In the spring of 2005, I flew from Madrid, Spain, to New York, USA, from where I embarked on what would become a 6.5-years-continuous-around-the-world journey. My aim was to treat the world as a single destination, and to explore it as if it were one huge country. Moving westwards, I traversed and explored a big part of the six continents and the South Pacific. Above, you can see my travel route, and below, all the countries I’ve been to, in the order visited. Here are a few explanatory notes:
- The countries are listed in the order in which I visited them. Each country is followed by the total weeks (Wks) of my visit and the total weeks of exploration (Wks Expl). I made this distinction to illustrate the true exploration time, eliminating rest, errands, and planning weeks.
- The division of regions, although geographical, has a personal touch.
- For countries that I visited on two separate occasions, the total exploration days after the second visit are marked with an asterisk (*).
- Although the Galápagos Islands and Easter Island are not independent countries, I consider them destinations in their own right, due to their remoteness and their different history from their mother country. The same applies to Hong Kong and Macau.
- Tibet is meant to denote the Tibetan culture rather than the country, which is occupied by China. Tibet (I) is Ladakh in india, and Tibet (II) is the Amdo region in China, both of which are predominantly Tibetan.
- On two occasions, countries are in parentheses: At the end of my travels in South America, I had to backtrack to Santiago, Chile, in order to fly to Easter Island. I stayed in Santiago for five weeks to rest and plan my travels in the South Pacific. In the Philippines, I experienced an intense episode of accumulated fatigue, and backtracked to my favorite country in the region, Indonesia, in order to have a much needed rest of two months there.
- My four-month-long stay in Cyprus was due to my younger brother’s sudden death.
- Many important places that I had skipped, for example the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, most of Eastern Europe, and a big part of the Middle East, I had visited earlier in my life. I skipped Central Africa because, at the time, there were ongoing conflicts in many areas, the region had no tourist infrastructure – thus turning every exploration into a “mission” – and, finally, because I felt enervated.
Recently, my friend Louis Castellani had the idea of creating a video with travel quotes from my book. The composer Costas Cacoyiannis created the perfect music to accompany the words and images. Enjoy!