Welcome to today’s world: unprecedented globalisation, exponential wealth-creation and capitalism, the rise of developing economies among previously undeveloped continents, free and unlimited access to the world and all that happens via the internet and social media.
Sounds great, right?
Here’s the thing – the world is becoming smaller and we’ve known about it for centuries. Ever since we began regularly trading goods internationally in the 1500s, we have had more and more access to other countries’ produce more easily. Today, your local food store probably houses imported goods from more countries than you could name. And it’s nice – we like the freedom to choose what we want.
But this freedom gained in access to other nation’s produce is limited to what we can smell, taste and use. Freedom of the internet and social media, however, is a more poisonous freedom. It spoils the way we see the world – dictated by those who publish online content, far too often created to appeal to the masses and not necessarily accurate.
If I were to turn on my phone now I would have instant access to what’s happening in the world. Our generation is obsessed with it too – we love to know what’s going on – gossip, news and friend’s updates among other things literally take up hours of our precious time. And why not? We are only human and therefore naturally inquisitive and curious right?
But some of us brought up in this generation are frustrated – not all of us yearn to be “connected” online.
By all means this is no revolutionary issue – credible films and novels such as The Beach, Fight Club and Into The Wild portray this anger well. But we are on a trajectory today whereby more and more of us have access to the internet. We have become so engrossed in this world accessible only through our fingertips and eyes that we have forgotten what it’s like to use our real senses and form our own opinions on the world. Sometimes our world’s mysteries and natural wonders around us like new culture, new places and new people are best kept secret until we experience them first-hand in real life, not through a small screen. The excitement is gone – everything we do and feel and experience is through a screen and some code.
The real experiences that make life worth living are the things we do, the adventures we have and the legacy we leave behind. As we work our lives away from university and up the ranks of business, we gain more responsibility and suddenly find there is less time for the adventures. Yet our generation today now has more disposable income and the opportunity even our parents didn’t have. With accessible transportation to far-off and unimaginable places just a few clicks away – let’s re-ignite the excitement back into our lives before it’s too late.
This article is your map to new places you have to see and experience first-hand. Below are some carefully selected locations you’ve probably never heard of that you need to visit before the flocks of tourists inevitably arrive looking for that perfect social media picture or before you need to be home by 6pm to look after the kids. Let’s see the world’s wonders before they are spoiled by the internet and our future.
Here are the top places to travel to you have never heard of and some inspiration to go on that adventure before it’s too late.
Hallerbos Forest, Belgium:
This enchanting forest is over 1300 acres with a bluebell carpet that only covers the floor for a few weeks each Spring. It has been kept in perfect condition since the Germans removed many of the trees for production during WW1. Although one of the more popular suggestions in this guide, it’s mystical nature is something that cannot be avoided. It’s only really accessible by car from Brussels and known to be one of Belgium’s best kept secrets.
Maly Semiachik, Russia:
Looking for something a little fiery? This stratovolcano is one of Russia’s natural wonders – located in Eastern Kamchatka. A hot, acidic crater lake fills the active Troitsky Crater – it’s 700m deep and was formed around 400 years ago after a large volcanic explosion. The sulphur causes the lake to be that beautiful colour and its heated at around 30-40 degrees c. Shame you can’t go for a quick dip but it would make the perfect photo.
The Canola Flower Fields, China:
This quiet area of Yunnan County transforms into this exquisite sea of yellow every year. This natural spectacle occurs in early Spring where the golden-yellow rapeseed flowers bloom to as far as the eye can see. This phenomenal happening could not be missed off the list. This place is popular with photographs and can be accessed quite easily by bus from Luoping. Note the 100-year old Lingyi temple for spectacular views.
The Stone Forest, Madagascar:
Yep. I couldn’t quite believe this place existed on Earth either. What. A. View. Also known as the Grand Tsingy, this stone forest is isolated, inhospitable and home to 300ft razor-sharp rocks caused by tropical rain erosion. This place is home to 11 species of lemur and is popular among experienced explorers.
Lençois Marangenses, Brazil:
This national park is located in North-Eastern Brazil. There’s nowhere else on Earth where you can see such a collection of large white sweeping dunes that houses collections of fresh water in the valleys between the dunes. The resulting lagoons are caused by the rains known to this region – not far from the Amazon Basin. The park has no direct access roads and is difficult to reach. You are looking at a bus route of 160 miles from Sao Luis.
The Elephant Rock, Iceland:
It’s hard to imagine this is a natural rock formation. Situated off the coast of Iceland on Heimaey Island– home to just 4,500 inhabitants — the enormous rock was caused by the highly active “Mountain of Fire” volcano– Eldfell. The cooling of the sea meets the erupting lava causing unusual rock formations like nothing else.
Lake Baikal, Russia:
Perhaps one of the more recognised on this list. Lake Baikal, known in Mongolian as the “Nature Lake” is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world – containing 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. At over a mile deep too – this super-clear, 25 million year-old lake deserves a trip visit out of sheer respect alone.
Lord Howe Island, Australia:
This crescent-shaped island stretches just 7 miles from top to bottom. It’s a 2 hour flight north-east of Sydney housing just 18 small hotels on the island. This place is pretty exclusive – but it’s worth the trip as the white-sand and blue lagoons mix so well with the emerald green mountains at either end. You won’t find anything quite like this elsewhere in the world.
Lake Abraham, Canada:
Unlike the other natural phenomenons noted, lake Abraham was artificially made in 1972 at the foothill of the Canadian Rockies. However, the naturally frozen bubbles that rise under the ice are caused by the methane gas realised which freezes as it gets to the cold lake surface. Is there anything else that needs to be said?
Crystal Mill, Colorado, USA:
This 1892 wooden powerhouse mill is accessible from Marble Colorado only via 4×4. The Mill is home to a water turbine that drives an air compressor used to power tools and machinery. The Mill has not been used since 1917, but a visit here is like stepping back into untouched history. And with an autumn back-drop that like below, this certainly makes our list. Wow.
Raa Atoll, Maldives:
Vaadhoo is one of the inhabited islands of Raa Atoll with a population of just 500. However, this island is famous for the “Sea of Stars”. A marine bioluminescence is generated by phytoplankton which creates a marvellous spectacle. This place is like Heaven on Earth housing the most Romanic natural lighting in the world. It’s like a scene from Avatar.
Iceland really does have its fair share of must-see natural wonders. The jaw-dropping glacial wonders within the Crystal Cave are a must-see. It has emerged as a result of a glacier meeting the Icelandic coastline and makes one of the most beautiful natural wonders you could ever see. A must.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this little insight into some of the amazing places you have probably never heard about. Use this as inspiration to start your own adventure before it’s too late.
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