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Join me on my Journey!

Hagia Sophia Istanbul
Eiffel Tower Paris
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Thailand
Carthage Tunisia from the Punic Ports
Roman Colosseum

Welcome to my Travels

I started doing the blog laughatthesky mostly as a personal travel diary. 

However, these pages will, hopefully, inspire you to have a little more adventure in your life, also. Maybe laugh at the sky just once. If travel is your way of having an adventure, all the better. If not, that is okay also. Find a reason to have an adventure, stretch your comfort zone, experience something new.

Because this is a personal journey, it will not be fair and balanced, and I have no intention of making it so. It will be obvious that I like some places better than others. And even a couple places I just didn’t like at all. So, you may see a short description of some places, then pages and pages of another place.

Favorite Places

First things first; the question that I get asked the most often is “What is your favorite place?” That is a really tough question to answer for a couple of reasons. First, I have so many favorites. Second, I have different favorites for different reasons. So, I thought I would give a long answer to that question and put down a few of my favorites here and the reasoning behind them.


Overall – France.

I am not saying that this is the best place in the world. By many measures, that simply isn’t the case. However, before I started my journey, I created a list of all the things I would like to have in a place to settle down. Art, history, architecture, food, wine, forests, mountains, the sea, and a temperate but changing climate. I found that France best encompasses all of these factors. Plus, I just feel right at home whenever I visit. I cannot really put my finger on why, but I am more comfortable in France than, say, Spain or Italy or the United Kingdom. Add to that the immense variety of places to visit in the country. Yes, Paris is iconic and the most visited city in the world for good reasons. But go down to Lyon or Marseille…they are fantastic second cities. Visit Orleans or Dijon or Rennes for smaller but still wonderful cities. Head to Strasbourg and Alsace for a very different experience and culture. Go down to the Southwest and see the Catalan influence. Head south of Bordeaux and see the Basque influence. Go up the mountains, down to the sea, over to Normandy. One could take dozens of vacations in France and have each and every one of them be a different experience. At the time of this writing, I have visited 19 of the 25 largest cities in France, along with dozens and dozens of smaller towns. Plus, national parks, coastlines, and mountain trails all over.


Favorite pleasant surprise – Medellin, Colombia

My impression of Colombia was very outdated before I visited and was still picturing the violent days of Pablo Escobar and the FARC rebels. I could not have been more wrong. I was surprised when I got to the Caribbean and saw how peaceful Cartagena and Tolu were. Then, I got to Medellin and was blown away by how beautiful it is there. The climate is nearly perfect. It certainly earns its nickname of “The City of Eternal Spring.” This place is so green and clean. The people are very kind. The setting in the surrounding hills makes it so beautiful. This is a wonderful place that I was not expecting and would love to return at some point.


Favorite place that I didn’t know anything about – Slovenia.

I was driving across southern Europe headed from Italy to Croatia and I had to pass through Slovenia. So, I decided to stop for a couple days. Those couple days turned into 10 days. I was blown away. Lovely capitol, gorgeous countryside, and as an American, English was prolific so that made it incredibly easy to visit. I am just amazed how wonderful this former Yugoslav Republic is today!


Favorite Place in SE Asia – Luang Prabang, Laos This little city on the Mekong River in central Laos was just beautiful and with a population of 56,000 it is large enough to have plenty of comforts and small enough to be very manageable. Such a great place to rent a bicycle and explore the countryside! It is also quite east to get to from the major cities around SE Asia as it will served by an airport.


Favorite Place in The States – Seattle and Denver

I am an American, so I had to include this. I have lived in 14 different states and have visited 49 of them and these are my favorite places because of the combination of the people, the climate, and the surroundings (forests and mountains). But, unlike other categories, my favorite places in the States are more about livability than the best place to visit for a holiday. As a tourist, these are probably not the first places one would choose. Probably not the first places I would choose either. For tourism, I would still lean towards the Northeast corridor from Boston to Philadelphia, and down to Washington D.C. 

But, if you want to live in the States, go west towards Denver or Seattle. They won't disappoint! 


The second most asked question I have received regards safety while traveling. Maybe it is because of some of the places I have been, maybe it is because I almost always travel alone. But this seems to come up often and my answer would be that 99.9% of the time I have felt perfectly safe. Only once, maybe twice did I think I have may have put myself in a bad position. But, as it turns out, I was wrong. I never came to harm anywhere. My experience is that one should take the normal precautions while traveling that they do while at home. Don’t look for trouble, don’t make risky decisions, and respect local laws and customs and you should be fine. I am not saying those 3 rules will keep everyone safe all the time, but perfect safety cannot be achieved at home, or abroad. So, I don’t think safety fears should ever be a reason for not traveling somewhere and experiencing it.

How many countries

The third most popular question is how many countries have you visited? This is actually not as easy to answer as one would think. It all depends on what you consider a “country”. Some places are easy. The US, France, Germany, Thailand, Australia. These are all “countries.” But, if you look at Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland…are these all “countries.” Or does it all count as one (The United Kingdom)?

Do city-states count? The Vatican, Monaco, Singapore? What about areas that have proclaimed their independence but are not fully recognized? Kosovo, Transnistria, Northern Cyprus, among many others?

So, there is no short answer. But, since I have now given a long answer. By my count and my definition, I have visited 78 countries to date out of the approximately 200 in the world. I can also say that I have no desire to go around the world checking boxes just to say I have hit every country in the world. That is for a number of reasons.

One, there is no way to know when it is accomplished until you can say for sure what counts a as “country”.

Second, I only have one passport (United States) and it is not practical or even possible to visit every country. At the moment, for example, it is not possible to get tourist visas to North Korea, Syria and Venezuela. Third, there are places in the world where I don’t feel drawn to visit. Not that they are bad places. I just don’t have any desire. Finally, I am not much of a beach person. So, the idea of visiting dozens of Pacific and Caribbean Island nations just to check boxes seems crazy to me. I would not enjoy it, and it would be very expensive.


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