From elephant selfies to Antarctica, John Kerry had a picturesque tenure as secretary of state

Thirty of the best photos from Kerry's travels.

Secretary of State John Kerry stands inside the historic Shackleton hut near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, last month. Mark Ralston / Pool via AP

President Barack Obama is hardly the only one leaving office next month.

Notably, John Kerry will conclude his near-three-year stay as secretary of state (and a 34-year career in public service) when the next administration is ushered in January 20, 2017. Though “stay” may not be the right word.

As the United States’ top diplomat, Kerry’s tenure—highlighted by deals with geopolitical adversaries, such as Iran and Cuba—set a travel record. And with all those miles, the former Massachusetts senator brings home some wanderlust-inducing photos.

Here are 30 of our favorites:

1. Moscow — May 2013

Kerry stands in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square.

2. Colombia — August 2013

Kerry celebrates a point while participating in a seated volleyball game with wounded veterans during a visit to Bogota.

3. Switzerland — September 2013

Kerry looks out at Lake Geneva from a hilltop outside Montreaux, Switzerland, as President Obama calls him to offer his thanks for negotiating an agreement with his Russian counterpart to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons.

4. Switzerland — September 2013

Kerry pauses for a photograph with the Dents du Midi sawtooth mountains in the background during a hike after the U.S. and Russian governments reached an agreement to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria.

5. Vietnam — December 2013

Kerry sails past a village on the Mekong River Delta before a climate change speech in Vietnam.

6. Hawaii — August 2014

A Navy seaman briefs John Kerry and U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, on the attack that sank the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, after the two laid a wreath at the site.

7. Oman — November 2014

A shopkeeper offers an oil lamp to Kerry as he visits a traditional bazaar in Muscat during a break in P5+1 negotiations with Iran about the future of its nuclear program.

8. Panama Canal — April 2015

Kerry and Panama Canal Deputy Administrator Manuel Benítez examine a ship transiting the Miraflores Locks in Panama City.

9. Kenya — May 2015

Kerry looks across the savannah at a rhinoceros in Nairobi National Park.

10. Kenya — May 2015

Kerry feeds a baby elephant at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi National Park following a wildlife tour of the park and before a series of government meetings.


He would also take a selfie with the elephant.

11. Cuba — August 2015

Kerry checks out a vintage car during his walk through the Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana during his historic trip to Cuba.

12. Madrid — October 2015

Kerry plays a guitar before his bilateral meeting and working dinner with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo at the Viana Palace.

13. Chile — October 2015

Kerry takes break on a deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean as he reads briefing materials between sessions of the Our Ocean Conference 2015 in Valparaíso.

14. Greece — December 2015

Kerry looks at the Acropolis while touring the Temple of Hephaestus with Dr. Kevin Daly, an Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Bucknell University, in Athens.

15. Moscow — March 2016

Kerry speaks with astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who had both completed one year in space aboard the International Space Station.

16. Greenland — June 2016

Kerry boards a plane after arriving at Kangerlussuaq International Airport.

17. Denmark — June 2016

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen shows Kerry one of the Queen’s Tapestries – which outline Danish and world history, and were a gift to Queen Margrethe II on her 50th birthday in 1990 – inside the Great Hall of Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen.

18. Norway — June 2016

Kerry and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende float on the Kongsfjorden in Ny-Alesund, Norway, the northernmost civilian settlement in the world.

19. Norway — June 2016

Kerry walks through an Arctic research station in Ny-Alesund, before he and Brende tour the nearby Blomstrand Glacier.

20. Rio de Janiero — August 2016

Kerry hits a volleyball on the Copacobana beach in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, after visiting with the U.S. men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams at the Summer Olympics.

21. Rio de Janiero — August 2016

Kerry and his fellow U.S. presidential delegation members pose for a group photo with members of Team USA.

22. Nigeria — August 2015

Kerry, joined by Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, examines some of the sultan’s parade horses after delivering a speech about countering violent extremism and promoting good governance in Sokoto, Nigeria.

23. Boston — September 2016

Kerry hosts the foreign ministers from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union for a cruise around Boston Harbor amid a daylong series of meetings.

24. Rwanda — October 2016

A young boy listens as Kerry addresses the staff and their family members at U.S. Embassy in Kigali.

25. London — October 2016

London Mayor Sadiq Khan shows Kerry the view from his office.

26. Antarctica — November 2016

Kerry disembarks from an US Air Force C17 Globemaster plane at the Pegasus ice runway near McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

27. Antarctica –November 2016

Kerry hikes in front of Mount Erebus after visiting the historic Shackleton hut near McMurdo Station.

28. Vatican City — December 2016

Kerry shares a laugh with Pope Francis following a one-on-one meeting in the Papal Apartments at the Vatican.

29. Germany — December 2016

Kerry looks at tools made of chocolate as he walks through the Weisser Zauber Christmas market in Hamburg.

30. Columbus — December 2016

Kerry–joined by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, and Ohio Governor John Kasich–pays his respects as the body of astronaut John Glenn, his friend and former U.S. Senate colleague, lies in repose in the Ohio Statehouse.

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