Noi6 Around-the-World

Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Two Year Report on the Road to 500


Two years after deciding to keep track of the World Heritage Sites, here I am trying to catch up… I should have done regular updates but never got to it. The previous blogpost has been at the top of this site, promising new posts but looking abandoned. How am I supposed to fix this? I should never let this happen again… How to summarize the extraordinary places we’ve seen or the things we learned? 

Stranded on Lord Howe Island, a remote and barely accessible world heritage site in May 2023

Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Road to 500


It is hard to tell when I first learned about UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Probably at some point before our trip around the world, and then, as we decided our destinations, it was a secondary factor in our decision making process. 

Our trip didn’t really have a theme. Probably the best way to describe what we wanted is to go back over and over to Maria’s first post. But at some point it turned out that our interests and UNESCO’s mission overlapped significantly. As we tried to discover various countries, learn about their most special features and visit famous and unique cultural and natural sites we invariably ended at one or another World Heritage Site.

For those of you who need a refresher, 50 years ago the General Conference of UNESCO adopted a “Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, a unique international treaty linking for the first time the concepts of nature conservation and preservation of cultural properties - recognizing the way people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.”

In 1978, Galapagos Islands  became the first of the first 12 sites inscribed on the World Heritage list. In 2012 there were 936 monuments and now, in 2022, there are 1154.

During our round the world trip we missed a couple sites in ways in which I cannot explain, like the Berlin Modernism Housing Estates  or the Old Historic Cairo. By far the hardest to explain miss was the Barcelona Music House, we were in line for the tickets and we still didn't know we had to get in, our sister bought tickets for herself and her family and the lady closed the ticket counter for lunch in front of us. But, nonetheless we visited 75 world heritage sites on our trip. They included the most amazing sites you all heard about and some just as good that you never knew that exist. And at some point in the following years it really made sense to start planning a trip from the UNESCO list. We did it first in Portugal in June 2015, and again in Japan when we returned in 2015 and so on.

Fast forward nine years later, I mentioned to Ileana Ruxandra that some time before our trip I saw a web site about some people who traveled to a lot of places, I had a very vague recollection and it was a pity that I lost track of the whole story. One day I decided to search for it and after a few hours I found what I was looking for and discovered that it evolved into a much larger group, a great website and a fantastic phone application: most traveled people (MTP: The Extreme Travel Club )! The MTP Apps: iPhone and iPad and Google

“MTP challenges its members to expand their horizons, by dividing the land area of Earth into 1013 distinct regions, including countries, states, territories, islands and enclaves. We also track … all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For many, adding to their MTP totals and turning their personal map from red to green is their life’s work. No one in history has ever completed the list!” They have an annual meeting and vote on what is an MTP place. More importantly they also keep track of all the world heritage sites and sub-sites in a much easier way than even UNESCO or Wikipedia. Registering and checking boxes, I got to a little over 150 but digging deeper I learned that we didn't quite reach the formal boundaries so we had to eliminate Mapungubwe or AmbohimangaSome sites are represented by one building and some have multiple subsites distributed over a large area or even across countries or continents. It is a dynamic list, a couple of sites had to be delisted as they were destroyed, but the list is slowly expanding through a very elaborate system. Countries sign up to the UNESCO charter, propose sites on World Heritage Tentative Lists and after they meet some of the criteria and the local government does a lot of protection work, would be voted for and listed. We could visit a place that is interesting or famous and many years later learn that it has become a World Heritage Site. So this is how I got to see my 149th site, we visited Madrid in 1990 and again in 2020, but it was only last week that I learned that in 2021 UNESCO listed Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro

Anyway, it is not about lists and counts, but this is a really big world and the more we see the more we realize how much we haven't seen or learned about. It can be quite depressing to really understand the enormity of it all and how little we can actually do, see or learn. It is also liberating to accept that we cannot do it all, that each and every trip, site, day or even moment is valuable in itself and we don't have to worry about the whole of it.

But it is both fascinating and pragmatic to use the whole knowledge of the world and the consensus of a bunch of experts to get some direction of what is really special and worth visiting on this planet. This happens to be the stuff we really care about (and museums!), not some fancy hotel, bar or restaurant, not some private island or a fun filled cruise or an amusement park. 

I was looking again and again at "the list". There are 1000 more and we'll never see them all, and some might not even be worth seeing, but we can die trying. At this pace it would take many lifetimes, but can we aim for about 500? That could be realistic if we are really determined and organized and aim to see 10-15 a year over the next 30 years!

Not surprisingly, Ileana Ruxandra is just as interested as me in this topic. She went further to discover the World Heritage Site for World Heritage Travellers at started by a lady in Netherlands who dedicates her life to visiting all the sites and offering a platform for advice to fellow travelers. Together with MTP we now have all we need.

So starting in May 2022 the "race" is on!  Follow me at We'll update here as we can the next 351 world heritage sites that we visit and if it happens, the ones we revisit or complete (some of these listing have multiple sites and they could all be meaningful).


Monday, October 18, 2021

10 Years Later


Ten years ago we left on our trip around the world. One week ago, our oldest daughter got married. The two events are somehow similar as they each capped a very intense two and a half year period of preparation, multiple questions, tremendous growth and some stress.  And similarly the major event is just the beginning of an extraordinary journey. For Maria and Derek it will be a whole life. For us, 10 year ago, it was for a short, defined time of fifteen months or less “however long we enjoy ourselves.” 

Every day, once or several times, we remember something from our trip, we refer to it somehow, we think of a place or a person or some lesson we learned. Without question it is the one unique, fantastic thing that we did and we still have not met anyone else who did something similar.  Our children, now adults, might not know exactly how this trip shaped their life and cannot compare with what would have been without it but can certainly give it some credit for what and where they are in their young adult life.

We still traveled, not as much and certainly not since the beginning of the pandemic. Still we can appreciate from our home how the world has changed in the past 10 years. We enjoy staying put and we long to travel and this contradiction is fine with us because we have this trip to remember. 

We never wrote a book and never made a film. We never watched the whole footage that we took, only bits and pieces. At times we reread some of our blogposts to refresh some details, sometimes we have to search for the exact name of a place. There are probably some pictures that we’ve not seen yet, so this anniversary is a good time to look back and go through some of those memories all over again.

Check for the 10th Anniversary Photos on 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Big Bend National Park

Feb. 19, 2019  Tuesday

The ranger at the Visitor Center suggests that, for one day in Big Bend National Park,  we should drive to Canyon Santa Elena and visit all the view points or trails that stem from the road. Though we entered the park last night, and slept at the Chisos Mountain Lodge, we received our map and visitor guide, The Paisano, this morning, after buying our National Park Pass. To get to the Canyon we have to climb out of the Chisos Basin and then take the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive (named after the first superintendent,  who, knowing the area so well, laid down the route to connect the most spectacular geological features of the west side of the park). 

Our trip is highlighted in blue.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Texas, From Right To Left

Monday, Feb. 18, 2019

At the crack of the dawn, or better say when the dawns were thinking if they should crack, we were in the car driving. I know what I’m talking about, even if you don’t believe me, because there were clouds of flocks of starlings, perched on the wires that were holding the traffic lights, all facing the same way,  not knowing what to do, the light would change and they would start flying, and then re-perch, not enough light far away from the traffic.

Saturday, April 6, 2019



Another vacation! Hurray! This one starts in Houston and ends in San Diego. Mihai flew from Philadelphia earlier in the day and I flew from Romania, through Munchen, arriving at 4 pm.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Reverse Cultural Shock

Last day in Japan starts early, packing all our belongings, leaving them in the apartment ready to go and heading toward Kiyomizu Dera. Being part of the “must see” either for tourists or for locals means one thing: hordes of people. It’s 8:45 and the place is packed. Policemen survey some steps and are vehemently forbidding people to take their picture. I wonder: is it because the sun is at such height in the sky that we don’t see the steps and could have an accident? We’ll find out later that somewhere in the temple there was a service and the picture would upset it.

Later in the afternoon when we were aloud to take the picture.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Noi6 Around-the-World: The Theme

Noi6 Around-the-World: The Theme: Translated from English by Ileana Ruxandra 10 years later: For the past few weeks I searched on the internet trying to find families who went, or are or will be on a trip around the world. Mihai is...

Noi6 Around-the-World: The Bait

Noi6 Around-the-World: The Bait: 10 years later, translated from Romanian: Mihai says to write, because we will forget and I’m sure he is right. For a long time I was somehow numb, yeah we took the decision to go a...

Noi6 Around-the-World: Beginnings

Noi6 Around-the-World: Beginnings: translated from Romanian, 10 years later: Sir Ernest Shackleton … he tried to cross Antarctica going through South Pole in 1914. The ship was claimed by ice and for a year and a hal...