I launched my website one year ago on 31.12.2014 from Beijing. Since then, I have traveled more than in any other year before. I have been on all continents within one year and most importantly, finally managed to travel in Australia. I flew more than 100.000 miles and traveled to 22 countries, 15 were new for me. This takes my country count up to 68 out of 196.
Reminiscing about this year, I actually can’t believe what I’ve seen and done in one year. I’ve done small weekend trips, road trips, big month-long trips, some 2-3 week trips, including the one I’m right now on, in the middle of the bush in Botswana, where I hope the wifi won’t smash to upload the post before it actually is 2016. Might just be my best year in travel so far.
I took a total of 41 flights on 18 different airlines, spend several days or nights at airports and I wouldn’t want to miss a second of it. I planned to reach the #70, but since I traveled around Australia quite a long time and didn’t want to just pass by quick, I knew I wouldn’t reach it this year yet. Which is good for now, because I got amazing journeys coming up and I plan to reach #85-90 by end of 2016, depending, like always, on money, time and error fares.
Reflecting on this year’s travel I gathered my highlights and favourite experiences. I have a few goals I want to reach every year and in 2016 I try to set the bar higher than ever. First of all, I want to write more. This might be the easiest one of all. But furthermore, I want to take my website to the next level and reach even more people. I still can’t believe I have readers from at least 4 continents everyday and I want to make sure it stays that way. I want to find a way to reach an even broader audience and put more content and pictures out there. Therefore I will do more, write more and generally be more active on my instagram feed. (Follow me @maxaroundtheglobe)! I hope I can score some amazing partnerships this year as well and it might happen sooner than expected (but nothing I can tell you yet. ;-))
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know, you’re awesome for following me so far on my quest to all 196 countries and I hope you stay on board.
Regarding my travel plans in 2016 I got a few journeys already lined up, some countries in preparation (mainly eastern europe) and a few I’m thinking about (Western Africa / Pakistan etc.). I will start this year with a killer trip to The Seychelles, then in February I teamed up with “Marvels Of Iran” to travel around Iran and get to know the rich persian culture and see a country, which is just about to open up more and more. I’m really excited about this trip!
Until summer I have nothing specific planned yet, but I definitely want to see my remaining countries in Eastern Europe. The biggest trip I have in store this year will be to South America, but I’m not sure yet what I want to do and where to go exactly, just some ideas for now.
Oh and I always pick out one place, that I definitely want to see each year. Last year it’s been Australia and for 2016 it’s Iceland and if the chance arises see the northern lights.
Here are my favourite travels of 2015:
I started 2015 with Victoria in China’s capital. Beijing is bloody cold that time of the year and we had to wear several layers of clothes each day, but nonetheless we had an amazing time in and around Beijing. My highlight of this trip definitely has to be the Great Wall of China. Take a look at my articles from this trip here.
The weekend in Belgium goes down in history books for overdosing on Frits, Waffles & Beers. This stuff is Belgium’s hottest offer and we surely did enough research to say: Go visit Brussels, Bruges and all its lovely small towns and try it all!
This was my first trip I’ve ever taken with my younger brother Vincent. We spend 4 days in this amazing city and couldn’t have loved it more. Despite being there in the Russian winter and conquering temperatures in the double figures below zero, we’ve seen a fair bit of the city. My highlight is definitely the famous Eremitage, considered to be the largest art gallery in the world.
Read here about our trip (with Pink Floyd)
I was not sure, if I should add Oman on this list, because Victoria and me had mixed experiences in this country on the Arabic peninsula. On the one side, we had an Emergency landing on Muscat Airport, which left us terrified. But on the sunny side, we enjoyed our visit to Oman and I consider it one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The incredible desert valleys (Wadi) offer other-worldly hikes and scenery as beautiful as it gets. Take a look!
…and if you really want to know about our terrifying flight experience, find it here!
Well, this is a no-brainer. While travelling around Queensland we went on a 3-day sailing cruise around the Whitsunday Islands. Whitehaven Beach ranks among world’s absolute best beaches, the white sandbanks in between were just from another galaxy. It’s that good. The waters are crystal clear and dozens of small rays and baby sharks company you around. Take a look here on how to visit the islands properly and see the pictures to kickstart your wanderlust for today.
I’m very happy, that I finally made it to my 6th continent and got to meet up with my friend Andrew again in Perth. He showed us a really good time and I definitely recommend to everyone who plans to travel Down Under to consider Western Australia, as it has amazing beaches and incredible things to do and is often overlooked by the hords of tourists heading solely to the east coast.
So here is why you shouldn’t skip Perth.
After endlessly backpacking around Middle East and Australia it was time to put our feet up and we headed to the amazing Tokoriki Island on the Fijis. My favourite experience from the south pacific was taking jet skis to the inhabited island of Monuriki, where the famous movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks was filmed. Felt unreal!
I was beyond excited to take on the overland route from Addis Abeba to Somalia and enroute my roommate Marco and me stopped in Harar, Eastern Ethiopia. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. While there we fed wild hyenas and explored one of the holiest towns in the world. See a video of us feeding wild hyenas here! and if you can’t get enough of beautiful Harar, like me, check out the pics here!
Overlanding to Hargeisa was quite an experience, even for savvy traveler it can be a bit challenging. One of the most amazing sites to see in East Africa are the neolithic cave paintings of Laas Geel. They are more than 7000 years old. Very very few people ever go there and it’s an other-worldly thing to see, as the site is absolutely brilliant preserved. Read about our time in one of world’s notorious countries here and see some pics.
Again my younger brother Vincent and me went out to explore some cool places. This time we went to the former yugoslav republic of Macedonia and the youngest country in the world, Kosovo. It is still a very different world and wandering the streets of Pristina, with recent history in mind, was quite an experience. Also see the best of Macedonia here.
This year has been amazing and I reckon 2016 will definitely live up to it! Get ready! Here’s to a new year packed with adventures, crazy places and many amazing people! Thank you for being part of my quest to travel to all 196 countries! Talk soon, max