I’ll bet you’ve got some great stories of your own, Jay! Those compliments mean a lot coming from a traveler as experienced as you are.
I admit, I can only spend so much time in “alert mode” before I feel the need to spend some time recharging in more familiar surroundings. That’s why I love those European countries you mention — there’s so much to learn in terms of language, cultural norms, food, and so many other areas of life; but the general tone of life still feels very comforting and safe. Plus, like you say, it’s very easy to blend in, and not be pointed out in the street as an “ATM with legs.”
To answer your question about locations, most of these experiences happened in Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Kenya. I’ve still only seen a tiny fraction of the world, and I keep picking up recommendations everywhere I go.