Media Kit

Where has Dave Been? (And Why Won’t He Tell You His Favorite Country?)

Dave and his wife, Kattina, get ready to take-off in a Boeing 747 at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. (Ahem… shortly after this photo was taken, they were asked to return to their economy class seats.)

Travel should never be about collecting points. I go for experiences, not bragging rights. But there are two questions I get asked a lot:

  • How many countries have you been to?
  • What’s your favorite country?

The second of the two questions is one I don’t answer. I’m can’t compare Norway to Samoa to Botswana to Vietnam and tell you which one’s “best.” Nor am I going to slam a particular place as not worth visiting because I happened to have a negative experience there. Sometimes when we travel, we just get unlucky. (And other times, we get very lucky.)

The first of the two questions — how many countries have I visited? — is one I answer reluctantly. Travel shouldn’t be a competition. Blitzing across borders for passport stamps and bragging rights is far less inspiring to me than getting to know people in the places I visit, and learn about their lives. So if you must know, the current answer is 59. But I don’t believe in counting countries. I believe in collecting stories — and I have collected far too many to count.

That said, “Where have you been?” is a better question, so here is my list – with the year of my first visit in parentheses. (I’ve been back to many of these places more recently.)

My personal rules for this list: I must have at least gone through customs or made it beyond a border checkpoint. An airport stopover doesn’t count.

  1. United States (First visit: 1968)
  2. England (First visit: 1976)
  3. France (1976)
  4. Belgium (1976)
  5. Netherlands (1976)
  6. Tunisia (1976)
  7. Greece (1977)
  8. Switzerland (1977)
  9. Canada (1985)
  10. Finland (1986)
  11. Norway (1986)
  12. Sweden (1986)
  13. Russia (1986)
  14. Iceland (1989)
  15. Denmark (1989)
  16. Germany (1989)
  17. Italy (1989)
  18. Slovenia (1989)
  19. Croatia (1989)
  20. Bosnia-Hercegovina (1989)
  21. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1989)
  22. Turkey (1989)
  23. Hungary (1989)
  24. Mexico (1990)
  25. Republic of Ireland (1992)
  26. Estonia (1993)
  27. Latvia (1993)
  28. Lithuania (1993)
  29. Austria (1995)
  30. Vatican City (1995)
  31. Portugal (1996)
  32. Spain (1996)
  33. Monaco (1996)
  34. Wales (2003)
  35. Australia (2005)
  36. New Caledonia (2005)
  37. Fiji (2005)
  38. Samoa (2005)
  39. Liechtenstein (2007)
  40. Malta (2008)
  41. Hong Kong (2008)
  42. Vietnam (2008)
  43. Cyprus (2009)
  44. Northern Cyprus (2009)
  45. South Africa (2010)
  46. Botswana (2010)
  47. Japan (2010)
  48. Singapore (2011)
  49. Malaysia (2011)
  50. Thailand (2011)
  51. Sri Lanka (2011)
  52. Laos (2012)
  53. Cambodia (2012)
  54. Indonesia (2012)
  55. Burma (Myanmar) (2012)
  56. India (2013)
  57. Brunei (2013)
  58. Nepal (2014)
  59. Scotland (2015)