Itsukushima Shrine Japan

I had only visited 4 countries before I was 30. Our annual holidays were usually camping at the local seaside destination in the UK. The opportunities presented to us by making the decision to live abroad have been fantastic. The combination of being centrally located in the middle east, having school holidays as vacation time and having more disposable income means we have now have the chance to visit many more countries and have some amazing experiences.

I absolutely love it. The experiences we have had in places like Japan, Sri Lanka, Alaska & Malaysia make me feel extremely lucky and happy. I have really got the bug for travel, it is like an addiction. I now spend my free time planning our next adventure, in fact my new goal in life is to visit all 196 countries before my time is up.

Countries visited in the world
29 / 196 – life goal 14.8 % complete – updated 03/10/2019)

Countries List

Australia (Last Visit: August 2019)

If you like wildlife, this is the place to be. We toured for a month visiting Melbourne, Hobart, Gold Coast, Cairns, Sydney and Uluru and had the most amazing time getting close to Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats, Platypus, Possums and other crazy critters. The people are really nice and for Brits it is so easy. We especially loved Tasmaina and plan to go back for a longer stay.

Bahrain (Last Visit: June 2014)

Bahrain is considered by most as the standard weekend getaway from Saudi, when you need a reminder of western delights an hour’s flight or a 5-hour drive and you can get your fix. We have been many times and never witnessed any trouble and have no hesitation in considering a quick trip to catch a movie and nice brunch every so often. It’s also worth noting that a 5 hour drive might seem like a lot, but it’s basically 1 straight road through the desert and with the price of petrol the whole trip will cost you around 10 pounds.

Cambodia (Last Visit: December 2016)

I can’t really comment on Cambodia as we only had one day in Sihanoukville while on a cruise and went snorkelling, unfortunately the wind was quite strong and so the visibility when we swam was poor. We did see some wildlife including a huge turtle. It is certainly a place I wish to visit again. Interesting fact regarding the sad history of the country: They have now trained rats to find landmines as they can smell the explosives and are too light to trigger them. If you ever see someone in Cambodia with a rat on a lead you know they are safety conscious.

Canada (Last Visit: July 2014)

We only spent the day in Canada, but it still counts! While touring America we stayed at Niagara Falls and walked across the border for the day (stopping to take the compulsory phot with 1 leg in each country half way across the bridge). It sounds odd but there was a big difference between the 2 sides of the river and we much preferred the Canadian side as there was much more to do, it was like an English seaside resort with amusements, mini golf and much more. We enjoyed our day, bought our maple syrup and look forward to returning to see some more in the future

China (Last Visit: Current Location)

We currently live in Shanghai, the most populated city in the world. Its an amazing place, you can use the metro to visit a different area each day and its like exploring a separate town with a brilliant mix of old Chinese and modern. The entertainment is in abundance with most of the population eating our socially instead of cooking at home. You must try the soup dumplings (Xiaolong bao). its a massive country with brilliant places, Macau, Beijing, Hong Kong, Suzhou, Xian, Zhuhai are all worth a visit.

Egypt (Last Visit: February 2016)

We visited Egypt just after the plane bombing, Sharm was deserted, we almost had the resort to ourselves, which was both good and bad, it meant we were treated like royalty but it was a bit odd them opening the waterpark just for us. We did have a great time though, we learned to scuba which is something I would certainly like to do more of. We had a day trip to Cairo, with our own personal guide, we did the museum, the pyramids, a camel ride and much more – what a brilliant and memorable day!

England (Last Visit: December 2018)

My place of birth, good old England, I love my country, we are geographically so small but have done so much for the world. The best thing about England is the countryside, the amount of land without construction which is green and full of lakes and rivers is fantastic. I also love the weather, never too hot and you get all 4 seasons.

France (Last Visit: June 2005)

I have a soft spot for France. French is the language I learned at school (although my mastery of it is very basic). I visited as a child on a school trip but don’t remember much about it. One of my best friends is French and he’s the nicest guy I know so French people are high in my estimation. My real experience of France was a lads trip for the 60th anniversary of D-Day to the war museums, cemeteries and beaches. We had a fantastic time. I would love to go back and explore some more and a visit to some of the famous French carp lakes!

Germany (Last Visit: December 2017)

My mum lived in Osnabruck for a while so we visited a couple of times, The place was beautiful and the food was fantastic. I did notice a distinct difference in how German people interacted with us compared to some other nationalities, They didn’t interact unless they had to, although my attempts to communicate in simple broken German were probably a little tedious to them. We spent a few days in Munich for Christmas and had a very festive experience exploring the Christmas markets and drinking in the famous Hofbraeuhaus.

Indonesia (Last Visit: January 2017)

We spent new year’s in Bali, I liked Bali we had a day tour around some of the sights and the locals were very nice. But my lasting memory of Indonesia will be from Lombok, not the amazing landscape but the taxi driver taking us back to the cruise ship who was literally slapping himself in the face every few seconds to keep himself awake in the middle of the day, usually we would have got out but we had a ship to catch so making sure he wasn’t snoring was a priority for me! I would really like to visit Komodo to see the dragon so I’m sure we will be back.

India (Last Vist: July 2017)

Dehli is a mad place, there is something to see that you haven’t seen before all the time day and night. The food in India was amazing and the people were so helpful. We do need to go back as our timing was off, since it was monsoon much of the national parks are closed so we didn’t see a wild tiger on safari and the Taj Mahal was covered in scaffolding, just our luck it’s the first time it’s been cleaned in 300 years – it was still an amazing sight though, very beautiful.

Italy (Last Visit: December 2015)

Peroni is one of my favourite drinks, Pizza is my favourite food and Tiramisu is my favourite desert so regardless of other factors I was always going to have a good time in Rome. What a fantastic place to explore, everything is so attractive and the history is enthralling. I loved Castel Sant’Angelo and the Colosseum. We also had a day trip to Pisa which was a lovely town, with much less hustle than Rome. It was very relaxing and you didn’t have to deal with so many sales touts etc. when wandering around. As predicted I came back a significant amount heavier.

Japan (Last Visit: July 2015)

What a truly fantastic place. We toured around japan for 6 weeks. We sat with the snow Monkeys in Nagano, looked over the cloud Unkai in Sapporo, bathed naked in Onsen in Yudanaka, spotted Geishas in Kyoto, played retro computer games in Osaka, eaten Fugu in Hiroshima, snorkelled in Okinawa and slept in a capsule hotel in Tokyo. The food and the service was truly breath taking. Japan is a top destination and I will certainly return for more.

Malaysia (Last Visit: March 2019)

We have visited Kuala Lumpur, Lagkawi, Penang & Tioman and loved them all. I really like KL, we were right in the golden triangle so a 30 second walk from our hotel led to the most amazing hawker food and nightlife. When we visited Lagkawi we went on a mangrove boat ride and we so lucky to see both sea eagles fishing around us but also a couple of pods of dolphins swimming around the boat. Tioman was a snorkelling paradise and we even sponsored a clutch of turtle eggs at the local sanctuary, with a bit of luck a “Drury” turtle will return to the island in 30 years to start a new generation.

Myanmar (Last Visit: May 2019)

What a brilliant place, it reminds me very much of Sri Lanka. The people are so friendly and the food is fab, it is a very poor country and so everything is very cheap. There are some brilliant sights to see from massive golden pagodas to the old British circular railway. There are some issue currently in the north but if you stay in Yangon and Mandalay you will have a brilliant time in a beautiful country.

Netherlands (Last Visit: December 2017)

Beautiful place, we visited in winter and stuffed ourselves with pancakes of all shapes and sizes the obligatory visits to Ann Frank house, Heineken brewery and the red light district (for hands off educational purposes only) were a real treat and I would recommend a short winter break to anyone. We stayed in the centre – there is no need for a car, everything is a walk or cycle away.

Oman (Last Visit: March 2016)

We drove from Riyadh to Muscat which is over 1300KM. The empty quarter is the biggest desert in the world and surprisingly it is completely empty, once we got into Oman the scenery changed to picturesque mountains and was a real pleasure. Muscat was nice and the people were very friendly. I particularly enjoyed the old Souk, we spent ages getting lost in the allies finding interesting things.

Philippines (Last Visit: June 2015)

This is a bit of a cheat really, we were here in transit and had to go through immigration and take a taxi ride outside to another part of the airport. Technically that means we have visited the Philippines as we have the stamp but we haven’t even spent one night there. For now I am counting it as a morale boost to bump up my % of places visited but really I know I need to go back there to have a look around Manila, talk to the amazing friendly people and visit some fantastic beaches.

Qatar (Last Visit: November 2015)

We drove to Qatar and found it to be very much like Bahrain, UAE and Saudi in many ways. It does have a lovely sea front corniche and an amazing souk including a pet market with every animal you could think of, the highlight for me was a visit to the falcon hospital where we had a tour and did see many of these magnificent birds.

Saudi Arabia (Last Visit: January 2018)

This place has changed our lives, we came out on contract for a year not knowing anything about the country except what was in the media and I can honestly say we have had a great time, sure there are some cultural differences to get used to but the people are kind, we live in a fantastic apartment on a compound like centre parks and work at a brilliant school. The weather is good and there is plenty to do. Sure we miss cinema, pork and beer and prayer time closures can be frustrating but on balance this is a good place to live.

Spain (Last Visit: December 2015)

This was my first foreign destination as is often the case for British folk. My grandparents took me on holiday to Majorca and Belmidenia when I was in my early teens. My last visit to span was to visit my mum when she lived in Benedorm. I have to be honest allthouh I love travelling everywhere I would not rush back to Benedorm, its not really my kind of place. I would certainly like to explore more of spain, especially Madrid and Barcelona.

Singapore (Last Visit: December 2018)

One of my favourite places, we visited and intended to stay a couple of nights and ended up staying 2 weeks. There is so much to do, the place is so organised and clean and safe and the culture so diverse. It has the most amazing zoo we have ever been. Sentosa is an island theme park, including splash park, Universal studios and much more and is certainly worth a visit. We have stayed in the Marina Bay Sands which has an iconic hotel with the world’s largest infinity pool overlooking the city. I would certainly consider Singapore as a future location to live.

South Korea (Last Visit: September 2019)

Seoul is a fabulous place, there is an excellent mix of a modern thriving city with excellent nightlife and plenty of old historic sites to visit. There is a city wall which you can walk all around. Korean BBQ is just the best meal in my opinion and to sample it with the locals and take part in their customs is a real treat. We took a private tour of the DMZ where we actually got to walk along the fence inside a military base, for anyone interested in understanding the Korean war and the divide since there is an abundance of excellent experiences.

Sri Lanka (Last Visit: January 2017)

This is my favourite place in the world, it was the first location of our first family adventure and the impression has stuck with me, I have now visited 5 times including taking school trips too and I would visit again tomorrow. The combination of beaches, culture, wildlife, friendly people, amazing curry and fresh fruit ticks all the boxes for me. I have even looked long term into retirement here as I love it so much. I would recommend a visit to anyone and don’t just go to the beach, tour around and see everything.

Thailand (Last Visit: November 2018)

We have not really seen Thailand properly, we visited 3 places on our cruise but as with most cruises when everything was happening at night we were on our way to our next destination. What we did see we really liked, we had lots of fun playing on Jet Skis on Ko Samui, and bottle feeding baby tigers in Pataya. And I love sticky rice and mango – its lush! I’m sure we will come back and spend some time here.

United Arab Emirates (Last Visit: November 2016)

Location of the annual SIMS user group meeting and our weekend getaway spot, we have visited many times. We are happy in Saudi, however sometimes you just need some normality: cinema, alcohol and pork are top of the list when we take the trip across of the border. Dubai is a fab place for a short break and the Burj Khalifa is really cool landmark (not to mention the world’s biggest mall, a shopping paradise underneath). Abu Dhabi is also really nice with an absolutely stunning mosque and Ferrari world for fans of speed.

United States of America (Last Visit: August 2014)

We took a road trip around Eastern USA visiting Boston, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, St Louis, Memphis and lots of other interesting places. We had a good time and my wife is a huge Elvis fan so Graceland was the highlight for her. I was a fan of Boston, I would like to go back and spend some more time there but my real love for America is with Alaska, I spent 3 weeks with a good friend camping, fishing and watching bears. It was amazing getting close to wild bears catching Salmon was the best experience I have ever had on any of my adventures.

Vatican (Last Visit: December 2015)

I’m not a religious man but the subject is always of great interest to me so a visit to St Peters in the Vatican was a high priority when visiting Rome. It didn’t disappoint, what a wonderful museum, and the Basilica was amazing. The highlight for me was the Sistine Chapel, what a glorious work of art, I spent a long time taking it all in – well worth the trip!

Vietnam (Last Vist: January 2017)

We had 2 days in Vietnam on our cruise, one was in Nha Trang where I had the most amazing meal in a tiny roadside café. The other was spent visiting the Cu-Chi tunnels which was very interesting, our guide was great and explained about all the traps and how the tunnel system operated during the war and then we even got to fire real AK47 rifles which was great fun. In the future I would like to visit Vietnam properly and go north to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.