My Country Visits in 2009

Overview of 2009 International Travel

In 2009, I became an Award member of the Travelers Century Club (TCC) and a Hall of Fame member of MostTraveledPeople.com (MTP).

My analysis shows that out of six billion people on planet earth, I am among the 100 most traveled people in the world applying either the TCC or MTP standard. In fact on MTP, I was ranked # 15 in the world on 12/15/09. To put that achievement in perspective, the person who is # 33 on MTP has visited all 192 UN countries and all 319 TCC countries. A couple of my suggestions for the excellent MTP website were implemented. Sign-up on MTP is free.

Here is a qualitative example: in 2009 I visited French Indian Ocean territory (Europa Island, Juan de Nova Island, Glorioso Islands, Tromelin Island) that President Sarkozy has not, Russian cities above the Arctic Circle (Norilsk, Dudinka), that Prime Minister Putin has not and American Pacific territory (Wake Island) that President Obama has not.

I continue to be an active Life Member of the Circumnavigators Club and an officer in the Chicago chapter. The Circumnavigator Log published a one-page article by me with 5 of my photos in 2009.

Highlights of 2009 International Travel

I made 6 major international trips in 2009:

  • 1. West Africa, the Atlantic & Europe in January and February
  • 2. The Arabian Gulf & Indian Ocean in March
  • 3. The Scattered French Islands in the Indian Ocean & Southern Africa in April and May
  • 4. Moldova, Ukraine, Russia & Siberia in August and September
  • 5. India & the Indian Ocean in November
  • 6. South East Asia, the Pacific & Japan in November and December
I spent a total of almost 6 months outside the United States. Some of the highlights listed below are personal and some are recommendations for other travelers.

Many photos from these 6 trips are in my Year in Review for 2009.

1. West Africa, the Atlantic & Europe trip highlights:

2. Arabian Gulf & Indian Ocean trip highlights:

3. Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses) and Southern Africa trip highlights:

  • The adventure of 4 weeks on the Marion Dufresne, a French research ship (I was the only American)
  • Gaining a new appreciation for the French people and culture - making new friends
  • Meeting Catherine who knows the lemur Caramel - on first day of voyage
  • The adventure of exploring 4 of the most difficult islands in the world to visit
  • Taking 20 helicopter flights from ship to islands and back
  • Swimming with a large turtle over 200 meters - he would sometimes turn and look at me
  • Seeing a turtle lay her eggs - a unique priviledge enhanced by moonlight
  • Seeing frigatebirds dive bomb and eat turtle hatchlings - one every 10 seconds
  • Saving a turtle hatchling from the frigatebirds
  • The shock of learning the motto of the French Foreign Legion ("Legio Patria Nostra")
  • Talking to an intensely patriotic soldier (Tony, a French soldier in the regular reserves)
  • Walking on board ship to get my steps (8 kilometer per day) - and explaining it to the French
  • Stone Town in Zanzibar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Learning how Zimbabwean currency died and was unofficially replaced by foreign currencies
  • Chance reunion with former Bell Labs colleague John Lurtz and his wife near Victoria Falls
  • My first ultralight flight - and it was over Victoria Falls
  • Beautiful grounds and architecture of Sun City, South Africa

4. Moldova, Ukraine, Russia & Siberia trip highlights:

5. India & the Indian Ocean trip highlights:

6. South East Asia, the Pacific & Japan trip highlights:

Travelers Century Club Initial Visits in 2009

The table summarizes the 56 TCC countries I visited for the first time in 2009. The 29 UN member countries are bolded. From the CIA website and Wikipedia, I gathered key data on these countries providing guesses where necessary. The data was color-coded to aid pattern recognition. I hope you find this insight-dense table an educational experience.

Click to see my master list of visits with reference links for all 319 TCC countries.

 
TCC
Region
My
#
TCC Country Visited Country Info Life
Exp
Literacy
Rate
Popu-
lation
Area
(sq km)
GDP/
Capita
Africa 205  Mali cia, wiki, map 50.4 46.4 12.6M  1240K  $1,200 
206  Burkina Faso cia, wiki, map 53.0 21.8 15.7M  274K  $1,200 
207  Niger cia, wiki, map 52.6 28.7 15.3M  1267K  $700 
Atlantic Ocean 208  Canary Islands wiki, map 80.0 97.9 2.1M  7.4K  $29,000 
209  Madeira Island wiki, map 78.2 93.3 246K  828  $18,000 
210  Azores wiki, map 78.2 93.3 243K  2.3K  $18,000 
Europe 211  Andorra cia, wiki, map 82.5 100 84K  468  $42,500 
212  Baleric Islands wiki, map 80.0 97.9 1.1M  5.0K  $29,000 
213  Corsica wiki, map 81.0 99.0 302K  7.4K  $30,000 
214  Sardinia wiki, map 80.2 98.4 1.7M  24K  $30,000 
215  Sicily wiki, map 80.2 98.4 5.0M  26K  $24,000 
216  Lampedusa wiki, emap          
Middle East 217  Kuwait cia, wiki, map 77.7 93.3 2.7M  17.8K  $57,400 
218  Bahrain cia, wiki, map 75.2 86.5 728K  741  $37,300 
219  Qatar cia, wiki, map 75.4 89.0 833K  11.6K  $110,700 
220  Oman cia, wiki, map 74.2 81.4 3.4M  310K  $20,200 
Indian Ocean 221  Seychelles cia, wiki, map 73.0 91.8 87.5K  455  $19,800 
222  Farquhar wiki, map 73.0 91.8 15  $18,000 
223  Mauritius cia, wiki, map 74.0 84.4 1.3M  2K  $12,200 
224  Rodriquez Island wiki, map 74.0 84.4 40K  42  $12,200 
225  Reunion wiki, map 76.0 95.0 827K  2.5K  $23,500 
226  Mayotte cia, wiki, map 62.9 65.0 234K  374  $4,900 
227  Comoros cia, wiki, map 63.5 56.5 752K  2.2K  $1,000 
228  Madagascar cia, wiki, map 62.9 68.9 20.6M  587K  $1,000 
Middle East 229  Yemen cia, wiki, map 63.3 50.2 23.8M  528K  $2,400 
Africa 230  Lesotho cia, wiki, map 40.1 84.4 2.1M  30K  $1,500 
231  Mozambique cia, wiki, map 41.1 47.8 21.6M  799K  $900 
232  Swaziland cia, wiki, map 31.8 81.6 1.1M  17.4K  $5,100 
233  Botswana cia, wiki, map 62.0 81.2 2.0M  582K  $13,900 
234  Namibia cia, wiki, map 51.2 85.0 2.1M  824K  $6,300 
235  Zambia cia, wiki, map 38.6 80.6 11.8M  753K  $1,500 
236  Malawi cia, wiki, map 43.8 62.7 14.3M  118K  $800 
237  Zanzibar wiki, map, map 52.0 69.4 1.0M  2.6K  $1,300 
Europe 238  Moldova cia, wiki, map 70.8 99.1 4.3M  34.0K  $2,500 
239  Trans Dniester wiki, map 70.8 99.1 537K  4.1K  $2,500 
Asia 240  Siberia wiki, map, map 66.0 99.4 36M  13M  $16,100 
Indian Ocean 241  Andaman-Nicobar Is. wiki, map 70.0 61.0 356K  6.5K  $2,900 
Asia 242  Sikkim wiki, map 70.0 61.0 540K  7.1K  $2,900 
Indian Ocean 243  Lakshadweep wiki, map 70.0 61.0 61K  32  $2,900 
Asia 244  Sri Lanka cia, wiki, map 75.1 90.7 21.3M  66K  $4,300 
Indian Ocean 245  Maldives cia, wiki, map 74.0 96.3 396K  298  $4,400 
Asia 246  Myanmar (Burma) cia, wiki, map 63.4 90.0 48.1M  677K  $1,200 
247  Cambodia cia, wiki, map 62.1 73.6 14.5M  181K  $2,000 
248  Laos cia, wiki, map 56.7 68.7 6.8M  237K  $2,100 
249  Brunei cia, wiki, map 75.7 92.7 388K  5.7K  $53,100 
250  Sabah wiki, map 73.3 88.7 3.4M  76K  $15,200 
251  Sarawak wiki, map 73.3 88.7 2.5M  124K  $15,200 
252  Kalimantan wiki, map 70.8 90.4 12.0M  400K  $3,900 
253  Sumatra wiki, map 70.8 90.4 45.0M  470K  $3,900 
254  Timor Leste cia, wiki, map 67.3 58.6 1.1M  14.9K  $2,300 
255  Sulawesi wiki, map 70.8 90.4 15.0M  175K  $3,900 
256  Maluku Islands wiki, map 70.8 90.4 2.0M  78K  $3,900 
257  Irian Jaya wiki, map 70.8 90.4 2.7M  421K  $3,900 
Pacific 258  Papua New Guinea cia, wiki, map 66.3 57.3 6.1M  463K  $2,200 
259  Wake Island cia, wiki, map          
260  Ryukyu Islands wiki, map          
 

MostTraveledPeople.com Initial Visits in 2009

MostTraveledPeople.com builds on the TCC base of 319 countries by adding the states or provinces of large countries and remote islands with the goal of having the most comprehensive list of places (773) for the serious traveler to visit.

Both extreme travelers and coach potatoes can join for free. I am an active member of MTP supplying a few posts and photos for the site and providing some design feedback.

I was astonished when I added up all of the places that I had visited in 2009 and got a total of 141.

 
Country or
TCC Region
MTP Count
Total = 141
MTP Locations Visited in 2009
Africa 14  SA Northwest Province, SA Cape Province + 12 TCC Countries above (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Lesotho, Mozambique,Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Zanzibar)
Atlantic Ocean 3  3 TCC Countries above (Canary Islands, Madeira Island, Azores)
Europe 14  Galicia, Euskadi, Catalonia, Llivia, Gagauzia, Crimea + 8 TCC countries above (Andorra, Baleric Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Lampedusa, Moldova, Trans Dniester)
Middle East 6  Ras Musandam + 5 TCC Countries above (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Yemen)
Indian Ocean 22  Aldabra Islands, Amirante Islands, Moroni, Moheli, Anjouan, Socotra, Europa Island, Juan de Nova Island, Glorioso Islands, Tromelin Island, Nicobar Islands + 11 TCC countries above (Seychelles, Farquhar Group, Mauritius, Rodriquez Island, Reunion, Mayotte, Comoros, Madagascar, Andaman Islands, Lakshadweep, Maldives)
Asia 16  Oecussi (Timor Leste), Mindanao (Philippines), Visayas (Philipines) + 13 TCC Countries above (Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Timor Leste, Sulawesi, Maluku Islands, Irian Jaya) Note: Siberia is TCC, but not MTP, and Sikkim is counted with other Indian States below.
Pacific Ocean 4  Daito Islands + 3 TCC countries above (Papua New Guinea, Wake Island, Ryukyu Islands [Okinawa])
Russia 31  Oblasts, Krais and Republics in sequence: Tver Oblast, Smolensk Oblast, Kaluga Oblast, Bryansk Oblast, Oryol Oblast, Kursk Oblast, Belgorod Oblast, Voronezh Oblast, Lipetsk Oblast, Tambov Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Tula Oblast, Perm Krai, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Tyumen Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast, Tomsk Oblast, Kemerovo Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Vladimir Oblast, Ivanovo Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Chuvashia, Mari El, Tatarstan, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Samara Oblast, Saratov Oblast, Penza Oblast, Mordovia
India 27  States in sequence: Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim, Bihar, Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Kerala, Karnataka
Japan 4  Regions in sequence: Tohoku, Kyushu, Chugoku, Shikoku