Column: Reflections of columns and world travel


As hard as it is for me to believe, this is my 400th column about travel. As a result, I am taking this opportunity to look back at those columns.

In October 2011, I told Current publisher Brian Kelly that I was about to leave for South Africa and we talked about some of the countries I had visited. He invited me to write a travel column and I agreed. My first column was published on Feb. 22, 2012. The subject was international toilets, a subject I promised never to write about again. In July 2013, I began writing every week and have continued to do so since. The columns have not always appeared in all Current print editions, but all have been on the Current website. All the columns are on my website,, organized by country and searchable.

In the 399 previous columns, I have written about places of interest in 40 countries. Thirty-six columns have been about India, which I have visited three times. I have written 33 columns about Egypt, my favorite country outside the United States. Thirty columns have described sites in Israel and another 11 have been about Jerusalem. Twenty-five columns have talked about Syria and 32 have explored places in the United States. The word “tomb” appears in 54 columns and the word “body” can be found in 38. The word “church” is in 127 columns, the word “temple” in 96 and the word “mosque” in 43. Seventy-nine columns mention Jesus and 14 mention Muhammad. More than 100 columns mention God or gods. Three mention Satan.

In my first column (the one about toilets), I promised to try to relate lessons I have learned in my travels. As I continue to write, I will try to maintain that promise. I cannot wait to resume traveling.