loved following you this year. Makes we want to do the same as what you’re doing! Good luck on your travels next year as you try to go to more difficult to reach and remote countries.

    Places in 2009: Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Austria, Hong Kong, San Francisco (X 2), Vancouver, Portland(OR),

    2010: Australia, NZ, India, + SE Asia.- looking forward to it!

  • TrIstanbul says:

    Hmm… Had a pretty good year this year. I was able to do my third undergraduate exchange (I have to plug my school, West Virginia University has very good and cheap exchange programs for anyone interested in getting an education and traveling at the same time). I’ve studied 2 semesters abroad before in Istanbul and Hong Kong.

    Late May – Washington DC.
    June – Paris, France; Piemonte Province, Turin, and Rome, Italy; counterclockwise trip around Ireland with my mom.
    July – Istanbul, Cunda Island, Cesme, Izmir, and back to Istanbul, Turkey.
    Mid July – mid November – Exchange in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Jonkershoek, Cape Town, Betty’s Bay, and along the coast all the way to Nature’s Valley.
    November 11th – 23rd – Istanbul, Turkey; Brussels, Belgium.

    In the entire trip I only spent 12 nights in hostels and campsites. The rest of the time I stayed with friends from previous travels and in my residence in South Africa.

  • Kevin M says:

    We didn’t go to any foreign countries, but a 13 hour drive from St. Louis to Charlottesville, VA with a 2 year old in the car might be as adventurous.

    We also had a fantastic trip to Boston & Chatham, MA in June. My son’s first time in an airplane was something I won’t forget. I loved Boston for it’s walkability, history and architecture. Chatham was a fun little small town where we saw a lifelong friend of my wife get married on the beach. The 2nd best wedding I’ve attended.

    2010 is looking to be a quiet travel year for us since we’ll be welcoming our second child in June. I’m planning to do the Urbanathalon in Chicago next October so that may be it for us.

  • James Clark says:

    Hi Chris,

    I’m enjoying your annual review posts. While reviewing 2009 it’s also startling to remember that it is also the end of the noughties.

    My travels outside of Australia this year have taken me to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and Serbia.

  • Sadhbh says:

    I’m an Irishwoman living in Sydney, so I do a lot of internal travel here (Australia is simply so huge and stunning that there is always something to see) but my international trips were Fiji and New Zealand.
    Internally – Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour, Noosa, Byron Bay, Canberra, and a few road trips around home, including Port Stephens, Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and a few more.
    Quiet year this year, saving for a two month Asia-Europe-USA-Central America oddesey and bought a home too!

  • Ricardo says:

    Hi Chris,
    congratulations for your project and for your blog; the amount of comments and replies show how good is your blog.
    and, travel in 2009: UK, Spain, some domestic trips (portugal) and, something I’ve tried for the first time (and loved), five days trekking to climb Jbel Toubkal (Morocco), the highest peak of north of Africa.
    Hope to find you someday,

  • Mario says:

    Hey Chris! I’m starting to get tempted to go to every country in the world myself! I’ll be tough to go to deep Africa or places like that.. But whatever, it will happen!

    This year so far: Argentina (live here), Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Going to Brazil for NYE and staying there for a few months! No Europe this year, which was a big disappointment!!

  • Judy Go says:

    Hey Chris, love your stories and writing style. Keep up the great work! We just returned from scuba diving on the Mayan Riviera, MX. Great fresh and salt water dives and Mayan ruins at Tulum. Keep on truckin!

  • Tracy Thomas says:

    International: England, Belgium, Cook Islands, Vietnam
    U.S.: Oroville (CA), San Diego

  • Erin Wilson says:

    You know, between you and your readers… I bet we’ve pretty much covered the globe this year. That’s rather amazing.

    I live near Niagara Falls (Canada), and made a return trip to Swaziland in January and first visit to Ladakh, India in September. Love both places and would go back in a heart beat.

  • Karen Talavera says:

    Chris, you are such an inspiration – keep going! I so hope to meet you someday.

    I’ve written a few of those holiday family/friends letters over the years but this year was thinking about writing one called “The Twelve Months of Talavera Travel” because between my husband and I it’s darned impressive. Not to toot my own horn, but when you figure a kid into the mix, I honestly don’t know how we do it (and manage to stay happily married).

    Here’s where I’ve been in 2009. I’m not including my husband’s, but it would add at least 5 more countries. Granted my domestic travel is mostly business, but the international travel was all vacation. We live in South Florida and no, we are not rolling in money. We do all the personal vacations on miles & points.

    South Dakota (met the governor)
    Phoenix (twice)
    Denver, Vail, Beaver Creek Colorado
    New York City (twice)
    Captiva Island, Florida
    Chicago (twice)
    San Francisco
    San Diego
    Mexico (twice)

  • Jon says:

    This year was a good year for travel for me. I went to Iceland, Sweden, Japan and Korea. And a quick trip to Florida for a wedding.

    This was my first trip to Europe, 5th time in Japan, 2nd time in Korea.

  • DJ says:

    Hi Chris, great site! So far this year I went to Switzerland (twice), Turkey, Spain & Morocco. Last November I made it to Antarctica/Argentina too. I’ve traveled more in the past year than ever before. Through my planning, I stumbled upon this site and always enjoy reading your updates.


  • Anthony says:

    I went to New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia this year. I loved every second of it, especially the Indonesia. I travelled throughout Sumatra and Java for a month and stayed with members of local blogging communities. They showed me their world, I ate what they ate, and did what they did, and it was most rewarding. I’ll never forget it. I blogged about the journey on the way, and you can check it out here.

    Hope everyone has great travels next year!

  • Isabelle says:

    Dear Chris,

    As a Canadian based in BEIJING, then SINGAPORE, I traveled and made friends in:


    and many places in CHINA: Hong Kong (x2), Shanghai (x2), Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, Hebei, Tianjin, Hunan, Hangzhou and Suzhou.

    Here’s looking forward to more of non-conformist living in 2010! Cheers!

  • David says:

    This year, after previously only visiting/living in 4 countries, I went to:

    England, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Argentina.

    I have Chris to thank for inspiring me to take the plunge, and am looking forward to revisiting Italy, Switzerland, and England.

    Hey Chris, you say you’ve been to all of south america. How about venezuela? Is it even possible for americans to get in there?

  • Bryan says:

    “Most importantly, though, I’d rather be tired doing something I love than be perfectly healthy and well-rested by not pushing myself so much. It’s just who I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I visited 23 countries in 2009 and hope to visit more in 2010!

  • Tanner Maluchnik says:

    Although, I did not get out of the country, I did finally get to the west coast and see California. Got treated like a celebrity for a couple days during a commercial shooting for ESPN. Fell in love with the atmosphere of Hollywood and also the weather.

    Recently found out this new class being offered at Penn State (where I go to school), that focuses on developing tech-health solutions in Kenya…A 1 credit semester program and then spending 3 weeks in Kenya to implement what we learn. Gotta say Chris, you inspired me to take this class!

  • Josiane says:

    This past year, I went to Vancouver, Paris, and Taos (New Mexico). I also had to travel locally (in Québec), as my gentleman friend has published two books in the past two years and it was book tour time!
    As for next year, I already know I’m going to California in January, but I don’t yet have any firm plans for the rest of the year. I’ve been itching to go again to Iran for quite a while now (it’s been way too long since my previous two trips there, and I want to practice my Farsi!), so I may try to make it happen in 2010.

  • David Stern says:

    Somewhat unusually I stayed in my home country the whole year (but it is almost a whole continent :)), but I did get to take these trips out of town:

    1. Cairns, Queensland (for a conference) but I took a daytrip to Kuranda and back by cable car and train through the rainforests and past the Barron Falls waterfall which was very spectacular at that time of year.

    2. Sydney, showing my parents-in-law around. All the usual suspect locations 🙂

    3. Port Douglas, Queensland. Second trip to Cairns airport. This time with my wife and parents-in-law. My first snorkeling, first sighting of cassowaries in the wild and lots of rainforest and beaches.

    4. Brisbane, Queensland. Job interview.

    5. Darwin, NT and Kakadu National Park. A conference followed by a trip to Kakadu – aboriginal art, saltwater crocodiles, termite mounds and stuff like that.

    6. South Coast of New South Wales. Beach walking, echidna sighting, driving through Deua National Park and Araluen Valley…

  • steve says:

    I live in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) and travel a bit for work, the below is part work part fun:
    Sydney x 2
    Bangkok x 2
    Cambodia x 2
    traveled all over Vietnam, 10+ individual trips to every major town and city
    New York x 1

    All up, close to 4 months on the road – the great majority with my wife and 1 year old baby joining in the fun

  • Kelly says:

    Hello! For everyone who has babies, kids, or kids on the way, you can still travel with them if you have the m&m’s. Money and the Means. And actual m&m’s are great for bribes. I have a 16 year old, 4 year old and 1 1/2 year old. Here’s where by husband and I took them:
    Jan finished our Christmas trip that included Australia, New Zealand and Fiji (Fiji during their worst natural disaster in 30 years.)
    Then I did some travel in China as we’re in Shanghai, Jingdezhen for pottery and Beijing/Xi’an with a family member.
    And our summer trip was: Moscow, train to St. Petersburg, Prague, Turkey, Rome, Athens and Paris. Then home to Michigan for the summer. Now back in Shanghai ready to go to Vietnam and Laos for 2 weeks!
    Lots of pics and memories! We loved it and will keep traveling!

  • Mary Jo says:

    Since I’m a flight attendant, I’m only listing the places where I traveled for personal time.

    International: Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Canada.

    Domestic: California (Napa, Palm Springs, San Francisco), Nevada (Las Vegas), Florida (Miami), and all over my home state of Washington.

  • Mark Lynch says:

    Hey Chris,

    I just wanted to say you’ve done well with the $16k budget for the travel year. Don’t think that is extravagant at all. For perspective: I’ve been a skydiver for years and I’ve spent much more than that over the years, just riding a plane up to altitude and then jumping out, not really going anywhere…. but down again.


  • Tom Wong says:

    Your site is my inspiration to travel more. This year, I went to Cambodia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Poland, India and Nepal.
    If you are in Vancouver,BC, drop me a line and we can meet for coffee.

  • Thianar Gomis says:

    Went to Dominican Republic for the first time, had an amazing time with the nicest people on earth great food and great resort (Cap Cana). I live in Los Angeles so I feel like mentioning that I also went to Cabo San Luca doesnt really feel like much of a real trip!


  • Micki McNie says:

    I have been to California to visit family, Moab, Capitol Reef, Bryce & Zion National Parks for some amazing backpacking, my uncle’s cabin in NE Utah to edit my book, Peru to hike the Andes and take some scary bus trips, I stepped foot in Bolivia only to head right back across the border with a great story about snatching back my passport from the guards, and I almost went to Mexico yesterday but made some better choices about how to spend my time this week. Not bad.

    Next year it looks like I might hit Columbia & Ecuador with a fellow non-conformist, possibly Dubai if I manage to win a special someone’s heart and she still gets deployed to the Middle East, and I just saw a great deal to the USVI where I used to live so that might be my winter escape. If I do a book tour or win a spot on Lillith Fair, I’ll be all over the US or maybe Canada, so 2010 is shaping up nicely.

    Happy travels all!

  • Siggi says:

    Didn’t travel that much this year. Our economy (Iceland) totally tanked, so travel has become quite expensive. However, I did to to three great cities:

    Barcelona: What a wonderful city. The history, the food, the wine, art, architecture, culture, athmospehere. Barcelona has it all. This was my third visit. The first was when I went to the 1992 olympics.

    Geneva: Went there on business. A beautiful city. Obviously VERY prosperous. A collegue warned me to NOT cross streets without being very carful. Last year, another collegue was hit by a Ferrari he never saw coming!

    London: Went there for a concert at Wembley Arena. I’ve been there many, many times and I never tire of it. Such a vibrant place, so many restaurants, clubs, music venues, great museums (recommend the National Gallery and Tate if you’re an art buff).

    I wish I could travel more. It is SO rewarding. Sadly, the state of our currency is going to make travel very expensive for the next few years.

  • Audrey says:

    We started our third year of travel in the States with family and an opportunity to participate in the Inauguration Parade and ceremonies. A nice way to start 2009!

    Since then, we’ve visited Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua in Central America (4 months) and then hopped over to South America for Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and we’re just about to enter Argentina (6 months). Perhaps not a very large list of countries considering the time…

    We’re not sure what’s in store for 2010. Perhaps more of South America with a visit to Czech Republic (former home) and starting to explore Africa/Middle East.

  • JJ says:

    With all these people following you on here you should have found a couch to crash on when at JFK! Next time shoot me an e-mail! Couch is always better then the airport floor!

  • GC says:

    I’m from the Philippines, and in 2009, I traveled abroad for the first time. 🙂 Last June, I went to Bangkok, which was AMAZING. Loved the über spicy food, the non-polluted streets at day, the mysterious shadows at night, the elephants, the thousands of wat (temples), and the randomness of our hostel (suk11). A month after, I went to a local beach, Boracay. It’s everything the tourist sites say it is.

    I’m planning to visit the rest of the Asian countries in 2010, and hopefully, I’ll save up enough to visit Italy in 2011.

  • Aaron Fraser says:

    Unfortunately, my only experience outside of my hometown this year was to attend my grandfather’s funeral in Arizona. A reflection upon this, alongside my own goal to see (most) of the world at large, was instrumental into getting me fed up with my 9-5 lifestyle. I am 24 years old and I have never been out of the country.

    Unacceptable! One of many footsteps that has lead me to this site.

    Thank you, Chris, for doing what you do.

  • Ricardo Diaz says:

    I live in Germany and these are the places I’ve been this year:

    Switzerland, Austria (2x), France, Italy (2x), Spain, Kazakhstan (2x) Russia (Transit only)

    Have you ever been in Kazakhstan? Don’t go in Winter, – 30 ° Celsius, that’s not fun..

    I love your blog and also wanted to say thank you for the insights in your Annual Review – it’s a great idea and I will take one or two days off within the next two weeks to review my year and make plans for 2010 – where I will, fortunately, be enjoying trips to Europe, Asia and USA – having a great time and following your advice on earning miles.

    Enjoy the holidays!

  • Nick says:

    I’ve been living in Beijing for just over a year, and have been blessed with plenty of opportunities to combine exploration with my work as a musician. My domestic travel has included:

    Dandong (on the border with N. Korea – fascinating place. My first longhaul train ride – 14 hours)
    Tianjin (4 hours by car when your driver gets lost – not long but feels much, much longer when your agent has hired a van that fits six – and you’ve got seven. I drew the short straw and had one cheek hovering over thin air for the whole trip)
    Xi’an x2 (Central China. Had my first encounter with food poisoning on the second occasion, not long before we were due to leave. Not the best flight I’ve ever had)

    Internationally, just two trips back home to Canberra, Australia. I made the most of the second trip and spent some time in Melbourne, Druoin, Jervis Bay and Sydney.

    I’m really enjoying reading your thoughts on travel and unconventional living. There’s always a free couch here in Beijing if you need it!

  • Don Prichard says:

    This year I went to England and Scotland with my wife and a few good friends. I’m a photographer so I was busy following the light.
    I enjoy traveling but I also love my home area (San Francisco) so I feel like it’s a win/win deal.

  • Nichole Carlson says:

    Your list is amazing for the year! Keep it up!

    I went on my first solo trip for 6 weeks to Peru and wandered into Bolivia near the end of it. I also went to Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin a few months later.

    It’s great when you get laid off and take the time to do some things that you always wanted to do!


  • Brandie says:

    This year was kinda sad on the travel front. I only made it to Belgium and Iraq. Hopefully next year will bring more travel, especially to Africa and perhaps Latin America. I still need to make it to Colombia and Argentina

  • Catherine says:

    Chris, I very much enjoyed this summary of your travels during 2009 as I enjoy all your posts about your travels. It’s interesting to see where other people have been this past year as well. I read far more about travel than I actually get to go but I’m working on changing that slowly.

    – Ohio (Canton, Sandusky, Newark, Byesville)
    – West Virginia (Snowshoe)
    – North Carolina (Mars Hill, Brevard, Rolesville, Wilmington)
    – South Carolina (Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Sumter)
    – Georgia (Atlanta)
    – Florida (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)

    – Mexico (Cozumel, Mahahual)
    – Belize

  • Hugh says:

    Quite an impressive list, Chris. That’s a ton of countries for a lifetime, let alone one year! Your travel is inspiring and I am grateful for all of the awesome information you’ve shared here all year.

    Not sure I’ve ever done this, but what a fun exercise. I think this was about an average year of travel for me. Some business, some pleasure. Due to limited vacation time, most travel is domestic US East Coast. Here goes…

    Costa Rica; Norfolk, VA (4); Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; St. John, USVI; Newport, RI; San Francisco; Houston; New Orleans; Florida (end of this month)

    Lined up for 2010:
    My wedding in St. John, USVI followed by honeymoon in Thailand!

  • Josephine in Brussels says:

    not so far – 2008 was exciting – then we went around in France for two weeks
    and I was also in Miami for a few days. This year I’ve been to Brighton UK, Archipelago of Stockholm and to Gothenburg – three longer travels. 🙂 and one to come as I will visit my family in Småland, south of Sweden over Xmas.

    A little note – right now in Brussels, Belgium we have about 10cm of snow and -4c, all of it fell down yesterday afternoon and evening. The sunshine in the morning turned the landscape totally fantastic. Not even last year when we had another snowfall like this in begin of December did it last this nicely because then half of it had melted away before it froze. I’m loving every minute of it! 🙂

  • Christi says:

    @JJ Funny you should mention “couch to crash on”. I had just been checking out!

    It’s exciting and inspiring to read all the travels mentioned here. We have not travelled much for years and took a trip to Las Vegas this year. We also travelled to the Black Hills of SD and even more locally to Medora, ND. These are not big deal trips to us as they are close and we have family in the magical Black Hills. There is something to returning to a place like that over and over. You find things you never would on a quick tourist trip.

    In the coming year we already have plans for a couple domestic trips and are hoping to travel to France in a couple years. Thank you all for sharing your travels. It reminds and inspires me that I can reach my goal of being able to travel freely.

  • Ruthie says:

    Love your posts Chris and really looking forward to you visiting Australia. This year has been domestic for me too. In our family travelling also includes looonnnng road trips and camping.

    So far we have camped 3 times, two trips to outback Australia and last week we drove from Brisbane to Sydney (12 hours with 1 hr break). I flew back but the rest of the family is doing the trip today.

    2010 is starting big with a relocation to Sydney, a possible trip to Perth and a trip to Carins/Port Douglas – all before March!

    Happy holidays to all and look forward to reading about everyone’s travels and ideas in 2010!

  • Michelle says:

    This year I left Montreal to go to France (Provence), Spain (Barcelona), England & Wales. I’m going to Las Vegas & Death Valley (hiking!) next month. I didn’t plan this and Vegas was never a priority on my list of places to go to but an unexpected invitation from one of my best friends seemed like an opportunity to create great memories! Also planning to go to Thailand next winter. So far my favorite destinations have been Barcelona and the islands of Hawaii.

  • Mike Gothard says:

    Took my first trip out of the US to the Dominican Republic. Went with our church to do some missions work with a local Dominican pastor who we support. It was one of the best experiences in my life to date!

  • Ladyexpat says:

    This year I was in Myanmar (month of January); Taiwan X2 (including 3 weeks of house sitting my friends 7 dogs); Malaysia (Penang and Langkawi); Thailand X 2 (
    Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Koh Chang). The one new country for me in 2009 was Myanmar.
    I’m happy with what I did travel wise in 2009.

    BTW……………..I’d like to be 31 again 🙂

  • Graham says:

    Not far this year – just explored more of my home state of Western Australia. I visited some out of the way, tiny places where few people think of going, and found joy in the unexiting and overlooked.

    Travelling far is great, but when the budget gets downsized its nice to know the pleasures of exploring new places can be experienced locally too.

  • Laura Cococcia says:

    Hey Chris – thanks for the roundup…always great to see & read what you’re up to and where you’ve been. 2009 seems like it was a fab adventure.

    This past year was Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, London … and a number of small domestic trips. Probably a less exciting travel year than previous years (in terms of trip volume), but all of my experiences were great. Next up – Morocco and Geneva before June. I’d also agree with Graham on exploring locally – now that I’ve moved back to NYC, I’m trying to be a bit of a tourist and explore all the things I haven’t before.

  • Matt says:

    I live in Beijing too. (I hang out with Australian Nick from above). Love the site for the travel info and the do-it-yourself encouragement.
    This year my wife and I have been to Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang-mai, Koh Tao) and America x2 (L.A., Denver, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Eau Claire WI).

  • gavinmac says:

    I went to:

    Japan in January;
    Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria in February;
    Cambodia and Thailand in April;
    Guatemala in May;
    Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia in August;
    Cambodia in October;
    and I will finish the year in Cambodia and Thailand before kicking off 2010 in Brunei and Bangladesh

  • Ann says:

    I spent 6 months living in London. While there I visited Wales, and the Cotswolds and Dorchester and some other areas of the British countryside. I had a ball. Other than that in 2009 the rest of my time has been spent in my usual locales: New York City, the Hamptons on Long Island, and Maine (I live in the first one and have family in the latter two).

    This year I hope to attend a friend’s wedding in Hong Kong. It’s very cool to hear about all of your travels. I would love to do more traveling in my lifetime. Right now my focus is on building my career here in NYC but I intend to continue to have travel be part of my lifestyle while I do that, and then hopefully when things are really underway I can do a whole lot more traveling.

    Thanks for your great blog, and Happy New Year!

  • Austin says:

    First – what an amazing list and year. Congratulations to you, Chris, on completing such a circuit and fulfilling so many goals.

    This year as a college student without conscious grandiose travel plans like I have now:

    New Orleans LA
    Taiwan (Various cities and regions)
    Penghu Islands, Taiwan
    Harbin, China
    Xiamen, China
    Beijing, China

    thanks to you, Mr. Guillibeau, I now have grandiose travel dreams and will try and up this a good bit for 2010.

  • Kylie says:

    2009 has found me half-way through my year in Tehran, Iran. I just returned from a short trip to Turkey.

    I don’t know where I’m headed next, but there’s more adventures to be had, I’m sure. Travelling really does show you a lot about yourself.

  • Lisa Capehart says:

    Amazing year for you, Chris! My only trip this year was early in the year (January) to two of my favorite places in the States – Jackson, WY and Virginia City, MT. Both have beautiful scenery and friendly people. My fiancé and I met up with my son and had a great week of snowmobiling and just spending time around the fireplace. I’d also love to travel abroad, but would love to visit all 50 states as well. Thanks for your continuing inspiration!

  • Johannes says:

    I went to my dream destination this year: Antarctica! See the pictures on my website. I also went to Argentina, Chili, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, France this year.

  • Shawn M. Rill says:

    I lived in Bangkok, Thailand from January 2009 until late November 2009. In Thailand I visited Krabi, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Phrae, and Chiang Rai during that time. I also got to visit Penang, Malaysia and Singapore. I walked into Myanmar (Burma) for about ten minutes for a visa run but I’d like to go back to explore Myanmar some, go to Laos and Cambodia, travel through Malaysia and back to Singapore, and spend some more time at the islands in Thailand (Ko Tao, Ko Samui, Ko Chang, Ko Samet).

    I also want to go to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau after studying Mandarin Chinese to a greater extent and to one day study Aikido in Japan and Modern Arnis in the Philippines.

  • Sarah Tatoun says:

    Copenhagen twice (once with my husband for our 15th anniversary), Hamburg (I think also twice but I can’t remember), London, Vienna and Krakow. Then came the big one: the trans-siberian journey I’ve been dreaming of for over 20 years! We started in St. Petersburg and from there went to Moscow, Suzdal, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Irkutsk and Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal. This was all by train (with the exception of a few bus side-trips)– almost all third class sleeper. From there we went to Mongolia, where we had a 5 day trek (it was getting cold, otherwise it would have been longer). Then on to China– Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Kunming. We had planned to spend some time in Yunnan province, which everyone raved about, but it was too cold, so we caught a flight to Vientiane, Laos, and out of Laos from Luang Prabang to Hanoi. From there to Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Saigon. From Saigon we caught a bus to Phnom Penh and then went to Angkor Wat. Best trip EVER! Truly!

  • Jennifer Moore says:

    Chris, I’ve told you this before: You are an inspiration! Your stories–good and bad–are so gripping. You write very well. Also, as a frugalista myself, I’m impressed that you have done what you have this past year for only about $1100/month. For some people, ONE TRIP would cost them at least that, so kudos there! There are so many options for frugal travel and frugal lodgings. I’ll bet you could cut your bills even further, if you had to.

    I also count you very fortunate that you are able to live this way. I get to experience the world vicariously via your stories, and that’s OK with me, for now. My own situation does not allow for much travel, and going out of the US would be very difficult and expensive for me and my boyfriend. We have arrangements we’d have to make for care of our home and pets, for instance.

    That said, we usually go to New England at least once a year to visit my boyfriend’s family. We spend a week, more if we are able. I enjoy it very much…

  • Jennifer Moore says:


    In addition to that, we try to take a 3-day weekend and go to a B&B somewhere within a couple of hours of our home in Maryland every February. That’s our (dating) anniversary. We go to the mountains or the Eastern Shore of Maryland. These weekends are very tranquil, and as a bonus, they usually yield some photos that I put up for sale.

    Happy holidays! Looking forward to following your blog further!

  • Jennifer Moore says:

    @Scott Bravard: I’m really glad that your visit to DC was a good one. I grew up in this area, and I consider myself a Washingtonian, rather than a Marylander. (I live in Maryland.)

    DC is truly a magical city, on so many levels. It is a beautiful place. 🙂

  • Darren Alff says:

    This year I spent 9 months traveling through Europe on my bicycle (and working remotely as I hopped about).

    I biked through Switzerland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey.

    I’m currently planning my travels for the coming year. After such a great year of travel in 2009, there’s no way I’m staying at home and sitting on my butt in 2010.

  • Misty says:

    I started out the year in Minnesota, where I grew up, and moved to Florida in March. In September, I traveled with my boyfriend and his parents to St. Louis, MO, by car. His parents live in Georgia, so we were there a few times, and once drove across the Savannah River into South Carolina.

    This morning we arrived home from a road trip to Minnesota to see my family for the holidays (and where it will be snowing very heavily over the next few days, so I’m glad we went early). We drove through several states on the way up, and altered our route back to change it up a bit.

    2010 should see us going to Canada, which will be my first international trip. My boyfriend is a seasoned traveler, having grown up as an “Army brat.”

  • Tanya Monteiro says:

    Based myself in Estoril Portugal in 2009
    March = NC, DC, NYC, Phoenix,
    July = Hamburg
    April, Aug & Oct = London
    December = London, Singapore, Brisbane and Sydney
    2010 will see me in a minimum of 10 different Countries. Thanks for making me recap!

  • Charlotte says:

    Since I’m saving up to move and live in Spain for a year (fingers crossed), I’ve tried to save instead of travel in 2009. I did take a trip to Washington D.C. with my dad, who had never been there before and LOVED it, went to San Francisco several times and went to Lamoille Canyon, outside of Elko, Nevada for a work event. Lamoille Canyon is a quiet version of Yosemite. Beautiful!

  • Jonathan says:

    Last March, I touched down in Asia for my first time. I flew to Hong Kong and stayed over at a friend’s place for the 8 or 9 days that I was in Asia. I visited Shenzhen, China, for a day as well as Macau. For the rest of the time, I was in Hong Kong. I visited the Lantau Island, Aberdeen, Stanley, Sai Kung, as well the central areas of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

    Last May/June, I visited the final province of Canada that I have not visited: Newfoundland. I went there for a 2 or 3-day conference and had two days to visit around the old town of St. John’s and parts of the Avalon peninsula.

    Last July and August, I did a bunch of local trips in southern Ontario: a weekend in Stratford, a cave call Hell Holes, another cave call Warsaw Caves, and two beaches near my home.

  • Karen Bowden says:

    In 2009 I went to New Orleans, Louisiana and Dayton, Ohio. I *highly* recommend the Dayton International Airport. I don’t have the opportunity to travel a lot but I have been to several airports both domestic and abroad and DIA is the best. IMHO they should win some type of award! Near the baggage claim area they have food kiosks so while you are waiting for your ride to arrive you can get something to eat.

  • Josie says:

    My husband and I traveled overland from Lima to Buenos Aires (through Bolivia) over 3 months. Now we’re gearing up to move to Japan in about a month!

  • Laura says:

    Made my first two international trips this year. Dream-come-true for me – since I was little, I wanted to travel like my mom did.

    I spent two weeks in South Korea (Seoul) and four months in Europe (studying). I lived and travelled in Spain (Sevilla, Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Carmona, Aracena, Valencia, Cordoba) while also making stops in Italy (Rome), France (Paris) and Portugal (Lagos).

    Thanks for the inspiration this year!

  • David Askaripour says:

    Here’s my list: Buenos Aires and Uruguay for a total of about 9 months away from my home in New York. Traveling, learning Spanish, partying, relaxing, building my online business… now back in New York, relaxing, talking about crazy stuff on my website.

    Thanks for allowing me to share,
    Dave 🙂

  • Gloria says:

    My husband and I spent 9 weeks beginning in Hong Kong, China, Tibet, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam. We have visited 40 countries. BTW, we are both in our late 50’s and still working at the same jobs we have had for close to 40 years but would love to give it up and do what you are doing. We think it is never too late!

  • ed lewis says:

    San Juan 2x
    Vieques, PR 12x
    Toronto 2x
    Jackson, MS
    Charleston, SC

  • Stephen Hamilton says:

    In 2009, I managed to get to New Zealand twice. The south island is beautiful! It isn’t far from where I live in Australia, I guess,but I am looking forwarding to getting to Fiji again this coming year.

  • Wyman says:

    All domestic: Nevada, Calif., Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon. Not very impressive except for the great family members we visited. We take care of my wife’s’ 93 year old mother so harder to get away for now. Have to count on her brother and sister coming for a few weeks to watch her. Up until two years ago she traveled with us.

    We still have memories of living in Beirut, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and American Samoa. We had a better experience in Saudi Arabia than you did Chris. Say a lot of ancient history and good Arab friends. 50’s were a great time. I spent three days in Rome on my way home from High School.

    I love to hear about your adventures.

  • Jim Murphy says:

    Love the articles Chris! You’re an inspiration. I look forward to the rest of the harder to reach countries.

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