Coming back from my Iceland trip has been bittersweet. It was my first trip alone to a foreign country, and to be quite honest, I loved it. There is a feeling of freedom and sense of confidence and accomplishment that I never quite felt before. When I was commuting home from work yesterday, I thought of a new personal challenge for myself: 40 countries before 40. I have visited 11 and have 29 to visit in about 6 years. I do not think this is impossible at all, as many of the 29 countries on my list can be visited in one extended trip. I have loosely planned out regions such as the Baltics next spring and some Slavic countries in late summer. I am fairly certain I will not make it to any other countries by the end of 2015. I always have work travel in October and with the holidays (visiting a friend in Omaha for Thanksgiving and my parents in Florida for Christmas), international travel is not usually that easy that time of year.
Since I also like to run, I plan on tying some of these countries to marathons and half-marathons. I enjoy being active and running really is a great way to see a new place, challenge my body and mind, and work off those vacation beers and food. To date I’ve run three destination marathons: Florence in 2006, Reykjavik and Napa Valley in 2015 and Napa again in 2016. I am hoping to add a half next year at some point - I’m in the planning stages already.
Come with me on this journey.
Meanwhile, photos of Iceland and my favorite moments and recommendations are coming up later this week.