Of all the 192 countries in the world, Burkina Faso gets my vote for “most awesome capital city name.”
If you’re ever on Jeopardy! or otherwise need to know, the answer is “What is Ouagadougou?” Hopefully you won’t have to spell it for the final round.
Tomorrow I’m headed out on the early-early flight to Denver, over to Frankfurt in the afternoon (just a short transit in both cities), and finally down to West Africa via Morocco over the weekend.
From Burkina Faso I’ll visit Niger and Mali, two neighboring countries. Five years ago I was on a refueling stop in Bamako, Mali, where I watched crates of gold being loaded onto the plane by armed soldiers. I don’t count airport stops for country visits, though, so back to Mali I go.
After returning to Europe, I’ll pop over to Kazakhstan for a few days before coming home, again via Frankfurt and Denver. It’s an intense trip, like several others I’ve taken recently, but I need to get ahead on my visit-every-country goal before I head out to tour North America in the beginning of September.
Once again I used my big stash of U.S. Airways miles (getting smaller by the month, unfortunately) to book a Star Alliance awards flight, and once again on Lufthansa. This award ticket is routed as follows:
I’ll take a free stopover in Frankfurt on the way over, and use that time to head down to West Africa. I purchased an open-jaw ticket on Royal Air Maroc that will take me to Burkina Faso and back from Mali. I got a stopover on that ticket as well, but not intentionally—in West Africa, many flights are arranged at inconvenient times, so this time it’s a forced overnight stopover (in Casablanca, Morocco) before going back to Frankfurt.
From Frankfurt, I’ll pick up the free Lufthansa ticket to go to Kazakhstan. I had hoped to bus over to neighboring Kyrgyzstan as well, but I ran out of visa time. No visa, no trip to Kyrgyzstan.
I’ll stay in hotels, guesthouses, and at least once on the floor of the airport while waiting for a 3:30 a.m. departing flight. I’ll return to Portland toward the middle of July, head out on one other big trip, and then come back home for three weeks of
sleep preparation in advance of the book tour.
Two Other Announcements
Freelancing Guide – Thanks to everyone who picked up the new Unconventional Guide to Freelancing. It’s rocking out and now available for sale in the shop. Check it out here if you haven’t seen it yet.
Book Tour Thanks – More people continue to sign up for the Unconventional Book Tour every day. All cities are now represented by at least a few people, and many stops have 40+ attendees. I’m going to make a couple of minor tweaks in the schedule to accommodate reader feedback and preferences based on signups. Stay tuned for that… and remember to buy stock in cupcake companies for the fall.
That’s it for now. I’m headed out in the morning on the 5:30 a.m. flight to Denver, which is… way too early. See you from the open road!