Since I first started international travel in 2006, every year has been like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle of the globe. Each year I get a little closer to completing the puzzle. But as October draws to a close, I stopped and realized today how different this year has been.
I consider visiting new countries to be one of the greatest joys in life. Every year I make it a point to visit a new country. At least one. Often many, many more. My record remains 2011, the year I visited 42 countries.
But with only 24 hours in a day, sometimes—some years—other priorities take precedence. This has been one of those years. My country count stood at 130 on January 1st and will likely end at the same number this year.
While I am a bit sad about this, I recognize it is the path I have chosen. I am thankful for that path, even as I miss the excitement of flying new airlines to new lands.
Operationally, I’ve only run into one extended delay this year. I consider myself fortunate for that. But time conflicts have forced to cancel nearly every single “review” trip I’ve booked (flying for the sake of flying). That included:
- Thai Airways First Class Trip to Australia and Mongolia
- South African Airways Trip to Mozambique and Senegal
- Gulf Air Trip Aboard New 787-9
- Delta Air Lines A350 Trip
- Korean Air First Class Trip
- Aeroflot Russian Airlines Trip
For now, I don’t book trips in the future. The nature of my daily schedule simply does not permit it. Oh, I’ve tried many new products this year. But I still have not been on vacation.
I’m not complaining. Instead, I’m building a business, serving my wife and raising a precious son. And it’s not like I haven’t traveled this year: I find myself on the road far more often than I like. But I keep telling myself this is for a season. It’s a necessary step. No pain, no gain, right? But boy could I use a flight just for the sake of a flying today.
How many new countries have you visited this year?