My Country Visits in 2011

Overview of 2011 International Travel

In 2011, I completed my visits to all 193 UN countries. This is a major accomplishment. See my UN journey.

The Travelers Century Club made me a Diamond Member; I have visited 312 of the 321 countries on their list.

I moved up on the leaderboard of MostTraveledPeople.com. At the end of 2011, I was ranked #4 in the world.

I met the Prime Ministers of Norway and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

In August 2011 and in September 2011, I made my 4th and 5th circumnavigations. I visited the South Pole on the 100th anniversary of its discovery on December 14, 1911 by Norwegian Roald Amundsen. My grandfather, Carl Anderson, was also born in Norway. To celebrate, I made 100 circumnavigations on December 14, 2011. This took me about 2 hours. My task was made easier by a stake that marked the exact position of the South Pole on December 14. Read my South Pole trip report.

I continue to be an active Life Member of the Circumnavigators Club and an officer in the Chicago chapter.

Finally, I would report that I visited Abbotabad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was killed, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11/2001. Read about my connection to Ground Zero.

Highlights of 2011 International Trips

I made 8 major international trips in 2011:

  • 1. Far East Pacific in January
  • 2. Mexican & French Pacific in April
  • 3. Russia & the Caucasus in April and May
  • 4. North Atlantic Trips in June and July
  • 5. Circumnavigation (Caucasus & Asia) in August
  • 6. Circumnavigation (Pakistan & Pacific) in September
  • 7. Iraq & Africa in November
  • 8. Antarctica Expedition in December
I spent over 5 months outside the United States. Some of the highlights listed below are personal and some are recommendations for other travelers.

1. Pacific trip highlights:

2. Mexican & French Pacific cruise highlights:

3. Russia & the Caucasus (plus Belgium) trip highlights:

4. Highlights of North Atlantic trips:

  • In Iceland, I went horseback riding at the same place I did in 1977, but this time my horse fell TWICE throwing me on the ground, cutting my hands. Scary!
  • Toured the delightful, small-scale Faroe Islands with grass-roofed houses.
  • Marvelled at the Harpoon throwing demonstration from a kayak in Greenland.
  • Talked to a French women visiting Greenland. Her father visited Clipperton Island when he was in the Navy. I am the only other person she knows who has been to Clipperton.
  • Enjoyed a bike tour of Bermuda. Learned all houses are build to withstand 400 kph (250 mph) winds.
  • Bermuda has unique limestone roofs designed to purify rainwater that is then collected in cisterns under the houses. No piped water.

5. Circumnavigation (Caucasus & Asia) trip highlights:

  • Visited Vladikavkaz with its unique "flat" traffic signals.
  • Visited the new enclave of South Ossetia via the Roki tunnel where border guards shared their delicious summer pirog made out of the leaves of beets.
  • Revisited my favorite minaret in the world, the incomparable Kalon Minaret in Bukhara.
  • Toured the delightful Itchan Kala in Khiva, Uzbekistan.
  • Toured Korea's Jeju Island including its famous lava tubes.
  • Toured Seoul to see how it changed from 1980 when I worked there for a total of 3 months re-shaping Korean telecommunications.
  • Visited famous historic places like Jongmyo Shrine and Hwaseong Fortress in Korea.
  • Experienced the vastness of Mongolia while being driven on the ground. Most roads are unpaved.
  • Sleeping in a ger and watching while a ger was reassembled helped me understand nomadic life.
  • Riding a two-humped camel (much easier than one-humped) and holding an eagle were wonderful experiences in Mongolia.
  • Toured the world famous Potala Palace fulfilling a goal of over 50 years. It is a special place.
  • I visited the UN World Heritage site where Peking Man was discovered.

6. Circumnavigation (Pakistan & Pacific) trip highlights:

7. Iraq & Africa trip highlights:

  • Experienced the wonderful airport lounge of Turkish airlines in Istanbul with its high-tech player piano.
  • Impressed by the progress in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq. Can fly to without a visa.
  • Drove thru dozens of checkpoints on a day trip to Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers always happy to be in a photo with me. Always treated well at checkpoints. An American passport was a positive.
  • Iraqi army had closed the UN World Heritage Site of Hatra and we were prevented from seeing it.
  • The UN World Heritage Site of Ashur was fascinating. I logged 35 checkpoints returning to Erbil.
  • In Algiers, I stayed in part of Eisenhower's suite during WWII in the atmospheric El Djazair hotel.
  • Seeing the 2,700 km (1,600 mile) long sand wall ("Wall of Shame") separating Western Saraha from the partially-recognized Sharawi-controlled Free Zone.
  • Seeing the refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria and meeting the Prime Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
  • Amazed by the progress in Angola. Saw a unique indoor-outdoor movie theater built 60 years ago.
  • Charter flight to the difficult to visit island of Annobon, part of Equatorial Guinea.

8. Antarctica Expedition highlights (Read my trip report):

  • Spent 3 nights in an unheated tent at the South Pole at 9,300 feet or 2,800 meters.
  • Made 100 circumnavigations on the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the South Pole.
  • Met the Prime Minister of Norway after his speech at the South Pole on the anniversary.
  • Talked to a man who got Amundsen's watch from his grandfather, a member of the expedition.
  • Was photographed holding Amundsen's watch which was at the South Pole 100 years earlier.

Travelers Century Club Initial Visits in 2011

The table summarizes the 22 TCC countries I visited for the first time in 2011. The 3 UN member countries are bolded. From the CIA web site 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.

In 2011, I completed my visits to all 193 UN countries. See my UN journey.

Click to see my master list of visits to 312 of the 321 TCC countries.

 
TCC
Region
My
#
TCC Country Visited Country Info Life
Exp
Literacy
Rate
Popu-
lation
Area
(sq km)
GDP/
Capita
Pacific 291  Nauru cia, wiki, map 65.4 96.0 9K  21  $5,000 
292  Kiribati cia, wiki, map 64.4 95 100K  616  $6,200 
293  Chatham Islands wiki, map 77 98 650  966  $20,000 
294  Niue cia, wiki, map 65 95 1311  260  $5,800 
295  Wallis & Futuna Is. cia, wiki, map 79 50 15K  142  $12,640 
296  New Caledonia cia, wiki, map 76.8 96.2 256K  19K  $15,000 
297  Line/Phoenix Islands cia, wiki, map 64.4 95 100K  616  $6,200 
Atlantic 298  Faroe Islands cia, wiki, map 79.7 99 49K  1.4K  $32,900 
299  Greenland cia, wiki, map 71 100 58K  2.2M  $36,500 
300  Bermuda cia, wiki, map 80.7 98.0 69K  54  $69,900 
Asia 301  Jeju Island wiki, map 79.1 97.9 532K  1.8K  $30,000 
302  Mongolia cia, wiki, map 68.3 97.8 3.1M  1.6M  $3,600 
303  Tibet wiki, tmap 74.7 92.2 3.0M  1.2M  $2,400 
Pacific 304  Marquesas cia, wiki, map 77.1 98.0 8.6K  1.0K  $18,000 
Africa 305  Angola cia, wiki, map 38.8 67.4 13.3M  1.2M  $8,200 
Antarctic 306  Chilean South Pole wiki, map          
307  Argentine South Pole wiki, map          
308  Falkland Is. Depend. cia, wiki, map          
309  Norwegian Antarctic cia, wiki, map          
310  Australian Antarctic cia, wiki, map          
311  French Antarctic cia, wiki, map          
312  New Zealand South P. wiki, map          
 

MostTraveledPeople.com Initial Visits in 2011

MostTraveledPeople.com builds on the TCC base of 321 countries by adding the states or provinces of large countries and remote islands with the goal of having the most comprehensive list of places (872) for the serious traveler to visit.

In 2011, I moved up on the leaderboard of mosttraveledpeople.com to rank #4. My name and travel statistics are listed on their main page. I visited an impressive 60 MTP locations in 2011 for the first time.

 
Country or
TCC Region
MTP Count
Total = 60
MTP Locations Visited in 2011
Pacific 13  8 TCC Countries above (Nauru, Kiribati, Chatham Islands, Niue, Wallis & Futuna Islands, New Caledonia, Line/Phoenix Islands, Marquesas) + 5 MTP locations: Santa Cruz Island, South Island, Clipperton, Loyalty Islands, Austral Islands
North America 1  Revillagigedo Islands (My final MTP location in North America)
Russia 18   Altai Krai, Altai Republic, Khakassia Republic, Tuva Republic, Irkutsk Oblast, Buryatia Republic, Zabaykalsk Krai, Amur Oblast, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, Magadan Oblast, Chukotka Okrug, Kamchatka Krai, Primorsky Krai, Sakhalin Island, Kuril Islands, Sakha Republic, Ingushetia
Asia 8  3 TCC Countries above (Mongolia, Jeju Island, Tibet) + 5 MTP locations: Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenia), Ajaria (Georgia), South Ossetia (Georgia), Karakalpakstan (Uzbekistan), Upper Mustang Kingdom (Nepal)
Atlantic 3  3 TCC Countries above (Faroe Islands, Greenland, Bermuda)
Pakistan 5  5 MTP locations: Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Africa 5  1 TCC Country above (Angola) + 4 MTP locations: Free Zone (Sahrawi-Controlled), Principe, Annobon, Rio Muni
Middle East 1  Iraq
Antarctica 6  6 TCC locations above (Argentine Antarctica, Australian Antarctic Territory, Chilean Antarctic Territory, Adelie Land, Ross Dependency, British Antarctic Territory) Note: terminology differs a bit from TCC and Queen Maud Land was not counted.