Five more AMAZING places you are FORBIDDEN for visiting

The last list of amazing places you can’t visit has thus far been my most successful list, so why not make another?! As the world develops and gets smaller every day, the places you CAN’T visit are actually becoming few and far between. Nevertheless, there are some more incredibly difficult or near impossible places you’d love to visit, but simply can’t. Let’s get started shall we?


5) Saint Helena


The name might ring a bell, but high school history was so long ago, you probably forgot. St. Helena is an island (as many on this list are) between Brazil and Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean. As one of the most remote places on earth, it was where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to spend the rest of his days after nearly conquering the whole of Europe. It has been UK territory for centuries and is said to be one of the most pristine examples of Georgian architecture. In addition, it is also a Gold Tier “Dark Sky.”


Let’s Get Going!

Well, technically you can, if you have a ton of time and money. The voyage can only be done on the RMS St. Helena which leaves from Cape Verde. The cost is a bit over $3200 for the cheapest cabin and takes about 18 days. That doesn’t take into account the time and money to get to Cape Verde in the first place. Safe to say, this little luxury will cost in the neighborhood of 4k. An airport is under construction which should make it more accessible, but for us simpletons, it remains forbidden.

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10 Places that SHOULD be UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO is probably the most interesting and functional UN branch (sorry Security Council). It is dedicated to use its resources to promote education, science, and culture in the world by funding their maintenance and promotion. One example of an amazing cooperation effort for the sake of science is the formation of CERN. In case you have been living under a rock, the scientists at CERN are the creators of the Large Hadron Collider, which recently proved where gravity comes from, a previously unknown boson, disproving the widely held belief that it was magic.

In 1954, a crisis arose (cue dramatic music) as the planned Aswan Dam in Egypt would have effectively destroyed the Abu Simbel Temples, some of the most stunning and iconic structures of ancient Egypt. UNESCO sprung into action! A set of over 50 countries scrapped together some 40 million USD of the necessary 80 million to relocate the temple to higher ground. Egypt got its dam, the world kept a marvel, and no country felt an enormous financial strain as everyone chipped in a little. Win-Win-Win.

From this, UNESCO brainstormed the idea of having a list of places around the world that members would recognize as having universal value to all of humanity. For better or for worse, UNESCO often distances itself from the politics that govern our planet, evident in the recent addition of Kaesong in North Korea, despite that country’s human rights record.

While UNESCO and its so called UNESCO World Heritage Sites are a fantastic guide to some of the best things to see in the world, they sometimes really drop the ball. These are 10 places around the world that UNESCO has shockingly not given World Heritage status.

10) Bio Sphere 2, (Arizona, USA)

Biosphere 2 - UNESCO

The biosphere 2 is one of the most incredible structures with immense scientific ramifications. While most readers have probably never heard of it, it is our key to future colonization of the solar system. It is a structure built out in the Arizona desert which is completely enclosed and self-supportive. With the exception of electricity, everything is generated inside of the glass domes. Food, soil, animals, oxygen, and even water are all recycled and nothing goes in or out. It is pretty much those domes you might have seen in a science fiction show or movie.

But, is it realistic for people to live inside? Well, they have! For two years, a group of eight scientists lived in the dome, along with many different plant and animal species, proving that such technology is no longer science fiction. While the project proved to have its difficulties, and the volunteers admitted to hating each other’s guts by the end, I can’t help but be optimistic. In case you were wondering, Biosphere 1 would be the Earth. For further reading, check out  The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty minutes inside of Biosphere 2 by Jane Poynter, a book detailing the adventure.


9) Tulum (Quintana Roo, Mexico)

Ruins of Tulum

When we think about ancient Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza, Tikal, and Palenque are clearly the best known sites. Tulum, however, is one of the best preserved ruins in quite an incredible setting. The port city of Tulum lies at the edge of the Yucatan peninsula overlooking the Caribbean sea. Its waters have been named one of the top beaches in the world and is often considered one of Mexico’s best kept secret. Read more

UNESCO Monday #13: My ‘Point of View’ on Hospicio Cabañas

Hospicio Cabañas Horse

Is this a masterpiece?

What is your favorite painting? If you are a very artsy person, that might be kind of difficult to answer. For the average Joe like me though, we come up with a list of well known paintings by well known ‘masters’ of the European Renaissance Era or some guy named Van Gogh. Paintings like the ‘Starry Night,’ ‘The Last Supper,’ and the ‘Birth of Venus’ are definitely worthy of attention, no one is disputing that, but what makes them ‘masterpieces?’ Is it that they are really that good, or do we feel that way because everyone else has told us that they are? Read more

Korea’s Best: The Awesome Andong Mask Festival

Korean festivals and I have a long history that I must admit, hasn’t always been a happy one. While I love the idea of festivals and am glad that Korea has SOOO many of them, I approach them with caution. From time to time, I find myself in a place that is too crowded (Fireworks Festival), too overrated (Boryeong Mud Festival), and end up too disappointed (Yeosu Expo). I was pleasantly surprised that the Andong International Mask Festival not only lived up to my expectations, but surpassed them in every way!

Mask - Andong Mask Festival

For starters, this festival Read more

UNESCO Monday #3: The Everglades


Officially: Everglades National Park

Taken: June 23, 2013

Place: Florida, USA

As I sat in a large dorm room in Mexico next to my temporary roommates, I caught the ear of a French guy who seemed irate as soon as he heard my American accent. Thus far, he had assumed I was a local of Yucatan since I spoke Spanish.

“American?” he asked, with a scoff.

As he cooled it a bit, we began to talk about travel when he brought up that he had never been to the US, nor had any desire to. This was fine, I thought, as I have always known we aren’t exactly held on a pedestal in France, and anti-American sentiment is sometimes valid. I too have gone on rants calling LA overrated, and to be fair, I don’t exactly dream about France either. The following however, took me completely by surprise! Read more