Achievement Unlocked! 10 New Countries

In the last seven months, we've visited ten countries. No, that's not some Herculean feat in today's highly connected world, but it's a milestone we're proud to celebrate. 

If you read our "late to the party" article on TravelSmith last month, you know that neither of us were huge travelers prior to this year. Occasional vacations north and south resulted in rather sparse passport jackets, collecting stamps from only Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Belize, and The Dominican Republic. (Wow. We totally look like drug kingpins. How did we not get flagged by Interpol?)

But this year, we've been on a tear:

  1. France (January)
  2. Denmark (February)
  3. Sweden (February)
  4. Germany (February)
  5. Belgium (February)
  6. England (March)
  7. Spain (April)
  8. Italy (May)
  9. Thailand (June)
  10. Myanmar (July)

Myanmar (you may know it as Burma, even though it's not called that any more) was our shortest visit, with just over an hour spent in-country. It also holds the honor of the most interesting way we've crossed the border: in a long-tail boat.

Long-tail boats are the de facto means of transportation in coastal areas of Thailand. These long, narrow, open-air craft don't look all that seaworthy, and we were advised to check the weather conditions before making the 40-minute journey. The Andaman Sea can get some pretty rough waves during the rainy season (which is now), making long-tail boats a little unsafe for border hopping. Not that 6 meter waves stop the Thai or Myanmar pilots of these craft, you understand. But they'll sure as hell stop us when there are much larger and safer watercraft available for about $20 US more. Then again, $20 US will buy us dinner for a week in Ranong, so we're not going to blow it if we don't have to! And of all the choices, the long-tail boat is clearly the most interesting, as you'll see in the video we recorded of our crossing.

Let's do the math: 5 countries previously visited, plus the 10 this year... add in the good old U.S. of A., leaving only 180 more to go before we can truly say we've seen the world. Guess we better figure out how to make this life of travel work for at least another year or two, huh?