My friend George and I have traveled a number of places around the world. It's a bit silly, but it's fun to count the number of countries you've been in. George is up to something like 60 countries at last count. If I count the number of countries I've been in at least overnight, then I have 30 plus the US: (it seems Monacco should count even though I didn't sleep there!)
I can add some more if you count day trips (like a few hours in Cartagena) and overseas territories (like Tahiti), but it's not clear whether these count in the "official" rules. :)
Here's a list of the major trips I've been on outside the US:
1988: Three week exchange trip to Vienna, Austria. My host family treated me like a king. They took me all around the city and country, and even arranged a two-day trip to Budapest in still-communist Hungary.
1989? A couple weeks family vacation, driving and castle-spotting throughout England.
1997? Christmas in St Kitts with my Moms. It's a beautiful pair of islands. The native population nominally speaks English, although we didn't understand a word of it most of the time! It was still very undeveloped at the time. We did a number of nice walks and hikes.
1998: Spring trip with George to Japan to see two of my future friends Jon and Michiko's wedding in Nagoya. (I'd never met them at the time -- Jon was George's friend -- but we've since become friends.) His wife, Michiko, planned everything perfectly, timing it to coincide with the cherry blossoms, and arranging tours around Kyoto and Nara and a trip out to Takayama.
1999: Summer trip with George to Barcelona, Provence, and northern Italy. It was pretty heavily centered around the table, but with occasional excursions to local sights thrown in for good measure. We also visited Emma, Zazoo, and a number of their friends in Lyon, and Annalisa in Turin, where another friend Klaus joined us for a few days.
1999-2000: The millennium cruise on the Queen Elizabeth II around the Caribbean. Thank god I didn't have to pay for that one! Picture the set of James Cameron's Titanic -- this wasn't far short. Boy was I out of my league. We stopped at Cozumel, Puerto Limon, Cartagena, Aruba, Granada, Barbados, St Vincent, St Maarten / St Martin, and maybe another island or two.
2000: Fall. With George, his mom, and our friend Sonia to Greece. We saw George's uncle and cousin in Athens, a couple of the islands (Mykonos and Santorini), and we did a tour of the Peloponnese. We stopped at a place called Prosilio near Sparta where George's grandmother was from. Everybody in the tiny town was able to trace their family relations to George and his Mom. We also visited their family church. I highly recommend a place called Monemvasia in the southeast of the Peloponnese: a sort of remote ville perche' on the Mediterranean.
2001: January. A few weeks in Chiapas, Mexico, and Guatemala with George, and two other friends Tim and Caroline. We saw Palenque, Bonampak (the place with the incredible colored murals they just discovered several years ago), Yaxchilan, and Tikal. Afterword we flew back from Flores to Club Med in Cancun. I'm not a party animal, so I didn't appreciate Club Med -- it also didn't help that George was sick the whole time we were there, as well. Here are some pictures.
2001-2002: December and January. A tour of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia with George, and at various times, Sonia and her son Cameron, Jon and Michiko, and Greg and An. Not an easy trip, but fascinating. The cultures of the four countries are so different. Americans should really see the DMZ and Hue in Vietnam. It's interesting to talk to the people around there: there are no hard feelings at all after these 30 some years. Here are a bunch of pictures.
2003: Two weeks in January with George in Tahiti, including stops on Moorea, Manihi, and remote Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas (where one of the Survivor series was filmed). The food is to die for -- a French or seafood-lover's dream! But be prepared -- it's nearly the most expensive place on Earth. (Norway is even worse.) Here are some pictures.
2003: Three months in Australia (in their autumn), mostly by myself. I spent a month cycling and hiking in Tasmania (here are some pictures), then met up with my friend Sham to climb at Arapiles and the Grampians in Victoria for another month. We included a quick trip to Sydney and the Blue Mountains where we met Sham's bizarre friend Jarah -- he's a string theorist, so he's expected to be eccentric, I guess. I cycled around Victoria and the Southern Alps the rest of the time I was there.
2003: Fall. A one month tour of Scandinavia with George. We saw Copenhagen and a fair bit of the countryside of Denmark (including one of the famous ancient "bog men"). We took a train through Oslo to Bergen, then did a cruise up the coast of Norway to Tromso to see the midnight sun. Then we took a train back down through Sweden to Stockholm. Plan on a lot of time to see Norway, and be prepared for it to be ridiculously expensive. Even to buy staples like bread and fruit. I highly recommend the Lofoten Islands -- absolutely stunning scenery, even by Norwegian standards. Here are a bunch of pictures.
2004: February and March. Two months in New Zealand. The first month I backpacked, tramped, and hitchhiked around the South Island, including Stewart Island. The scenery and hiking is every bit as impressive as you've heard. George came out for the second month and we did a full tour of both main islands by car. One month isn't nearly enough time to see it all. I give no general recommendations: it's all fantastic. Here are a bunch of pictures.
2005: May. A month tour with George from Greece up the Adriatic coast to Venice. In Greece we rented a car in Thessaloniki, saw Mt Olympus and the incredible Meteora monasteries, spent Greek Easter in the small mountain village Monodendri in the Zagoria region, and ended up in Corfu. We bussed through Albania and Montenegro to beautiful Dubrovnik, took a ferry to Trieste, drove around Slovenia, then finally took the train to Venice. Here are a bunch of pictures.
2006: October. A five week tour with George and my aunt Joye from Brazil to Chile. We took somewhere on the order of two dozen flights on various air passes all over creation, including Rio, the Amazon, Buenos Aires, Patagonia, and of course, Santiago. The "ecolodge" half a day out from Manaus was a remarkable little adventure. Iguassu Falls lives up to its reputation. The Valdes Peninsula on the coast of Patagonia, and the fabulous Cruce de Lagos across the Andes are both very highly recommended. While we found little to recommend in the "Guays", the charming Buenos Aires surpassed all expectations. Here are a bunch of pictures.