Why do we travel

Why do we travel? | Sure, tourism helps economies. Several countries benefit in large parts from tourism in an economic context. But that’s not the reason for you to pack your bag and ride into the unknown. There have been 999 million international tourist arrivals counted last year. We didn’t ask all of those tourists about the reasons for their journeys. But those we asked had this to say:

Why do we travel
Why do we travel?


#1: To see new places.  A combination of curiosity and the expectation of having wow moments drives us out the door straight to the next airport.

#2: To relax from stress.  The urge to flee from work or even from the daily grind at home came in as second highest entry in our list.

#3: for adventures.  Especially the younger explorers named this as their main reason for a vacation. Rock climbing, scuba diving, surfing, bungee jumping, snow boarding … any kind of adrenalin enhancing activity is fine.

#4: for party.  The next five reasons did cross the line kind of together. Each got roughly 5% of the pie. Again it was the younger folks in need of parties to make a journey worth taking.

#5: for fucking.  Yeap. For many man and some women that’s a legit reason to buy an airline ticket and relax abroad. Preferred destinations: Thailand, Brazil, Kenya, Philippines, Dominican Republic. But it doesn’t end there. Almost every country has a place reserved for this kind of tourist.

#6: for gambling.  Las Vegas is the idol. But other tourist destinations catch up and get a fair share: Macau, Monaco, Reno, even Singapore.

#7: for food.  Satisfying your taste buds can be a valid reason that drives you to far-away places. High on the foody-travelers list are: San Francisco, Montreal, Singapore, Paris – the ‘melting pot’ places.

#8: to learn a foreign language.  Last not least this one might surprise you. But quite a few travellers use vacations to improve their language skills.

Conclusion: Each of us might travel for different reasons but generally the majority of those reasons listed is centered around the idea of experiencing new things and relax.

Why do we travel. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Versova Beach Mumbai

Versova Beach Mumbai | For decades Versova Beach in Mumbai (Bombay) was just an ugly symbol of beach pollution at its worst. Disaster tourists from all over the world came here to witness new records of extreme: One million tons of rubbish. All they could see was waves of plastic containers, bottles, milk packs, cement bags, discarded items of clothing, cigarette butts, snakes of rope, straws, human feces; all topped with an awful smell.

versova beach mumbai cleanup
Versova Beach, Mumbai (India). A shame of mankind, but there was meant to be an end to this mess …

Western societies have routine workflows in place when it comes to a clean decent beach. It does not mean that there is no litter found at the coastlines of Mallorca or the Baltic Sea. Tides bring in rubbish even to the remotest areas far from any direct human contact. But if there is no regular cleaning service in place, the continuous growth in the amount of solid waste thrown away combined with a very slow rate of degradation of most items, are leading to a gradual increase in marine litter at any beach. Mumbai does not have such regular cleaning service. Instead the employees of the city fight with civic apathy, and loose. Mumbai’s civic body can easily replicate garbage collection models implemented in countries like Japan or Germany, but it doesn’t.

In October 2015 United Nations patron Lewis Pugh and lawyer Afroz Shah have kickstarted the biggest beach cleanup in the history of mankind. Almost one year later the fruits of there efforts can be seen. A stunning transformation of Versova Beach is taking place. Since the group started, they have cleared up approx. 1,800 tonnes of waste. Every day has been impactful. It’s quite amazing that a few people can make such a big difference. Every day volunteers start to trickle in from 10am, putting on gloves to collect rubbish. Older generations of local fishermen already compare todays Versova Beach with the one they used to know 30 years ago. At some point the work might be done here. But there are 18 more heavily polluted Mumbai beaches drowning in trash …

versova beach mumbai
Versova Beach Mumbai 2016. Photo by Utcursch – CC BY-SA 3.0

This update we recently found at Hindustan Times: Mumbai’s Versova beach clean-up suspended after 109 weeks, as BMC fails to clear collected waste, City-based lawyer Afroz Shah said 50 truckloads of trash have not been removed since monsoon -> Hindustan Times

Versova Beach Mumbai. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Salton Sea California

Salton Sea California | Let’s take on another weird place: Salton Sea, just a few miles south of Palm Springs in sunny California, and not too far away from the Mexican border. Disaster tourists find a gem here. Salton Sea is a highly toxic artificial lake. But this was not always the case. At its peak, Salton Sea California was drawing more yearly visitors than Yosemite NP. By 1960, the Salton Sea had developed into a well-known tourist hot spot. Names like Salton City, Salton Sea Beach, Desert Shores, Desert Beach, North Shore, Bombay Beach did draw a decent amount of attention among holiday makers. Several multi-million dollar yacht clubs and marinas sprung up around the shoreline of Salton Sea. Golf courses began to appear everywhere. Even a 500 mile powerboat endurance race established some kind of tradition: Thousands showed up to watch the so-called “Salton Sea 500”.

Salton Sea - Disaster Tourist Attraction #1
Salton Sea California – Disaster Tourist Attraction #1

Unfortunately, little thought was devoted to the management of this artificial lake, that appeared in 1905 after water from the heavily controlled Colorado River accidently flew into Imperial Valley thanks to a chain of stupid moves by engineers of the CDC (California Development Company). Salton Sea lacks any outflow. In the late 1970s a series of heavy tropical storms caused the water level to rapidly rise and flood its banks. Surrounding towns were severely damaged, many beyond repair. Tourism began to shift away. In the 1990s the lake began to recede dramatically, shaking off most residences and businesses. Changing water-management priorities diverted more water from agricultural areas to other cities.

Salton Sea - Disaster Tourist Attraction #1
Salton Sea at some point counted more tourists than Yosemite NP.

Since the Salton Sea has no outlet, the salt and chemicals dumped by agricultural runoffs and industries began to rise while the water level remained the same, resulting in increased concentration of toxic chemicals. Over the years, fish began to die in large masses –  tens of thousands of dead fish and birds began regularly washing up on the shores. Then in the summer of 1999, approx. 7.5 million Tilapia died from oxygen starvation caused by the overabundant algae. The authorities knew: this case is lost. Trotting carcasses rimmed parts of the Sea for over ten years. Combined with the decaying algae, the smell was overwhelming.

Salton Sea - Disaster Tourist Attraction #1
130 miles south of Los Angeles lies Salton Sea, a disaster tourist attraction.

On October 28, 2015 the smog-control agency for Los Angeles issued an odor advisory for the intense rotten-egg stench that was permeating the air of southern California’s Coachella Valley. The source: Salton Sea was burping up hydrogen sulfide, a gas created by decaying organic matter trapped beneath the water. It was the Salton Sea’s fifth odor advisory for October alone; depending on winds, the hydrogen sulfide can be smelled as far as 130 miles away in Los Angeles. But that smell is only one part of a more serious public-health problem, one that has the potential to affect millions of people in southern California and beyond. The Salton Sea is shrinking, a phenomenon due to rapid evaporation — summer temperatures around the lake routinely top 110 degrees. And the window of time to do anything about it is closed.

Salton Sea - Disaster Tourist Attraction #1
Salton Sea California – Disaster Tourist Attraction #1

Salton Sea California. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Weird Places: Japan

Weird Places: Japan | Our weird place no. 3 is the entire country of Japan. For the western mindset Japan can be quite weird. Japanese people eat raw fish in the morning. They celebrate the phallus. They nap on cockroach cushions. They pretend to sleep at work and they buy snake wine or shrimp ice cream for desert … Here is a list of things about Japan that baffle foreigners.

Slurping is a good thing. Noodles, especially buckwheat noodles (called “Soba”), need to be slurped loudly when eaten. That indicates the food is delicious, which is considered to be a compliment to the chef. Such behavior would insult any other chef outside Japan.

The smallest hotel room in the world to sleep in you find in Japan. A so-called capsule hotel is originated in Osaka. It features a set of extremely small capsules designed for an overnight stay. To a western tourist this is simply torture. Some German travelers checked it out and wrote about it -> anmacher.com/tokio

Inemuri = Napping during work hours. In Europe, if an employee is falling asleep in the office, this will most likely earn him a one-way ticket to the exit door. Japanese business culture is different. It recognizes the hard working employee. Means: you work so hard that you are forced to take a nap – an “inemuri” (napping on the job). But rules do apply! One must remain upright. It is said that some people even fake “inemuri”, to make the boss believe they are working hard. Welcome to Japan.

This 4-minute video clip we found on Vimeo. It brings you is a short but cool collection of moments and memories of a railway journey through Japan. The makers experienced a culture that balances its rich tradition with a futuristic present. Filmed by Vincent Urban, Alex Schiller and Alex Tank.

weird places japan
What the front door? Japan is weird …

What the front door? Japan is weird ...
Too much snake wine or too much raw fish …

weird places japan
Weird places Japan

weird places japan
Diet Water … Yep! That will work out just fine if you really believe in it.

weird places japan
Weird places Japan.

weird places japan
You thought you’ve seen it all. But then came phallus ice cream.

Diet Water ... Yep! That will work out just fine.
Jeans fashion in Japan.

Book a hotel in Japan
Never mind its weirdness! Book a hotel in Japan.

Weird Places Japan. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Ice Crystal Caves Iceland

Ice Crystal Caves IcelandWeird Places, Vol. 2: The Ice Crystal Caves in Iceland. Are you up for chasing some ice? At a wintertime when people in the northern hemisphere do anything but traveling, Iceland offers a rare tourist attraction: Between November and March ice caving tours are a popular treat for tourists. It’s the time of the year when ice caves are stable enough to enter, because outside temperatures constantly settle far below freezing. These crystal caves within Icelandic glaciers are just mesmerizing wonders of nature. But unfortunately they are far off any civilization, which means: 5 hours away from Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. Several companies offer guided tours at around US$150 for 3 hours of ice caving. Some head to the Vatnajokull Glacier in South East Iceland, others to the Langjokull glacier in South West Iceland. One of these ice caving tour guides is GlacierGuides.is. Don’t try to enter the caves alone. You will not survive. And book well in advance. The tours are usually sold out for people arriving at the site on short notice.

Ice Crystal Caves Iceland

Ice Crystal Caves Iceland
Ice Crystal Caves Iceland: Book tours well in advance.

Ice Crystal Caves Iceland
Ice Crystal Caves Iceland: Don’t go in there alone.

Ice Crystal Caves Iceland
Ice Crystal Caves Iceland: Mesmerizing stuff.

Ice Crystal Caves Iceland. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Header photo by Ian McKenzie, Alberta Speleological Society, CC BY-SA 2.5 -> Ponded Water Ice in Serendipity