Wrapping Up Round the World #6

One Foot Island Aitutaki Cook Islands

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It all started with a snow storm.

Back on that fateful night of January 9th, my Santiago-bound flight sat for hours on the runway at Hartsfield with nothing but white outside the windows. I wondered whether I would even make it to Chile to start my 6th annual round the world trip.

Luckily, we made it out that night and it was a good omen for what turned out to be an incredible trip. South America, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Mexico and the ever-incredible South Pacific.

14 countries in 5 ½ weeks, my longest trip yet and without a doubt one of my favorite. If you’ve missed any of the posts along the way, here they are again:

Stop 1 – De-Icing in Chile

Stop 2 – America’s Southernmost Capital – Montevideo, Uruguay

Stop 3 – Cyprus:  Aphrodite’s Divided Isle

Stop 4 – Destined for Laos

Stop 5 – Two Massages, A Fish Spa & a Pharmacy:  An Ode to Bangkok’s Khao San Road

Stop 6 – Monkey Business in Borneo

Stop 7 – The Micro-Nation of Brunei

Stop 8 – Underwater in the Philippines

Stop 9 – Wowed by Palau

Stop 10 – Here Today, Guam Tomorrow

Stop 11 – Always Perfect Auckland

Stop 12 – The Cook Islands:  Tahiti Without the French

Stop 13 – Needing More of Moorea

Stop 14 – A Whale Tale from Cabo

It’s been one heck of a run. My country count is now up to 89 and I’m determined to break 100 this year! What an amazing milestone that will be…imagine, 100 countries! Wow.

Looking back on RTW #6, I definitely have a few new favorites. I’d say the 2 major highlights were Laos and the Cook Islands, especially Aitutaki. Aside from my day trip to Aitutaki, swimming in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake was probably my single favorite activity.

My biggest disappointment was definitely the Philippines – not because I didn’t like the country but because the awful weather kept me from getting to see it. I’ll be back. And I’d love to see Palau again with some sunshine. Now that Delta flies there, maybe I will!

I realized after I got home that I bought almost nothing on the entire trip, now that’s a first! Just a few souvenirs: earrings and a bracelet from Laos and a picture frame from the Cook Islands. Two places where I just had to have something to remember them by.

As for the other countries, my photos and my memories are all I need. Seems the more I’ve traveled, the less I feel the need to buy souvenirs. It’s actually kind of freeing (certainly for my luggage, anyway).

It’s been strange to be home for the past week. Trying to re-adjust to normal life after so many weeks of the nomadic life is a challenge. I’m happy to be home, but I’ve already started planning my next trip (well, TRIPS to be exact!).

There will definitely be a mid-year edition of RTW in 30 Days – though, like the last two summers, it’s likely to focus on one area of the world – I’m thinking Eastern Europe. I’d really like to make it back to Greece this summer and that would put me in the right neighborhood to bounce around the continent for a while. Hmmm….

But I digress!! Thanks to all who followed along this year. I loved all of the comments and enthusiasm over the course of the trip.

It’s pretty safe to assume there will be a big summer trip somewhere in the world in a few months and, of course, Round the World #7 is a sure thing.

Til next time!