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The Year in Review 2019

In 2019, I reaped the rewards of the hard work I put in last year and in 2017. Things got kicked up a notch too. I got the keys to my first bit of real estate and closed deals for three new businesses. It was not without serious challenges, and some other projects got put on hold as a result (BJJ and book launch), but at least I got a bit of travelling in.

Today I look back and share some highlights, pics, videos, and learnings from the year.

2019 in review


The year began with a trip to Central Asia. It started with a weekend drinking and some sharp shooting with my uncles and cousins…

From Budapest, I flew to Nur Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan.

Then it was off to the country’s main city Almaty for some snowboarding.

I wrote a Men’s Guide to Kazakhstan and made a video about my visit too.

I finished up in Biskek, Kyrgystan. (Click for city guide).


Piggybacking on the success of my first bar concept, I attracted partners and we found a second location. I signed in March and the refurb began.

Then it was back to Cartagena, Colombia to attend a wedding.


We opened our new bar/restaurant at the start of summer, and it was an overnight success. The response was overwhelming, but with great highs can great lows, as my first location was closed down for nearly 4 months. I detailed my successes and hardships in this post.

Then it was back East for some more adventuring. It started off with a trip back to Muscat, Oman (<—city guide) to attend ANOTHER wedding. Check out this vid from Wadi Shab…

From there, it was off to the Himalayas. I wrote a Men’s Guide to Nepal and also published a video from the trip.

Fall – Present

I got back to business. My first bar re-opens. My brother and I acquire another business, an import and distribution company. I also sign a contract for bar/restaurant number 3! We hope to open in March. My success inspires me to write articles giving some offline business advice to other men.

Aside from a weekend in Krakow, not much travelling was done this time of year.

The end of the year ended on a bit of a bum note. I booked tickets to spend the New Year in NYC. From there I was supposed to fly to Mexico, but the US consulate said my visa application “had issues”. This was partly due to my travel history (because I visited Iran, Sudan, Somalia and Syria) and the decision got pushed back 60 days. I flew back to Ireland for the holidays instead, and write this from my family home. You win some, you lose some.

2018 Stats:

Total Countries visited: 9

New Countries visited: 3 


That puts my goal for travelling to every country in the world at 110/196 or 56%. 

(Note: 111 are selected above in map. I’ve never been to Japan, made a mistake.)

2020 Preview

I’ve already got tickets booked for Poland, Austria, Turkey, Germany, Belarus and Ukraine. Aside from those European jaunts, most of my year is defined by numerous weddings, so I’ll be constantly back between Malta and Ireland.

I’m releasing my new book for the tentative date of March 13th, which will also be around the time bar number 3 will open!

2020 will be a prosperous one!

2 Responses to The Year in Review 2019

  1. fionzyl January 4, 2020 at 5:19 pm #

    Zolo! Have followed your blog since 2012 but never wrote a comment. Happy to see that your business is going well and expanding. Your blogposts about the siege of the balkans, etc. back then inspired me to go out there and travel as well. I’ve since traveled to most of Europe, lived abroad for a while and will start exploring Asia this year. Anyway, just wanted to give you some feedback, looking forward to your next blogs/vlogs. Oh and if you need suggestions for Germany feel free to write me an email, maybe I can help somehow.

    • Mark Zolo January 18, 2020 at 12:03 pm #

      Thanks amigo!

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