Hanoi, Vietnam – Within about 5 minutes of stepping outside the airport in Hanoi, I realized I was in a place much different than anywhere I had ever been before. There were no signs in English, or any other languages besides Vietnamese. There were no other languages spoken except Vietnamese. Although not as bad as China, the smell of smog and pollution instantly assaulted my nostrils and lungs. There was absolutely no escaping the fact that, for better or for worse, I was in Vietnam.
Hanoi, Vietnam – Cambodia. The name conjures contrasting images and feelings – part sobering reality, part uplifting hope and humanity, and part organized chaos. Less than 20 years removed from their last coup d’etat, the country is going through massive change while continuing to heal from past wounds. At times it felt like I was in the Wild West – a place where anything goes – which can make traveling quite an adventure until you get used to the cadence of daily life. However, the people were very open and caring and helpful (and most spoke English very well) which made the adjustment as smooth and painless as possible – turning the uncomfortable into the thoroughly enjoyable.
Hello and welcome to my site!
My friends call me the International Man of Mystery, but you can just call me the International Man of Mystery. How did that moniker come about you ask? Well, it started while I was working full time and going to school for my MBA. As part of the MBA program, and some vacation time I tacked on, I traveled to nine countries in six months. At the same time I had just moved to Columbus, OH and started a new job. Of course as I was getting to know my new co-workers I would drop references to my time in India or China or some other exotic locale during normal conversation (Hey, it’s what was happening in my life at the time). Anyway, I was anointed the International Man of Mystery since it seemed like I was always abroad and treated my travels like they were no big deal (If you’ve ever traveled that much in a short period of time you’d understand).
I thought I would put this post out there to help you and me. It seems like every time someone asks me what countries I’ve been to I struggle to name the last few. Invariably my stare becomes more blank as I struggle to remember some random country in Europe, the person loses interest, and I spend the rest of the evening with the same blank stare on my face. Maybe it’s the alcohol or the creep of age, but I thought putting everything into one place with a handy little map would be the best solution for avoiding the blank stare. I’ll keep updating the list as the number of countries continues to expand.