Edit: this trip is now all done. the results of this rather odd expedition can be found in these posts. Or if you’re like most, you’ll want to jump stait into the Chernobyl highlight
This is a bit of a long winded concept.
Throughout my various travels I’ve been to a few places where it’s been generally advised not to go to for one reason or another. (Zimbabwe under the current Robert Mugabe regime, Argentina during the 2002 economic meltdown, Venezuela during the 2002 military coup or Egypt during the 1994 terrorist attacks to name a few). Without fail these haphazard adventures have turned out to be real highlights.
I occasionally cop some flack for this seemingly devil-may-care attitude to my travels. However, despite the sometimes nutty situations I’ve found myself in, I’ve never been; mugged, arrested, injured or caught any nasty diseases. Hell, I’ve never even had a childhood disease. After the years of doing this I don’t think I can just call it luck, I’m claiming good management.
Also, I’m fairly convinced at this point that the world isn’t nearly as crap as it’s made out to be in the popular media. It’s my opinion that even the worlds dodgy places can be well worth a visit.
In one sentence, the world really isn’t that bad and when it is, I’m perfectly able to handle it. At least that’s my theory and it’s a theory I’m willing to put to the test.
To this end, with the help of various online forums, I’ve come up with the following five generally Ill-advised travel destinations. I’ll hasten to add that the below is NOT my own opinion of these places, If anything I’m trying to debunk these ideas. This is merely how the these destinations are seen from a media standpoint (links to relevant articles are underlined below).
Like last time, this whole adventure will be played out right here on the web as it happens. If you’re interested enough feel free to signup to the newsletter in the side bar on the left.
Anyway, I give you the ill-advised world tour 2006
Bali, Indonesia. (map)
Over touristy, Terrorist threats.
Quote from the Australian Government Travel advisory:
“We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, due to the very high threat of terrorist attack”
Once a virtual Australian colony for drunken Australians to let their hair down, This tropical destination has lost it’s shine in recent years. Mainly due to numerous terrorist bombings and Australian citizens held on controversial Drug charges. The current possibility of foreigners being abducted and held for ransom doesn’t help its image either.
Okay, so this is an easy one and probably the closest I’m ever going to get to a “normal” holiday
Appalling Human rights record, generally boycotted by most official bodies
Quote from Lonely Planet travel guides:
“The decision to travel to Myanmar should not be made lightly.”
Since 1988 Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has been under the military rule of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The SPDC recently made the news when it moved its capital city to Pyinmana on the advice of the presidents astrologer. Myanmar also has all the fun stuff of any repressed nation; Ethnic cleansing, landmines, state sanctioned torture, slave labor and harsh censorship. The previous sentence could easily get me jailed in Myanmar and indeed at least one foreigner has.
As if this was off putting enough, Myanmar can tend to be difficult for foreign travelers. OFAC sanctions mean there are no banks or ATMS and transport is strictly controlled by the military.
||Destination3:Transdniester, Eastern Europe (map)
Shaky ceasefire in its civil war with Moldova.
Doesn’t technically exist
Quote from BBC News:
“The international community does not recognise its self-declared statehood, and the territory, which remains in a tense stand-off with Moldova, is often portrayed as a hotbed of crime”
Don’t bother looking this one up on the map. Nobody other than itself recognises Transdniester. When Moldova succeeded from the former USSR and looked to the west, the Transdniester region clung to the old soviet ways (It even has the hammer and sickle on its flag). This unfortunately resulted in the currently unresolved civil war leaving Transdniester to become an alleged mafia-run fiefdom able to survive thanks only to criminal profits and support from certain circles in Russia and Ukraine
Dictatorship, At least partly Radioactive
Quote from In your Pocket travel guides:
“Ah, Belarus! Stuck in the 1980s …ruled by a dictator with a cheesy moustache … 23% radioactive … what’s not to love?”
Ranked 151 out of 157 on the economic freedom index , this former soviet state has a reputation for being a repressed dictatorship. The general lack of freedom of expression as well as deaths and disappearances of opposition leaders doesn’t help this reputation either. Just to make the county more interesting, When The Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Ukraine exploded in 1986, Belarus was the unfortunate victim of it’s fallout due the prevailing winds at the time. Around 60% of the radioactive fallout fell on Belarus. The Southern parts of the country are still contaminated to this day. As it is, it is those areas where I will be entering the country. The trusty Geiger counter will be coming out and will be especially needed for the next destination…..
Chernobyl, Ukraine. (map)
Have you been living under a rock? It’s F#$@ing Radioactive!
In April of 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear power station suffered a meltdown pouring radioactive fallout on the surrounding areas, causing deaths from radiation sickness and later on, various cancers from radiation exposure. All this has also put a bit of a damper on the place as a travel destination. Regardless of the bad rap I’ll be traveling there to see if the nuclear boogie man is as bad as he is cracked up to be.
This is also the destination that gets the most “What the F@#$ are you thinking?” sort of reaction. With that in mind, there will probably be a number of other posts about this particular destination before and after I travel. I’ll also be carrying my trusty Geiger counter and ANSTO (the people who run the Lucus Heights Nuclear reactor) have been kind enough to test me for radioactive traces upon my return.
For anyone still reading, The entire flight Itinerary can be viewed here
if you want to follow this really closely.
Any questions or comments?