“Deadline travel” is growing travel trend in 2017, as many of the world’s top traveling destinations are literally fading away –whether for political reasons, or they’re on the verge of being declared man-made disasters, or they’re speedily vanishing under the riptide.
This post is a top 10 list of destinations we’d like to visit before they change irrevocably, and what we’d like to do while we’re there.
When we plan our trips, we plan them in weeks or months, not days. We still work a few hours per day on our laptops from wherever we go, so we need to balance tourist activities with day-to-day work hours.
In order to be realistic, if we aren’t occasionally tethered to a WiFi connection, we can’t go there long –which greatly affected choices for this list.
1. Republic of Maldives
Why? You guessed it –it’s sinking into the sea. It is estimated that the Maldives will be under water in my lifetime.
Best time of year to visit: I’m not one to mind a monsoon, but with such little space to move around (or hide) I’d make an exception and pay the higher price of visiting during high season. Avoiding the Maldives from May to October would be a safe bet, as monsoon season peaks around June.
What we’d like to do there: Work off all those Italian carbohydrates and do a lot of swimming, and of course, join the ranks of the hundreds of travel bloggers before me and fly my drone, snap really cliché photos, and drink lots of fruity beverages.
2. Great Barrier Reef
Why? Rising temperatures and the acidification of the ocean due to climate change have sealed its fate. I’m not being cynical when I say its days are numbered, and it’s an absolute crime of humanity that we’ve allowed this to progress so quickly.
Best time of year to visit: Normally I’d say that the best time to visit the Barrier Reef is from June to November –but at this point with time what it is, I’d say anytime but December to March because you simply won’t see much, or be safe, on account of it being both really hot, and really rainy.
What we’d like to do there: Make paper Mache hats, mostly. And go snowshoeing. Ok, ok –you know what we’re going to do –we’re going to rush to complete our PADI certification and go see it for ourselves. And we’re going to be incredibly neat and tidy about it because we don’t want to make it worse.
I’m worried that even something as minor as a fart from under my wetsuit is going to be the end of this fragile place. I feel guilty even wanting to see it, sort of like slowing down to stare at people after a fatal car wreck. A part of me feels that maybe I should just leave this one to the scientists and not bombard the area further. What do you think?
3. Havana, Cuba
Why? On July 20, 2015, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations and after 54 years of trade embargo and isolation, Cuba is once again able to trade with the United States. Until 2015, US tourists were only able to visit the country by flying through Canada and receiving their visa stamps on a separate, un-affixed page in their passport.
The influx of trade and tourism from the United States since 2015 has begun transforming the country, which had almost seemed frozen in time from when the embargo began. Until present, classic cars, bicycles, buses, and motorcycles have been meticulously maintained and preserved because Cubans were unable to import simple replacement parts from auto and motorcycle parts stores in America.
The culture of Cuba has been without American influence for such a long time, it’s been able to retain a flavor of authenticity few countries have been able to preserve. In the place of American music, movies, and literature, Cubans have always had a thriving arts community.
This makes Cuba one of the last places on earth to visit where the long finger of American influence hasn’t touched it for over half a century. In 2017, the face of Cuba is changing rapidly, which is why it’s more important than ever to visit before it’s old ways are lost forever.
The earth may be falling apart, but the tide of American culture is going to destroy Cuba before any riptide does.
Best time of year to visit: The best time to visit Cuba is from December to May, as their wet season starts around June and progresses to probable hurricanes that often hit the island country until late October.
What we’d like to do there: Personally, I’ve got rhythm, but some parts of my body never got the memo –I’d like to take a month or two to learn to Salsa dance with my wife, visit some of Hemingway’s old haunts, drive in old cars, tour the island, take a lot of drone videos and photographs, smoke cigars, and if I can afford such luxurious travel; a few glasses of Havana Club Máximo Extra and some time alone with a notebook.
4. Seychelles Islands
Why? This Dali-esque wonderland is eroding away so badly it looks like it’s going full acid trip. But this is no time for poorly placed puns. The Seychelles Islands have been high on my list for years for their almost alien, surreal beauty and they too are being claimed by the sea due to erosion, climate change and the destruction of natural coastal processes.
Best time of year to visit: The Seychelles Islands can be visited any time, all year around although some months are hotter, windier, or slightly cooler than others. The weather patterns around Seychelles are governed by two opposing trade winds, which move in and out at different points throughout the year. We’d probably visit during April and May or October and November, as those times are most ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
What we’d like to do there: Swimming, snorkeling, and of course, taking insane amounts of photos.
5. Venice, Italy
Why? Severe flooding and rising waters are beginning to become more prevalent. With so many canals, climate change won’t be friendly to this quaint Italian town.
Best time of year to visit: I’m told by fellow nomads that I should wait until the city is deserted by tourists around November. High season is typically during April – June and October.
What we’d like to do there: Well, I’d ditch Paleo and combat sugar headaches with a lot of aspirin, to say the least. I’d eat so much ossobuco, scaloppine di vitello, and asiago cheese I’d nearly sink their traghetti. For me it would be about relaxing, eating, drinking wine, and who knows, maybe knocking up my wife.
6. Pyramids of Egypt
Why? Although you’d think that water rising up from under the ground in the desert would be a welcome change, rising groundwater in Egypt threatens the tombs, pyramids, and monuments that are spread out around its Memphis and Necropolis. Pollution, political unrest, and local construction are also causes for real concern.
Best time of year to visit: To avoid the crowds, high price of accommodation, and horrible heat; we’d probably visit during March through April or October and November.
What we’d like to do there: We’d go for the adventure.
We’d visit the Pyramids, tombs, the Sphinx, Valley of Kings, Abu Simbel and Karnak Temples, and the burial grounds of Saqqara. I’d also pull out the drone and throw on some motorcycle gear for copious amounts of time spent off-roading over sand dunes.
7. The Dead Sea
Why? For its rich history, the health benefits and uniqueness of the Dead Sea, and to explore.
In recent years the Dead Sea has been drying up, and one can’t go more than a day without reading about turmoil in this part of the world –it’s a miracle that after hundreds of years, much of the area still retains its original beauty.
Best time of year to visit: Summer in Israel is just like back home in Canada; June through August –which is ideal for beach trippin’. Although if we went, touring would likely be a bigger priority so we’d opt for Spring or Autumn.
What we’d like to do there: Tour the surrounding areas of the river Jordan; the Old City of Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western Wall.
As someone who grew up reading the Bible, it would be an incredible experience –I think locals are incredibly fortunate to have such history surrounding them all the time.
8. The Amazon, South America
Why? When I was a kid, we were told of the thousands of acres being destroyed daily in the Amazon, and we even bought parts of it to protect it from loggers. Today, it wasn’t enough to save it. Water sources are contaminated, farming is destroying natural habitats, flooding and warmer weather are all wreaking havoc on the Amazon.
Best time of year to visit: High water season (December to May) allows for boats to get further into the Amazon on boat excursion, and June to November are ideal for going on foot.
What we’d like to do there: Two reasons; punish our bodies on the terrain, and see living things we never knew existed. The punishment is the price of admission, as I’ve heard from friends who have already made the journey. But if it’s adventure you seek, the Amazon has it all.
After that, I’d follow it up with a trip to Medellin as it’s a popular digital nomad destination and I’ve got a lot of friends there.
9. Shanghai, China
Why? Shanghai and other parts of China are on my list, shoulder-to-shoulder with a number of other countries throughout Asia like Vietnam, Malaysia, and of course, I’d like to visit Bangkok, Thailand again. Like Bangkok, Shanghai is another major city that’s threatened by rising sea levels.
Best time of year to visit: High season is during the summer months, so I’d visit during October and November as to avoid the heat, the rain, or the crowds.
What we’d like to do there: Ideally, we’d spend a month there. I imagine it feels a lot like living in the future; Blade Runner meets Fifth Element. I’ve never been to a city quite like it.
I’d like to see what a Maglev train is like, take in the museums, visit Disneyland (would be my wife’s second time), and just explore. I’m already acclimatized the weather, much of the food, and the large chaotic crowds.
I’d probably try my hand at finding a house sitting gig on TrustedHousesitters, as friend has done this and the view from the apartment she stayed at was beyond belief.
After that, I’d pick up a bunch of power banks and head for the Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Siberian Railway circuit. I’m not a fan of sitting that long –but it’s a major bucket list item.
10. Key West, Florida
Why? Rising sea water is causing problems throughout Florida, however Key West may be one of the most dramatically affected areas.
Best time of year to visit: Winter is high season, so scratch that. I’d visit sometime between March and May.
What we’d like to do there: This is the only American destination I put on the list –although I do plan to run down a few sets of motorcycle tires doing a cross-continent trip through North America. And I really struggled not to put New Orleans on this list. I lived just over 5 years in Montreal, and I’ve always wanted to see their spin on Francophone culture. And I will. But that’s a thought for another listicle.
I want to visit Key West before it disappears, as it’s always seemed like one of those back woods places that didn’t strike me as a major tourist spot. From the Hemingway House to old Beach Boys songs, I can’t articulate a clear reason, it’s more of a feeling of walking into a room and you can feel that someone just left. It’s the journey of passing through all of the other small islands, first. I’ve read that it’s the laid back charm that gets you – the Keys Disease. Of course, I don’t know a soul who’s actually been there.
I think I’d wind up doing much of what I currently do here in the Philippines; write, relax, and spend time staring at the sea most days I’m near one. If it worked for Papa, it’ll work for me, too. For a while, anyway.
I know time is running out a lot faster for many other places around the world. Making this list was really difficult, and I know a couple of my choices were downright strange (Key West, really?).
What would you choose for your “Deadline Travel” list? I’ve already missed the ideal season to visit a few of these destinations in 2017, so help me prioritize for next year? Leave a comment!
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