I’m obviously not a country counter. I traveled to a couple dozen destinations this year but didn’t go to a single country I haven’t visited before. That’s perfectly fine though since most countries have plenty to see and do beyond whatever you hit the first time.
After all, most people move way too quickly through Peru and only see a few highlights. Very few travelers get down to the Trang and Satun region of Thailand I visited after speaking at TBEX Asia. We probably only saw 20 other foreigners in the days my family spent in Real de Catorce, Mexico. There were even fewer in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere I’ve been wanting to visit for ages.
Since I spent the first seven months of the year living in Mexico, I spent a good bit of time traveling around there. I also went to Guatemala twice, producing this story from my first trip and then kicking back on Lake Atitlan during the second. When I put on my high-end travel hat I visited the Riviera Maya and Los Cabos. I also returned to Honduras again, but mainly to write about a new swanky resort.
I’m living in the USA now, after moving back to Tampa so my daughter could finish high school here and get a U.S. diploma instead of a small-city Mexican one. I hate paying twice as much money for everything (and five times as much for health care), but I do like being able to upload a video in four minutes instead of an hour. And it’s good to have 100+ kinds of beer to choose from just in the bars that are walking distance from my condo. I get to see some of my relatives more and it was nice to drive to Fort Lauderdale for TBEX North America.
I think I wrote some good articles this year and got this one onto the online site of one of my favorite magazines, Outside: Waterfall Jumping is the New Cliff Diving. My book A Better Life for Half the Price has done well in direct sales and even better as a paperback, selling more than 100 copies a month all year. From the e-mails I get, I know it’s changing lives for the better after nudging people to make the leap to moving abroad to some of the cheapest places to live.
All in all, it was a good travel year. My two highlights? The Lares Adventure tour I took through the mountains of Peru, and the Baja Adventure trip I got to go on thanks to the Adventure Travel Trade Association.
This was a terrific year to be a traveler from the USA thanks to a strong greenback and 2016 looks to be bringing more of the same.
What’s up next? I’ve got a second edition of Travel Writing 2.0 coming out in January and…I may even put a new country stamp or two in my passport.