How many countries have I seen? (2010)

It has been three years since my original “How many countries have I seen?” post. I thought it would be fun to update the list to get a sense of how much of the world I have yet to see. This is also a good way to get TB thinking about places we might visit in 2010.

As of April 2010, the tally comes in at 29, nine more since March 2007. This puts me at a mere 15% of the 193 countries in the world or +5% in 3 years. At this rate, it will take me about 50 more years to cover the globe.

Below is the updated list including links to the relevant blog entries.

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Barbados
  5. Belgium
  6. Brazil
  7. Canada
  8. China
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Dominica
  11. England
  12. France
  13. Germany
  14. Hungary
  15. Italy
  16. Japan
  17. Malaysia
  18. Mexico (Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas)
  19. Monaco
  20. Mozambique
  21. The Netherlands
  22. New Zealand
  23. Scotland
  24. Singapore
  25. South Africa (Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay)
  26. South Korea
  27. Spain
  28. Sweden
  29. USA

As before, these are all places I have actually visited so airport layovers do not count.

In the previous post I expressed a desire to visit South America and mainland Asia. I covered both with trips to Argentina & Brazil in October 2007 then China & South Korea in April 2008. Cape Town still reigns supreme as my favorite city but Rio de Janeiro is a close second. Kuala Lumpur maintains its rank on the bottom rung.

What’s next on the to-do list? Central America, India or the Middle East would be nice but we may have to wait until Owen is a little older before taking on those last two.

Back from the Czech Republic and Hungary

For Thanksgiving this year, TB and I decided to take Owen on his first international trip and make our first visit to Eastern Europe. We departed Seattle Saturday, November 21, flying Lufthansa to Prague via Frankfurt.

Map of Eastern Europe Sidebar:
Hungarians and Czechs would take offense to their countries being classified as “Eastern Europe” however, for my purposes, I consider everything east of Berlin and formerly under Communist rule Eastern Europe.

After the 10-hour flight from Seattle to Frankfurt, 3-hour layover and 1-hour flight to Prague we were all exhausted. Owen is still a great travel baby and several flight attendants and nearby passengers commented on how happy he was throughout both flights. He had smiles and lots of chattering for anyone who looked his way and slept about 5½ hours during the 10-hour leg. TB grabbed 2 hours of sleep but I stayed awake the entire time reading or pacing with Owen.

Continue reading “Back from the Czech Republic and Hungary”

New Parent Tip: Travel light with a netbook

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Netbook If you are a gadget geek and Internet fiend like me, you never leave home without some type of Web device. While my iPhone is an excellent, on-the-go device that meets most of my communication, entertainment and surfing needs, it is still a challenge, and sometimes impossible,  to complete certain tasks that require heavy computation, keyboarding or editing. For example, processing loads of work e-mail; authoring documents; downloading, editing and sharing content from still and video cameras; and, lastly, writing to my blog are all tasks I find unsuitable on any Smartphone.

Whereas the iPhone is underpowered for such activities, my work laptop—a Lenovo ThinkPad T500—is absolutely overkill for personal travel. Why? It weighs over 10 pounds fully-loaded with extended batteries and power adapter. Ten pounds weighing me down while whisking through airports and Jetways with Owen in tow is not a good look.

That’s why a few weeks before Owen was born, I purchased a used Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook off eBay. The image below shows how the 3 devices compare in overall size and display real estate.

iPhone 3GS vs. Dell Inspiron Mini 9 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad T500

Once the Mini 9 arrived, I upgraded it to 2GB of memory and replaced the Windows XP Home Premium installation with Windows 7 Ultimate. It runs great and while the 8.9”, 1024×600 display and Lilliputian keyboard both take some adjustment, it is a much sleeker travel companion than the 15.4”, 1680×1050 display and full keyboard on the ThinkPad.

The Mini’s major advantages are its svelte dimensions, back saving 2.28 pounds, and zero moving parts. The absence of fans and spinning drives allows it to run completely silently. The iPhone display is 3.5”, 480×320, and its main advantage over the other two—besides being a phone—are it fits in my pocket, has a longer battery life, turns on immediately and puts my information and media at my fingertips in seconds.

While the Mini 9 has been discontinued, I find the MyDellMini fan site to be the most informative for existing owners and potential buyers of any of Dell’s netbooks. I recommend picking up the Mini 9 used on Craigslist or eBay as the newer models cannot be upgraded beyond 1GB memory.

I leave you with a photo demonstrating the space saving advantage of the Mini 9 vs. the T500. Drop me a comment if you have any questions.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad T500