I’m not a novice when it comes to world travel. In 1977, I was almost 6 when I made my first trip abroad. My Dad was studying for his doctorate degree at Cornell University, and the rest of the family (me, my Mom and my younger brother) were flying from Manila to New York to join him.
Back then in the Philippines, any trip, particularly one to America, was a big deal. I have a very vivid memory of us walking across the tarmac. We were all wearing our best clothes and my Mom was holding both of our hands tightly. A large group of our relatives had come to see as off, and as we climbed the steps to the plane, tearful goodbyes were exchanged. As we took our seats, I remember getting excited at the thought of seeing my Dad again, and of the adventure that awaited us.
Since that first flight almost 40 years ago, I’ve always looked forward to the next plane ride, the next destination, the next adventure. Having lived and worked outside the Philippines for most of my adult life, I now have 3 nationalities, as British and American citizenships and those all-important passports were added along the way. Besides regularly visiting family and friends back home in the Philippines and the UK, my career has taken me overseas quite frequently and most vacations find me exploring some new part of the world.
Recently, I decided to see how many countries and territories I’ve visited so far. Using the list published by the Traveler’s Century Club, a nonprofit social organization representing world travelers who have visited 100 or more of the world’s countries and territories, I found that my total is currently 63 (see Travels page). Being someone who has always liked to set myself goals, I found myself looking again at the list of countries that I’ve yet to visit. Seeing that I only need to visit another 37 countries to reach my own travel century, I started thinking about the places I could see, and the adventures I could have. I felt myself getting excited and feeling alive. Was all this midlife travel just a pipe dream, or would I be brave enough to do something about it?