2015 Annual Recap

2015: 58 countries, 66 flights, 16 long distance ships/ferries, 32 car rental, over 30,000 km driven. The year began with a climb of Mt. Kenya, second highest mountain peak on the African continent – seeing the sun rise while standing on the equator in deeply freezing air was surreal. An in-depth exploration of Kenya’s wildlife parks yielded the big five and tons of other African animals. Next was eye-to-eye encounter with gorillas in Rwanda, climbing Niarongongo volcano with a lava lake in Congo and more gorilla trekking, a trip to Burundi, and a full exploration of Uganda with lions, chimps, and more gorillas. A week-long trekking in the Rwenzori mountains and a climb to the third-tallest peak in Africa. After all this equatorial climate, it was time to switch to the frozen lands of near-Arctic circle Norway for the incredible show of aurora borealis, icy landscapes, and reindeer. Quick three-day stopover in NYC and back to Europe to ski and explore the Alps in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France (and throw in Hungary). After that, it was a perfect timing to fly and witness the unique phenomenon of a complete solar eclipse in the Faroe Islands (absolutely incredible), and also roam the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Another NYC stop and on to the Caribbean to explore Cayman Islands, Haiti, Turks & Caicos. Cuba was an absolute highlight and a must-see before things change from being lost in a time-warp to the present-day reality. Beach and sun called for a contrast, and next was weeks of Arctic Canada, witnessing the caribou migration, fishing the arctic char, and riding snowmobiles across frozen lakes and tundra. Canadian Rockies and Icefields parkway followed next. Then it was time to fly to the old continent, a brief hello to Iceland, and onto Greenland for an experience of a lifetime with huge skyscraper-sized icebergs, vast frozen landscape of endless glaciers, and super cute Greenlandic huskies. The following two months was a massive counter-clockwise roadtrip adventure around entire Europe. Starting from Amsterdam, then hopping to white chalky coast England to Channel islands of Guernsey/Jersey, a hop to the Isle of Man, then back to mainland through France and Spain to Ibiza for a mandatary annual clubbing pilgrimage. The drive continued through southern France, alpine Switzerland and Austria. A short flight to Moldova and the breakaway republic of Transdnistria, and then back on the drive to the Eastern Europe – Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia (re-living the childhood experience of the Baltic states exploration), Aland Islands, Sweden, Denmark and back to mainland in Germany. A solid exploration of the central Europe in Germany/France/Switzerland with the historic towns, wine regions, and incredible food to finish the Europetrip in Milan for the Milan Expo 2015. Next was the Middle East, starting in Cyprus and Northern Cyprus, and then Lebanon, Israel (driving on every possible drivable road in the entire country), and an overland trip to Jordan. North Africa was next with the Pharaonic wonders of Egypt, mosaics of Tunis, desolation of Western Sahara and Mauritania, and in-depth exploration of Morocco. Back to NYC and a small trip to Bermuda. An awesome year of exploration, learning, and experiencing new things and places, meeting amazing people and establishing lasting friendships.