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State of travel 2017

Year 2017 continued the slowing trajectory established by the preceding year in terms of my travels. I again visited only 4 foreign countries (Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, France), two of those on intraday trips. Going by the methodology of the Travelers’ Century Club, which counts geographically segregated parts of a country as distinct entities, I actually added a new entry to my list of visited countries – Northern Ireland. Compare that to 2015 and the declining trend is obvious.

Relative paucity of overseas travel was slightly offset by the interstate trips that followed my middle daughter’s volleyball pursuits or explored potential destinations for her matriculation at an institution of higher learning. Aside from numerous visits to the neighboring Pennsylvania (including more overnight and day-trips to the city of Philadelphia than I had made in the prior 25 years combined) and Upstate New York, I set foot in almost all of New England states and for the first time ever ventured to Michigan.

I added 7 world heritage sites to my visited list, in two short bursts of activity. As they keep adding more sites to the registry every year, the list of not visited sites actually grows faster.

I suspect I am still in a top percentile of all Americans when it comes to the amount of travel. But I am none too happy with what I consider a relatively meager output according to my own standards.

The coming year offers mixed messages. There are already two fully booked trips on the cards in spring. Both are to countries that I visited many times in the past, albeit focused on heretofore unexplored locales. There is an outside chance of fitting half a dozen world heritage sites in those itineraries, but a firm commitment for only two.

Then, there is another not yet decided trip to a country that has long been near the top of my list to finally visit. It shapes up as an epic around-the-country type of a journey, which already causes a lot of excitement and anticipation in the family. But there are a couple of things that may prevent it from materializing. If that happens, I guess the silver lining is that I will have an opportunity to come up with alternatives for the second half of the year.

We’ll see how it goes. This space, as always, will be the eyewitness to whichever travel plans come to pass.

Following a new tradition, here is a baker’s dozen of my favorite photographs from the past year.

A woman on a bike in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Giant’s Boot, size 93.5, at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Shambles Square in Manchester, England.

The burial mound of Newgrange, Brú na Bóinne, Ireland.

Oscar Wilde Monument in Dublin, Ireland.

City of Philadelphia at sunset from Ben Franklin Bridge.

A tour boat on river Tarn, Albi, France.

Frescoes of Notre-Dame-du-Bourg, Rabastens, France.

Picture-perfect Camprodon, Catalonia, Spain.

Love locks on the Pont de les Peixateries Velles, Girona, Spain.

Inside Basilica de Sagrada Família, Barcelona.

The village of Cadaqués, Costa Brava, Spain.

Boats in Portlligat lagoon on Costa Brava, as seen from a window of the House-Museum of Salvador Dalí.