Finally the number of Americans getting passports has started to rise. More and more Americans have begun traveling overseas whether for better work opportunities or leisure travel.
But still, out of 315 million Americans only 110 million have passports. Are you one of the them?
If not, let me show you 20 reasons Mother Nature wants you to get a passport
Aogashima Volcano, Japan
Over 200 miles south of Tokyo in the Philippine Sea is Aogashima; the most isolated inhabited island in Japan. This small volcanic island is ringed by almost impenetrable rugged cliffs and is formed around an active volcano which last erupted in the late 1700’s. Today, the island is accessible only by boat, and there is a small village with roughly 200 inhabitants.
Hang Son Doong, Vietnam
Recently discovered, Hang Son Doong is the world’s largest cave and it actually contains a thriving underground forest ecosystem. This magnificent cave is part of a combination of over 150 interconnected cave systems with caverns tall enough to house a skyscraper. Scientists and explorers made their first expedition into the cave in 2009 and it has only been open to tourists since the beginning of 2014.
Tianzi Mountain, China
The Tianzi Mountain is actually used as a viewing point for the Wulingyuan Peak Forest; a stunning array of thin, quartz – sandstone pillars jutting over 4,000 feet straight into the air. Many of the scraggly peaks are tree covered and appear to be islands floating on a sea of clouds. This primordial landscape provided inspiration for some of the stunning vistas in the movie Avatar.
Waitomo Glow Worm Cave, New Zealand
An illuminated underground wonderland that looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie; places like this just don’t seem like they should exist in the real world. The glow is created by tiny phosphorescent worms that hang from the ceiling.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
Ok, so the Great Blue Hole is probably on every diver’s bucket list. It is known for its crystal clear, blue water and large variety of aquatic life. At its deepest point, the Blue Hole is about 400 feet deep, but what makes it so interesting is its perfectly circular shape and shallow surroundings which stand in stark contrast to the deep blue color of the hole.
Salt Flats, Bolivia
Known as the world’s largest reflective mirror, Salar de Uyuni (the Salth Flats of Bolivia), is located in the south of Bolivia. The best time to visit is during the rainy season, when a thin sheet of water covers the flats and it forms a giant mirror image of the sky. It’s also a great place for some fun camera shenanigans as the all white background creates an image with a false depth perception. Check this out for some fun photos from Salar de Uyuni.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Croatia’s most popular tourist destination and a UNESCO world heritage site, The Piltvice National Park is known for its 16 brightly colored lakes connected by cascading waterfalls. The lakes are constantly changing colors due to amount of minerals in the water and the angle of the sunlight. It’s also home to a wide assortment of wildlife including bears, wolves, foxes, and numerous bird species.
Bioluminescent Bay, Puerto Rico
While there are many areas with bioluminescent plankton around the world, few are so dramatic as Bio-Bay in Fajardo. Bright flashes of color will illuminate around you as your paddle hits the water and you kayak your way upstream into the perfectly calm and still waters of the bay. Startled fish will create bright tracers or light underwater as they scatter. Try and plan your trip for a night with a small moon.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall standing at over 3,000 feet. The height of the falls is so great that the water actually disperses into a mist before it reaches the bottom. Despite being one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions, visiting the falls is a complicated event due to its isolated location. The best way to visit is a river rafting trip during the rainy season.
The Serengeti, Tanzania
The Serengeti spans some 12,000 sq. miles bordering northern Tanzania and southern Kenya and hosts the largest land mammal migration in the world. It is one of the 10 natural wonders of the world and one of the best places to observe prides of lions in their natural habitat. Visit the Serengeti to experience the perfect African safari.
If this list wasn’t enough to inspire you to get out there and see the world…. well honestly, I don’t know what is wrong with you. For everybody else, it’s time to pick a destination and hit the road.
Author’s Favorite Travel Gear
Eceen Solar Backpack – It can be hard to keep your devices charged when on the go, but this day pack comes with a cool solar charges that clips securely in place on the front. It’s can charge anything with a USB connection, and it even has an internal battery pack for those days there are no sun.
Mava Sports Drybag – Usually when I travel I head to beach destinations in developing countries, so I need something that can keep my stuff dry when I am in the water. The 10L version is just big enough to hold my book, towel, wallet, T-shirt, and phone when I swim. It also has a convenient mesh water bottle holder on the outside.
Cabeau Evolution Travel Pillow – Ok. So I have tried a number of different travel pillows, even this funky looking thing. This one has to be my all time favorite. It gives more head support than most, is more comfortable than inflatable versions, and compresses to a fraction of its size so I can easily stash it in my pack.