To be a traveler is a hidden longing, inherent more or less in everybody. Travel has various forms, and one of the basic features of the classical traveling is to move from one geographical point to another. These points are also part of the travel if they are not the place, called “home”. And what makes traveling full and meaningful is the geography– a subject that many people study at school. You have read books and accomplished home works, which has not been always so exciting. But how about preparing your luggage, get your tickets and go to explore the real geography of the Earth? Could a traveler not love geography? And can you study it well only from home?
Geography and travel
I have heard many people saying “I like traveling” (in fact, people who say that they don’t like traveling are very rare). But in reality, most of these “travelers” don’t know how to get the best from the travel. People go on a trip for various purposes- for a holiday relaxing, for parties, for cultural travel, for food experience, for business, or even just for vanity. Most of them never thinking about geography, not realizing that geographical knowledge can be their invaluable guide.
If you are a party-lover, why don’t you join parties just in your home city? Why do you spend hundreds of dollars to do it in Bali, Thailand, on a Caribbean island, or Las Vegas? Obviously, because there is something different, isn’t it? Something local, special, that you can’t find it anywhere else on the Earth. You may not realize it, but you know about this “special” from the subject, called geography (although exactly this “party-making” detail may not be taught in the school).
Can a traveler be not interested in geography?
Again, if you are just looking for holiday relax somewhere, let’s say- the Maldives, Hawaii, or some other „tropical paradise”…Tropical paradise? Again, it is geography. The Tropics is a geographical zone of the Earth on both sides of the equator. Yes, you can just follow the tourist ads, but if you know geography, you could get much more from the place where you go to relax for your holiday.
And it is the same as every other kind of travel, as some kinds are even more involved in geography. So, can a traveler be not interested in geography? If this traveler is not an explorer- maybe yes, but if he wants to explore the Earth, geography is mandatory. Not just mandatory, it becomes a pleasure and passion.
So, let’s talk about geography, and remember what have we studied at school. At that time we have studied it for a better score. But now, it is time to remember it for a better trip.
The word „geography” comes from the ancient Greek words „geo”, which means „Earth”, and „graphia”, which means „description”. So, the science „geography” literally means „Earth description”, which today is a bit extended to „planet description”, applying the same method to the other planets and even other cosmic bodies. But let’s back to the Earth, for now traveling is possible almost only on our planet.
The Earth, as well as all other cosmic bodies, are a bit „inconvenient” to be presented in books. It is because the books are two-dimensional, but these bodies are three-dimensional. And the most realistic presentation is by a globe. It gives you a true image of what our planet looks like. But it is inconvenient- you can’t see too many details, for the globe has to be too big. You can’t see it simultaneously, because it is round- you have to rotate it or go behind it to see what’s on the other side. Also, you can’t put it in your bookshelf, it is not a book.
So, the other solution is the map. It is two-dimensional (unless it is made to present the relief), and it can be placed in a book. But it can’t give you a realistic image of the places on the Earth’s surface, because again, the Earth is three-dimensional. To present the whole surface of our planet, it must be twisted on the map. As a result, the small Arctic islands (in reality not larger than Belgium, for example), look as large as Africa on the map. There are many attempts to make the maps more accurate, especially when they have to present the polar regions, and to some extent they are successful.
But the real map images came only during the last 20 years. Today we have Google Earth, which shows the best of the Earth, not just as a map, but as a real satellite image. And the two-dimensional screen of our computers allow to enjoy the real three-dimensional Earth without problems.
Latitude and longitude
So, as I mentioned above, a significant and basic part of the travel is moving on the surface of the Earth, from one point to another. And all the points, on the whole surface of our planet have their coordinates- a unique address showing where exactly are they located. Although the Earth is three-dimensional, its surface is still two-dimensional, and the coordinates are defined by latitudes and longitudes, which, from the other side, are defined by the rotating of the Earth around its axis.
Thus the basic latitude is the equator- 0°, and the two farthest points from it, through which the Earth’s axis passes, are the North and the South poles, with latitude 90°. Every point between the equator and the poles has latitude somewhere between 0 and 90, marked by N (north) if it is north of the equator, or S (south) if it is south of it.
And for the basic (0°) is defined the line starting from the South Pole, crossing the equator (somewhere near Africa and the Gulf of Guinea), passing through the famous Greenwich Station not far from London and reaching the North Pole. Its opposite line passes on 180° (through the Pacific). Everything east of Greenwich to the 180° line is in the East Hemisphere, and the rest- in the West Hemisphere, with longitudes between 0 and 180.
Identifying the coordinates of the Earth
Today we are lucky again- we have GPS, showing our exact geographical location. In an ideal world, every point on our Earth (with its geographical address) should be a subject of travel and should be accessed by travelers. Or, we the travelers should be able to reach and explore every point on the Earth and its geography. But in reality, most of the points on the Earth are difficult to access, because they are on oceans, on extreme areas like glaciers, jungles or deserts, or are limited by humans- by wars or are just in restricted (for some reasons) areas. Anyway, they remain subjects for travel and travelers, and you can visit and touch at least the Earth’s Equator, tropic circles, polar circles, and the poles.
So, as we know, the points on the Earth’s surface are endless in number. In other words- you have an unlimited number of places that you can visit (again, in a perfect world). But these points are different- they have different altitudes (above or below the sea level), different kinds of surface- ground or water, different climate, different plants, animals, history, demographics, politics and modern life. All these features are geographical layers, criteria, and they can be described by layer-themed maps (climatic maps, political maps, relief maps, economical maps, ethnical maps, etc.)
The surface of the Earth- land and water
The whole surface of the Earth is 510 072 000 km2 in area. It is divided into land (148 940 000 km2) and water (361 132 000 km2). The land consists of continents and islands. The continents are Eurasia (divided into Europe and Asia), Africa, North America (with Central America), South America, Australia, and Antarctica. Eurasia and Africa make the largest piece of land, and the two Americas- the second largest piece of land. And the islands are all other smaller pieces of land, from Greenland, which is the largest island, to the smallest piece of rock standing above the sea surface.
About the water surface- it is divided into 4 oceans, which are joined by straits or larger water territories. The southern parts of the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean are so vast that they are sometimes united into a 5th ocean- the Southern Ocean. The ocean parts located between islands, continental mainland, and peninsulas are usually defined as seas. And all the boundaries between the land and the water are called coastline.
How to explore the surface of the Earth
So, the best way to explore and “measure” the land and water is to visit their central and their extreme points. For example, you can reach the northern, the southern, the eastern and the western points of Eurasia, as well as the extreme points of every other continent (Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica) or island (like the most extreme places in Europe). You can also reach the central points of the land pieces- the farthest points from their coastline. It is the same in the bodies of water, however, it would be much more difficult to reach the central point of an ocean, unless you have your own yacht. Anyway, such kinds of journeys would be very exciting, especially for people who love geography.
As we know, the surface of the Earth is not flat, but it has its relief. It has various forms, on the land, and underwater. Thus, the surface of the Earth is spread not only in latitudes and longitudes but also in altitudes. The basic altitude is the sea level- Altitude 0. Yes, it is fluctuating a little between low and high tides, but there is still an easily calculable average, and this is 0 m/ft altitude. Then, every other point has its altitude- above or below the sea level.
We know the highest point on the Earth- Mt. Everest (8848 m). The lowest point on the land is the coast of the Dead Sea- 430 m below the sea level. And the lowest point underwater in the bottom of the Mariana Trench- 10 984 m (or the unconfirmed 11 034 m) below the surface of the ocean.
These three points, as well as all other points on the Earth, are located in various kinds of terrain. There are plains, mountains, valleys, plateaus, and many other larger or smaller formations. Normally, the mountains are chained by watersheds, and the plains and the valleys are the places for the flowing rivers- everything in various altitudes.
How to explore the relief of the Earth
To explore the relief of the Earth is a very exciting challenge, and there are many ways to do it. And of course, while you do this, you can also explore many other things like the local forests, wildlife, human culture, and many other things.
You can climb Mt Everest, as well as the other 8000-ers- the 14 highest peaks on the Earth. There are many other a bit less high peaks too. But of course, not everybody can do it, you must be a professional mountaineer. However, you can reach their foothills, their base camps, and experience breathtaking views to these giants.
The Dead Sea is much easier to reach. You just have to travel to Israel or Jordan, then go down to this unique lake and enter its thick salty water.
These are the extreme points on the Earth’s relief. But the extreme points of every continent or island can be not less exciting too. The highest mountains in Europe, Africa, Australia, North and South America, some islands like Borneo, New Guinea, or New Zealand are a great challenge too.
But that’s not all. You can explore a mountain chain following its summit, or you can even identify a watershed of a whole continent and follow it. You can cross a large plateau, like Tibet (it is a very difficult and challenging adventure), or large plains like West Siberia or Amazonia. And you can also explore some local relief forms like the fjords in Norway and Greenland, canyons like the famous one in Colorado, volcanoes like Pinatubo and Mayon in the Philippines, or the karst hills systems in South China and Southeast Asia, as well as the caves in these areas.
About the relief underwater- this is something completely different. Except for the shallow places like coral reefs or nearby coastal areas, reachable by scuba diving, exploring the relief of the deep oceans is currently beyond our travel abilities. It is still at the same level as exploring space.
When we talk about the relief of the Earth, there is something more than just surface formations and their altitudes. There are also the powers that have created these formations, the chemical composition of the ground, and in general- the structure of the Earth’s crust and interior.
Probably you know about the tectonic plates? They are large pieces of the Earth’s crust, slowly moved by the powers from our planet’s interior. And when they move, they usually collide and rub each other. This creates earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. They also create faults like the famous San Andreas Fault in California.
Have you noticed the relief of the continents on the physical map? In fact, they don’t end at the coastline but proceed underwater. Thus, many islands near the continents are in fact parts of them. And their real boundaries are much further inside the seas and the oceans. The waters over the submerged parts of the continents are shallow, and these submerged areas are called continent shelf. When it ends, the sea bottom starts descending steeply, and this is the real end of a continent.
That’s why when we talk about Indonesia, we consider it a part of Asia. Britain is a part of Europe. But there are „real” islands, geologically completely separated from the continents. Many of them are parts of the ocean belts- areas where the giant plates gradually separate from each other and the space between them is constantly filled by new material from the Earth’s interior. That’s why these islands are usually volcanic. Good examples are the Great Rift Valley in Eastern Africa, Iceland with its volcanoes, and the islands on the famous Ring of Fire like Japan, Philippines, and New Zealand. And the Ring of Fire which surrounds the Pacific proceeds not only in the ocean but on the continents too- Asia and the Americas.
How to explore the geology of the Earth
All these features can be seen in certain places on our planet. For those who live and travel to California- make a trip to San Andreas Fault! But if you want to see something larger- go to Ethiopia and visit Danakil Depression- one of the most alien places on the Earth, a part of the Great Rift Valley. Don’t skip Iceland too- it is the most beautiful ocean belt island. Explore the islands and mountain chains of the Ring of Fire around the Pacific.
You can do all of this by just visiting these amazing places. But if you are more adventurous, you can even follow the main lines on which these places are located like a chain. Trace the Ring of Fire, trace the Great Rift Valley! It is a big challenge and is worth for those who like adventures and geography.
Now, let’s explore another layer of the Earth- its atmosphere. Its basic chemical composition is always the same, but the additional parts of it, mainly water quantity (in steam), as well as some dust from deserts or human activity, can vary. Also, other factors like the latitude, the relief, or the type of the Earth’s surface (land or water) affect the state of the atmosphere. This creates various types of climate, and various types of weather, with various temperatures and pressure. And it is different in different geographical areas. Finally, it varies due to the rotating of the Earth- between day and night, and in seasons throughout the year.
In general, most of the time the weather created by the local climate is stable. But sometimes, there are weather phenomena which are attractive. Some of them are very beautiful, others- just very extreme and dangerous. And they can happen only in some specific places, in specific seasons. So, if you want to explore the climate and the weather of the Earth, you have to travel. Also, you have to choose not only the place but the proper season to catch what you want to experience.
How to explore the climate of the Earth
When we travel, usually we are looking for good weather- sunny, warm and comfortable. We don’t like rainy and cold weather. However, we might be interested in extreme weather.
Do you want to know how is the feeling in the coldest possible weather on Earth? Then, go to Oymyakon in Yakutia, Russia, in January or February and you have a chance to feel it. Or even more extreme- go to the interior of Antarctica!
How about the hottest weather? Go to Africa- Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, or Algeria. Or go to the Death Valley in California! But go there in July or August.
The wettest weather on the Earth? Go to Northeast India in July or August. The village of Mawsynram is considered the wettest place on our planet.
Do you want to see some extreme climate phenomena? For example the deepest snow cover? Have you seen a hurricane or tornado? It is beautiful, especially the latter, but of course very dangerous. Or have you seen desert storms, snow storms? There are many other local weather events, but to „catch” them, you have to be well prepared, you have to know where and when you can find them, and finally, you have to be flexible, because they may not happen as you expect.
Now, when we talk about waters, I mean not only the oceans and the seas but all other bodies of water on the surface of the Earth- rivers, streams, swamps, lakes, waterfalls, sources, etc. These waters can be cold, they can be frozen in various forms of ice. And they can be also warm or hot. Combined with the various coastline forms, and water depth, it also creates a variety of things that you can see, try and enjoy.
In the oceans, the water can be perfectly flat like a mirror. It is seldom but can be seen in some areas on the Equator. But at the same time, there can be giant waves in a furious sea. The water can be also crystal clear and transparent, but also can be murky and dirty. Some of the waves are even more extreme and dangerous, and you know about the tsunami, caused by underwater earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. And one of the most beautiful places at the waters’ coastlines are beaches.
On the land, the water is mostly fresh. And it is organized in a specific way, following the terrain. The small rivers join in bigger rivers, then they all join in one major river, and all they together make its basin. Finally, it drains into the ocean. But there are other areas in the land’s interior, called endorheic basins, where the water just drains into a lake or a swamp with no outlet to the ocean. And the boundaries between the basins (no matter whether they are endorheic or not) are called watersheds, which usually match the summits of the mountains.
How to explore the waters of the Earth
It depends on what do you want to explore. Do you want to see the biggest surf waves on the Earth? Go to Hawaii, Portugal, Australia, or South Africa coast. But go in the proper season, because the waves there are not always as big as you wish. Or do you want to explore the ocean? Join a cruise. But if you want something more adventurous, get a yacht, or join a liveaboard or scuba diving activity.
On the land, there are so many beautiful lakes and rivers. You can just visit them, choosing their most beautiful and popular spots- a river bend, a waterfall, or a lake bay. But you can explore them deeper if you choose a river and follow it from the source to the ocean, or vice versa. You can do it by trekking on the river bank, or by kayaking. In the same way, you can cross a lake, or follow its coastline. Or you can just follow a coastline of the sea- an island or a continent.
Now let’s talk about another geographical layer of the Earth- the plants. This layer is called flora and includes all the plants growing on our planet. And again, they are not the same everywhere. They depend mainly on the climate, as well as the soil. Thus, we can see various kinds of flora in various geographical areas.
For example, we can see the equatorial forests- gorgeous jungles with a lot of plants of various kinds. But if you go to Siberia or Canada, you will see very different kinds of forests- boreal coniferous forests, called taiga. There are colder areas with a harsher climate, where the surface of the land is covered only by grass- it is called tundra. And finally, there are places with almost no plants, like in the deserts or the polar wilderness.
How to explore the flora of the Earth
The easiest way is to visit a certain geographical area. Make a trip to the jungle, to the African savanna, or the grasslands of Mongolia. But a much more exciting experience would be to go on a trek. Can you imagine a journey through the Amazon rainforest? Only several people in this world have accomplished a full crossing of this green sea. Or, how about an expedition on the tundra? Or crossing a desert?
Of course, this is not for everyone, and if you are not an extremely adventurous person, you still can make a trek in a certain flora area on the Earth. It doesn’t need to be a full crossing, but even several days circling would give you a great experience.
Another great way to explore the flora is ascending on a mountain. While you do it, you can watch how the flora changes with the altitude increase. So, you can see it in every higher mountain, enough high to contain at least two vertical flora zones.
Now, let’s take a look at the wildlife. This is another geographical layer of the Earth, presenting all the animals. And again- they are not the same. Polar bears live in the Arctic. Penguins live in Antarctica. Elephants live in savanna areas in Africa, and some rainforests in South Asia. Camels live in deserts.
Exploring wildlife is an exciting part of geography (and not only, depending on what is your purpose), and can be with high ecological value. You can watch the daily life of the animals, and you can even achieve some form of communication with them. But it is not easy. Plants are everywhere and you can always see them. But animals are rare, and also they move. So, watching them usually requires some skills on how to find them and watch them.
How to explore the fauna of the Earth
In general, the question is how to explore wildlife, out of the zoos in the cities. And the answer is- you have to penetrate deep into their habitats. The animals live in their specific environment, consisting of specific flora, specific climate, and specific terrain and waters.
The best places to watch the wild animals in their natural habitats are the national parks or reservations. And to get a better experience (which means- a better chance to see an animal), you often need a local guide (which is mandatory in some protected areas in the world). In some cases, the animals that you try to observe can be aggressive and dangerous to you, like the Komodo dragons or the polar bears. Again, you need skills or a local guide to teach you how to face such animals.
A specific wildlife watching is in the sea. Diving in the crystal clear tropical waters around the atolls can be a great way to penetrate the fantastic underwater world. Don’t forget, corals in these places are not plants, they are animals too, a part of sea wildlife. And again, by diving underwater, you can see many other amazing sea creatures.
Now, let’s see more geographical layers of the Earth- the human layers. They present in the ethnic map of the world, in the political maps, in the historical maps, in the economic maps, or other modern lifestyle maps. Which means that you have many more places to explore on our planet.
This geographical layer is different than all other layers because it is related to time. The human world has one image in 1453 AD, and a very different image is 742 BC. Every century, decade, a year, or even months and days in the timeline could have their own “political map”. That’s why history is another kind of science, separated from geography, but still closely related to it. So closely that it can be “history from a geographical point of view”.
But we can do something. If we watch how the political map of the world changes through the years, we can identify the places on the Earth with the longest human activity- the lands with the longest human history. They are located mainly in the Mediterranean, in the Middle East, India, China, Mexico, and Peru. That means that you can expect the richest historical remains in these lands. On the opposite, places like Greenland, Antarctica, or some isolated islands have almost no human history, and you can’t find anything on them but maybe only a recently abandoned remains of meteorological stations.
How to explore human history
First- learn it. Then you can trace it on the map of the Earth. And because the history leaves a lot of remains, identify them, and go to visit them! Again, go there with knowledge! If you know the history and go to visit the places where its events have happened, it can be like a travel in time without a need for a “time machine”!
Then, you choose your destination. You want to see how the particular destination has looked like, let’s say, some 2000 years ago. In many cases, it can be difficult because the later generations have built many newer constructions in this place, and it doesn’t look like in ancient times. But again, if you know the history, you can get the idea of how this place changed during its timeline.
If you are interested in the most ancient civilizations, kingdoms, and empires, identify their main centers or capitals. Then go to visit them, because usually, they are the best places presenting these civilizations. As an example, see the 16 most ancient places on the Earth.
Also, don’t skip the museums with a historical theme. They are incredibly valuable places for education- education in a very interesting way. Usually, they don’t just present only stones, ceramic pieces, or ancient tools, but also live scenes of the ancient people- by pictures, statues, and many other ways. All this can give you a rich image of the place you visit, how it has looked like centuries ago, and how does it look now.
Ethnic groups and culture
As a result of all the events in the history of mankind, today there are about 5000 ethnic groups living on the Earth, with approximately 5000 languages and dialects. And there have been many more in the past, but later they got extinct for one or another reason. Some ethnic groups have become big nations, while others become (or remained) small minorities. Also, some live in a compact society in one area, while others live mixed in a multicultural society. And this is how the world ethnic groups map would look like.
All they have their local culture. But this culture is not the same for every member of a certain ethnic group. It can be different for those living in a village, compared to those who migrated to another country in search of a better life. And of course, it can be different from person to person. For this reason, we can’t say “all of them are the same”. However, the people of a certain ethnic group still have something in common- common origin, history, traditions (which are often related to their religions), lifestyle, languages, and dialects, etc.
How to explore the ethnic groups on the Earth and their culture
The best way to explore an ethnic group is just to visit the area where they live. Today, many ethnic groups present their culture and lifestyle in some so-called “ethno villages”, turned into tourist destinations. Yes, they are touristy and they don’t show the real daily life of the people, but they are designed like open-air museums. That’s why these villages have high educational value. And of course, don’t skip the normal ethnographical museums.
But if you want to penetrate much deeper into the culture and lifestyle of an ethnic group, you have to go further. You have to go to the „normal places” where the people spend their life. Yes, for most of the people these places are just normal modern cities and villages. So, don’t just walk there. Try to communicate with them, try to learn some basic phrases from their language. And for accommodation, I would suggest spending your nights in Airbnb properties, where you can make friends with the locals.
And today there are still people living far from the modern world- tribes in the rainforests, nomads in Tibet or in the deserts, fishermen societies in the river mouths or islands, or just people living in remote villages, somewhere in the deep off the beaten areas. You can visit them and spend some time with them. Usually, you don’t need an „ethnic village”- because what you would see is their normal life.
Politics and the economy
Now it’s time to open the most popular map of the world- the political map, with the countries, their capitals and in more detail- their administrative divisions into provinces, states or autonomous regions. Honestly, I don’t know why it is the most popular map, and why the “country” matters so much since when you look at the Earth from space, you can’t see any political borders. But, it is what most of the travelers look first, and it is how the Earth’s surface is structured in their minds.
So, there are more than 200 countries and territories with special political status in the world today. They are at a different economical level of development, different standard of life, different styles of designing various things like roads, signs, etc., and you can see these differences when you travel from one country to another. Usually, they are “owned” by the larger ethnic groups and the smaller ones living in their territory are “minorities”, sometimes with different rights (btw, can you imagine if every ethnic group has its own independent country, can you imagine more than 5000 countries and tens of thousands of border checkpoints?).
How to explore the countries in the world
Yes, I know, there is something like a contest today- „how many countries have you visited”. One has visited 59 countries. Another one has visited 83 countries. There are even people who have visited all the countries in the world. But what does it mean „visited”? The countries are of different sizes. Do you think it is the same to visit Liechtenstein and to visit Russia? You can go by plane to Sanct Peterburg in Russia, go out from the airport for 4 hours and just walk around and in a little part of the city, then back to the airport and fly to the next country. And yes, technically, that counts as „Russia: visited”. But for me- that’s vanity.
A real country visit should be not just to set your foot for a while somewhere on its territory, but to explore it. For example, I would consider „Russia: visited” only if I go to Moscow, Sanct Peterburg, at least several more major cities, several historical cities, most of its autonomous republics, spend some time in the villages, go to the main natural areas like Ural, Siberia, Arctica, and in general- if I go „from end to end” of this vast country. Maybe it would need at least 1 month or more, but this is my „standard”. How about yours?
Instead, from the traveler’s point of view, I would divide the Earth into lands or zones with more similar size and geographical features. So, let’s look at the geographical zones.
What I have just described above was the various geographical layers of the Earth. Not all the layers, but at least the most important and significant ones, that can be presented by corresponding world maps.
Now, let’s mix all the layers and see the result. We can notice areas with similar conditions and similar types of landscapes. These areas are called geographical zones. Let’s see the Equatorial humid zone as an example. It is located around the Equator of the Earth. It has the same climate- hot, humid, without (or almost without) seasonal division, and with equatorial rainforests and wildlife. And it is presented in the Amazonia in South America, in Congo, and in the islands of Indonesia and Papua.
In a similar way, we can determine the other geographical zones of the Earth.
Equatorial humid zone
This is the zone that I described above. There are many ways to explore it, and maybe the best way is to trek into the equatorial rainforests, in South America, in Africa, or in Southeast Asia.
Equatorial and tropical coral islands
This zone is on the ocean. Its main feature of land is the atolls, the coral islands, as well as some isolated islands in the oceans. The zone includes the Maldives, Seychelles, and the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, most of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia in the Pacific, as well as Galapagos, and the equatorial area of the Atlantic (with almost no islands in it, with the exception of the Peter and Paul Rocks). You can explore it by sailing (by cruise or your own yacht), by diving around the islands and by meeting the local island culture.
Subequatorial forests, bush and savanna in the north
This zone includes most of the West African countries, as well as Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya (touching the Equator). In Asia, it includes India, the southern parts of Indochina, and most of the Philippines. And in America, it includes most of Central America, parts of the Caribbeans, and the northern coastal areas of South America. In this zone, you can find the most attractive wildlife in the world.
Subequatorial forests, bush and savanna in the south
This zone includes the areas south of the Congo River in Africa- Angola, Zambia, parts of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Tanzania, as well as the northern part of Madagascar. In Australia, it includes its northernmost areas. And in South America, it includes mainly the middle parts of Brazil. As in the north, its climate has a clearer seasonal division, mainly into dry and wet seasons. And again, wildlife and local culture are very interesting to explore.
Tropical humid- north
The north tropical humid zone is small in area, including mainly the northern Caribbean islands and Florida, parts of the Philippines, and the north part of Indochina. In general, it is just a transitional zone, almost the same as the subequatorial humid zone, however, just its seasonal division is clearer not only about the precipitation but also in the temperature.
Tropical humid- south
It is similar to the north tropical humid zone. Again, it is smaller in area, including only some parts of Brazil, parts of Mozambique and Madagascar, and a part of the Australian eastern coast.
Tropical dry- north
This is where the tropics are much clearer presented. This zone is quite larger in the area. In Africa, it includes the whole Sahara, and in Asia- the whole of Arabia, as well as significant parts of Indus Valley. But it is almost missing in North America. Its main image is the desert. You can explore its deserts- sand dunes or rocky wilderness, and penetrate into its culture and ancient history.
Tropical dry- south
The tropical dry zone in the south spreads over the southern parts of Africa, mainly in Namibia and Botswana. It also includes the largest central part of Australia, and in South America is presented only in the coastal Peru and northernmost of Chile, in the Atacama Desert. Again, the landscape there is similar to the north, but with the exception of Peru, there is not too much ancient history.
Subtropical humid- north
This is the most visited zone on the Earth, with the longest history. It is spread on the Mediterranean Sea, most of China, South Korea, and the southern part of Japan, and a significant part of the USA. It is famous for its olive trees in Europe, Levant and North Africa, and its bamboo forests in China, as well as its beautiful beaches. And in winter it can be sometimes cold with occasional snowfalls. The humid subtropical areas are cradles of ancient civilizations like Greece, Rome, Carthage, and ancient China. And in general, it is one of the easiest zones to explore on the Earth.
Subtropical humid- south
The southern version of the subtropical humid zone includes the southernmost parts of Africa (South Africa), southeastern Australia, most of New Zealand, and a significant part of South America, including Paraguay, the southernmost of Brazil, Uruguay and the northern half of Argentina. Again, it is a zone that is easy to explore. But it lacks the long human history of the north.
Subtropical dry- north
This zone is presented mainly in Asia- in Syria, the northern part of Iraq, and the lower parts of Iran. In North America, it can be found in the lower places in the west of the USA (the higher areas already belong to another zone). Again, there are many interesting spots that you can find in these places. In Asia, you can find more traces of ancient civilizations, and in America, you can find some stunning landscapes.
Subtropical dry- south
This zone is presented only in a small area, in the southwestern part of Australia. The main city there is Perth, and the area around it is mainly dry. Perth is a big city, but the places around it are wild and desolate. And there are stunning ocean coast formations.
Temperate deciduous forests- north
This is another well-known zone, one of the most popular and visited places on Earth. It includes most of Europe- from Britain to south Russia, and from the southern Scandinavia to the Balkans. In Asia, it is presented mostly in the northeast of China, North Korea, and the northern part of Japan. And in North America, it includes the northern part of the USA, as well as the southernmost strip of land in Canada, without the high mountains in the west. It is one of the easiest to access zones. Most of the developed countries today- UK, France, Germany, parts of China, Japan, and the USA are there, and some of the largest megacities too- like London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Ontario, Boston.
Temperate deciduous forests- south
In the south, there is not too much land to contain this zone. It is presented only in the southernmost parts of Chile and Argentina- in Patagonia. Other places with such landscapes can be found only in Tasmania and the southern island of New Zealand. It makes this zone remote and more challenging than the north.
Temperate dry zone- north
This zone includes a vast area in the middle of Eurasia. It is presented in the whole Central Asia and the southern parts of Siberia. Also, it is partly presented in North America, in the so-called prairies (but again, most of them already belong to the mountain zone). In Asia, this is the zone of the nomads- Huns, Mongols, Turks, well-known for their migrations. In fact, this zone is not equally dry everywhere- there are deserts (like Taklamakan and Karakum), but there are also dry grasslands around the Caspian Sea.
Temperate dry zone- south
This zone is almost absent in the south but still can be found in Argentina, in parts of Patagonia. And it is not very dry- there are no deserts, but grasslands, like in North America.
Temperate coniferous forests- north
The northern coniferous forests are known also as „boreal taiga”. They are spread in the northern parts of Eurasia- in the middle of Scandinavia, most of northern Europe, and most of Siberia. In North America, they are presented in the middle of Canada. These places are much colder and wild, already with long and cold winters, and with short and cool summers. And the forests are much better preserved than the deciduous forests because this zone is much less inhabited. So, it is a great place for long forest trekking and adventures. There is not its equivalent in the Southern Hemisphere, it is replaced by the Southern Ocean.
Here we go to colder places on the Earth. This zone is spread north of the boreal taiga in Eurasia and Canada and consists of tundra- endless grasslands with occasional coniferous trees. The Northern Lights are often guests there in winter, and the coldest temperature in the Northern Hemisphere is detected here, in the settlement of Oymyakon, Yakutia. This is the place of the Inuits in North America, and some Siberian minorities living with their reindeers. It is a highly adventurous place.
The southern subpolar zone is one of the harshest areas on the Earth. It is presented only on several isolated islands in the Southern Ocean- Kerguelen, Bouvet, South Georgia, Heard and McDonald, Macquarie, South Shetland, and the South Orkney Islands. There are not extremely cold temperatures, but the islands are almost permanently hit by strong winds, rain, and snowstorms. And the only inhabitants of these places are some scientists and the large colonies of penguins.
Polar tundra- north
This is the northernmost land that is free from permanent ice, including the northernmost coastal areas of the Arctic Ocean- on the mainland of North America and Asia, as well as the islands of the Northern Canadian Archipelago and Greenland. There are almost no people living in these places, but only several settlements and several scientist stations. It is a place that is difficult to see and explore, with harsh weather conditions. And the tundra itself consists mainly of moss and small grass. The landscape is desolate, with a feeling of remoteness, covered most of the year by snow.
Polar glaciers- north
This is a land, covered by ice- a thick cover of ice on the rocky land, with thickness more than 2-3 km. In the North Hemisphere, this is the interior of Greenland. This area is empty, harsh, and desolate, with almost no life on it. There are no people living in such conditions, except for some scientists in their stations. You can penetrate the interior of Greenland, but if you want to cross it, you would need special travel gear with professional experience.
Polar glacier- south
Finally, this is Antarctica. It is the same kind of environment like Greenland, but it is larger, the glacier is thicker, and the temperatures are lower. Here is the place with the lowest temperature on the Earth ever recorded, in Vostok station. Also, here is the South Pole, with another station established on it. Antarctica is one of the harshest places on our planet, a whole continent with almost no population, very difficult to cross.
In addition to all these geographical zones, we can add the various zones of the oceans- cold waters or warm waters. Their wildlife is different, although you can see it almost only by diving. But before finish our geographical zone journey, let’s see the last one- the mountains.
The zones that I describe above are dependent and determined by the geographical latitude. But similar zones are formed by the geographical altitude too. Thus, if a high mountain is located in the subtropical area, on its higher parts we can see landscapes similar to the temperate zone. If the mountain is higher, it can reach altitude zones similar to the tundra, and even to the polar zone. The best place that it can be seen is the region, called “Greater Ranges“- the highest mountains on the Earth, located in the middle of Asia.
There are a lot of lower mountains. If they are enough lower, then even their highest peaks can remain in their original latitude zone- usually less than 800-1000 m above the sea level. But if they are higher, they are already a part of the mountain areas with altitude zones. And it is exciting to hike such high mountain, watching how the altitude zones change with ascending in altitude.
How to explore the geography
So, this is the image of the Earth. Now, we can divide its surface into lands. Not into political countries, because this division follows only the last geographical layer that I described above. But here I mean lands with similar features. Let us see an example- the British Isles.
An example- the British Isles
The British Isles are located between 50° and 60°N latitude and between 10°W and 1,7°E longitude. They consist of the larger island of Britain, the second-largest island of Ireland, and many other smaller islands. Geologically, the islands are a part of Eurasia, because they are located on the continental shelf. Their relief consists mainly of low hills and mountains, as well as some plains, as the highest peak is Ben Nevis (1345 m/4413 ft).
The climate of the islands is temperate moderate- humid and cool, with often rains, fog in some areas and winds, especially near the coastline. There are a lot of short rivers and some lakes, especially in the north part of Britain- in Scotland. As a result, its flora consists of deciduous forests in the south of Britain, and mainly of grasslands and even tundra in the north. And the animals that inhabit this land are typical for the middle and northern parts of Europe.
In this environment, there is a civilization, born from thousands of years of history. The first local ethnic groups, later influenced and mixed with Romans, Germanic and Nordic people gradually formed the ethnic picture of today- English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, and they formed the countries that exist there today- the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Every other part of the Earth
We just saw shortly the geographical layers as they are presented in this particular part of the Earth (of course, there are many more details). So, if you want to explore the British Isles, the best way is to identify the best spots where various features of the geographical layers can be found. For example- the most beautiful forest, the most beautiful grassland, the best reservations with the richest wildlife, the highest peak (Ben Nevis), the most beautiful lakes (like Loch Ness- not just for the “monster”), the most interesting rock formations, the specific historical spots or ethnic villages, and of course- London, Dublin, and the other largest cities.
In the same principle, you can combine the geographical layers in every other part of the world. Thus you can make a clear image of this part and identify its destinations- spots that present these geographical layers in the best way. And after you identify these spots, it’s time to plan your trip. There are several important parts of the trip that must be planned. We will start with one of them- transportation.
There are many kinds of transportation today, and they have their pros and cons. Usually, the faster is the way you travel, the more convenient is it, but at the same time, the less you can see outside.
The airplane is one of the basic ways of transportation, but it is proper mainly for a fast way to get to a starting point of a local route or a section of it or to back home from the ending point. By plane, you can reach only the big cities or other main points in almost every land on Earth. But of course, from there you need other kinds of transportation
Public intercity transport- trains, buses
If you travel by train or bus, you can watch what is outside, you can get some pictures, but again, it is limited around the road (or railroad) only. You can’t tell the driver to stop and wait for you to explore a spot, nor can’t tell him to leave its route for you to take you to a certain place. But the good point of these kinds of transportation is that they can conveniently take you to your starting or ending point in your route, or a section of it. Also, buses and trains are cheaper for solo travelers.
However, these kinds of transportation can’t be found everywhere in the world, but mainly in the more-developed places. But there are many off the beaten path places without public transport, and to reach these places you need something else. Needless to say, there are vast extreme spaces where trains and buses are totally missing.
Rental car, taxi, hired van
A rental car (or your own car) gives you much more freedom. You can travel on every road that cars can go, and you can do it at any time. So, this time you can reach many more places that trains and buses don’t go. But again, it is more proper for a group of people who can share the expenses.
There are many places where you can rent a bike and this is a good way to explore some parts of the Earth. By motorcycle you can go even further than the rental car- you can travel on dirt roads and other places that are difficult for cars to go. But again, a motorcycle is mainly a local kind of transportation. Yes, you can travel around a whole country or even on a long international route, but if it is hired, you still have to back to the same place and return it to the company.
And again, as the rental car, motorcycle can’t go everywhere. There are still vast off the beaten lands almost inaccessible by these vehicles.
Public sea transport- ferries, speed boats, and other vessels
This is for seas and other bodies of water. They work like buses and trains, but on the water. So, they are good (and in many cases, the only) way to get to an island, or between islands. They are also the cheapest way to travel on water. But as every public transport, they are also limited and don’t go to every piece of land on the sea. And also, there are almost no long-distance vessels like in the past that travel not between islands in an archipelago, but between large archipelagos, just because plain is much faster.
Private sea transport
This option gives you more opportunities, but again, it is only for local island hoping. You can hire a boat and you can be a little freer than if you travel by public sea transport. However, it is more expensive and is more convenient if you are a group to share the cost.
Own water transport
Here I mean yacht, canoe or another kind of boat. It gives you freedom, and the ability to reach places that public transport doesn’t go, including adventurous lands like Amazonia or Siberia (on rivers). But after you own it (hire, buy, or another way of possession), you need the necessary skills to drive it. Besides, many countries require a proper certificate, just like the driving license for car drivers.
This is an exciting way of travel. But if it is only a rental bike, you can’t go too far, however you can go where cars and even motorcycles can’t go- mountain paths, stairs (yes, you have to bring your bike sometimes). However, a much better way is to travel on your own bike. By bike, you can reach much further than many other ways of transport, even in wild areas where almost no transport is available. The only problem is that the bike is too slow, but even this has its good point- you can fully enjoy the nature around you.
If you are in a big city, you would need a faster way to travel around it. Today, there are metro, public city buses, taxis, Grab, Uber, trams, and other vehicles. What you need to identify three kinds of spots on the city map- the places of interest to visit, your hotel or another place of accommodation, and your entry and exit points- bus terminal, airport, railway station or pier. Then, draw your route between these places, and you can easily explore every city.
Local attractive ways of transport
There are many countries where you can find some attractive, sometimes weird vehicles driven by locals. Examples are tricycles, rickshaws, jeepneys, or horse carts in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, or other countries. They are like taxis. You can’t go too far by them, but these vehicles are an attraction and a „destination” by themselves.
Another attractive way of transport is horse riding. Again, it can be hired in some destinations, usually in grasslands. But it is interesting that only until one century ago, it has been the main way of transportation by humans during human history.
This includes sleighs, snowmobiles, and ski. And this is the only available transport in harsh polar or cold winter areas like Svalbard, Yakutia, or North Canada. This is also the only thing that allows you to penetrate the most extreme places on the Earth, like the glaciers of Greenland and Antarctica.
This is easy. Just join a tour, organized by a travel company, and you don’t need to think too much. They will guide you everywhere you want, and there are guides to educate you. This is comfortable, and in some cases mandatory. Yes, there are places on the Earth (like Syria or the Tibetan Autonomous Region) that you can go only by an organized tour. It doesn’t necessarily mean joining a group, but only by a group, you can do it at a lower price. And sometimes only travel in a group is allowed.
The organized tours are comfortable, but the biggest problem is that you don’t have the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. You have to follow the guide. And also, most of the organized tours go to popular destinations only. However, there are other unique types of organized tours that go to „the ends of the world”- the expeditions. And again, it is the easiest and sometimes the only way to reach the most extreme places on the Earth.
Another type of organized tours is cruises. They are the only ways of long-distance water transport, because they are arranged for attraction, not just for a way to go from point A to point B.
Cargo, helicopters, military transport and science expeditions
This is not for tourists, and it is a bit like hitchhiking. There are some places on Earth where no tourism is developed. Usually, they are so remote, extreme, and difficult to reach that you can’t easily go even if you have your own yacht. Examples are the remote islands of Jan Mayen or Bouvet. The only way to reach such places is to find a cargo ship or a helicopter (usually, after you obtain the necessary permits) and hope they would agree to let you on board. Or, if your only choice is to join a science expedition, again, after you get your permits, you have to expect they agree to travel with them. And usually, they would expect you to join their activity and be useful for the expedition (which can be very exciting by the way).
Your own two feet
Finally, this is the way you can reach places that no transport can reach. Only on foot, you can penetrate into a deep jungle or a sand desert, and only on foot (sometimes with the necessary mountaineering gear) you can climb a high mountain peak.
But, apart from such extreme journeys, walking on foot is the best way to explore an „old town” or just a small but full of places of interest area in a city. And hiking, again on foot, is a great experience in the mountains too.
Now, let’s see another important part of a trip- your accommodation.
For different people it is different, but for me, the accommodation is just a place to spend the night, not a destination, at least in many cases. So, when I search for a hotel, I look mainly for two things- its price and its location. Well, for wifi too, of course. When I travel, I would not spend the day in the hotel but would explore the destination where I am. Then I would back to the hotel in the evening and would leave it on the next day morning. Thus, the only thing I would need is wifi, a shower, a bed, and of course, safety. And I don’t need to spend a lot of money on this, but a cheap, budget hotel would be more than enough.
The location can be important if your time is limited. It can be especially critical if you have to get the only bus or train in the day the next day morning. You have to be sure that you can get to the bus or train station on time. That’s why, when you are in a big city with the metro, look for a hotel near a metro station, because you would not worry about a traffic jam. Or, just look for a hotel that is near your exit point from the city. But even you are not urgent, finding a hotel near the places of interest can save your time and would be much more convenient.
Hotels are nice, quiet and you can stay in your room without the need to think about your roommates. There are individual rooms in many hostels too, but usually, their rooms are designed for more people together. It can be inconvenient and you have to keep the „hostel etiquette”. But there is another good point- hostels are cheap, and usually provide a strong „adventurous feeling”. They are the places where you can meet many other travelers, share your experience, and just make friends. Besides, the people in the reception usually can give you more travel information than in the normal hotels.
Airbnb and Couchsurfing
I mentioned above that the accommodation is usually not a destination. But Airbnb is different because you don’t just go there to spend the night. Airbnb can be a great opportunity to meet the locals and explore their culture and lifestyle. This is what makes them a kind of a „destination”.
Sleeping in transport
This can be a way to spend the night too. In some cases, it might be wise to take an overnight train, bus, or ferry. Thus you can combine your transportation with your accommodation and can save money and time.
Bringing your own tent can make you like a snail- this is your own „house”. You can sleep everywhere (ok, almost everywhere) when the night comes. All the hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and Airbnb are static, in one place. And there are a lot of remote and difficult to access places where you can’t find them. But if you bring your tent, you resolve this problem. You can be ready to cross mountains, forests, glaciers, and deserts. However, the problem is the tent’s weight, which can not only cause inconvenience but can cause additional taxes at the airport too. And also, it is not proper for a city or village, but only for nature.
This is a great way to go on a journey. You don’t need to think about its weight, and literally can live like in a hotel. At the same time, you can spend the night at any place on the road. But it is only on the road, you can’t go everywhere. Also, it would be very difficult to go to another continent, but only where you can go by your own car unless you load it on a cargo ship from North America to Europe (for example). And again, not every country would allow you to enter. Anyway, it is still an exciting experience, especially if you travel the world with your children.
Alternative ways of accommodation
These ways are difficult to predict. For example, it can be a local’s house. Or a ger (yurt) in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, or Xinjiang in China. There are many hospitable people who would be happy to share their home with you. Another very adventurous way to spend the night is the igloo. You can build it in a snowy place, although it requires some skills.
No matter how would you plan your trip, it would be wise to plan your accommodation in advance. So, where possible, book your hotel, hostel, or Airbnb online.
And now let’s take a look at another important part of your trip- the things that you would need to bring with you.
Your special packing list
When I talk about a “special packing list”, I don’t mean everything that you have to bring with you, like daily clothes, underwear, and toiletry- these are basic things that you use everywhere, no matter whether you travel or stay at home. And if you go on a trip only to cities with the same season and weather like in your home, exploring only places of interest like museums, “old towns”, markets, you don’t need to bring anything different than the things that you use at home.
If the cities that you visit are located in different geographical zones, with different weather, you can reduce or add clothes, but they would be again the same ones that you normally wear at home unless you want to wear something more “fashionable”.
But if you go to explore nature or some ancient ruins out of the city, that’s different. In such a case, you would need additional things that you would not need in the big city. Some of these things are mandatory, other things not, but would provide you a better experience of the place you go. And these additional things are your “special packing list”.
These are clothes that are proper for the outdoor conditions in nature. Unlike the “normal” clothes, they provide better protection from the wild environment. They include shirts (t-shirts), sweaters, jackets, raincoats, various kinds of hats, pants, heating underwear, socks, gloves and other things that you can wear for better protection. And they can be offered in male, female and unisex models. You can wear many of them in the city too, of course, so if you go on a wild journey in nature, you don’t need to bring many of your “normal” clothes. Of course, everybody has different preferences, but don’t ignore the weight of your luggage.
Special shoes and footwear
Again, these are kinds of footwear that you would need in various natural conditions. If you go hiking in the mountain, you would need hiking shoes or boots that can also protect your feet from wetting. If you go to a trek in the desert, you would need shoes that can protect your feet from the hot sand. Or, if you go hiking a snowy mountain, walking on deep snow, you would need proper boots with gaiters. And, if you want to walk on rocky or stony water bottom, you would like to wear waterproof sandals.
Similar to the special clothes, these kinds of footwear comes in different models for males, females, and unisex. They can be a little heavy, at the same time again, there is no problem to wear them in a city, so, like the special clothes, you don’t need to make your luggage heavier, just wear them.
Hiking and mountaineering accessories
If your trip includes a normal hiking a mountain, you don’t need too much for that, but only hiking poles. Without hiking poles, you still can go hiking, but the poles would help you better. On the other side, if you hike in a forest, you can probably find a stick of wood and just use it.
But if you want to climb a high peak, you would need mountaineering gear. It includes many things like rope, crampons, carabiners, ice axe, etc. It can be heavy, but if you want to explore the high alpine mountains on the Earth, these things are a must. And of course, you need some skills and experience.
This is the most convenient and proper form of luggage if you go exploring nature. Yes, it can be sometimes heavy, but you can agree that pulling a suitcase with wheels is highly improper on a mountain trail, desert, beach, or ice. So, if you go on an exploring journey to nature, you need a good backpack, where you can arrange your things properly.
The backpack needs to be as light as possible, and at the same time comfortable for your back and the whole body. There are different backpacks with different features. And usually, the longer your journey is, the larger backpack would you need.
Tents and other camping gear
I already mentioned it as a type of accommodation. Tents are proper for everywhere but in cities. However, as this „everywhere” can be very different, it is not the same to spend the night in a tent on the Greenland glacier, or in the Amazon rainforest. So, there are various tents, proper for various environments- tents for extreme cold weather, tents for hot and humid rainy places, tents for hot and dry deserts, tents for strong winds, etc. If a tent is specially designed for one particular condition, it would be not the best in other conditions, and there is no perfect tent for everywhere.
But in general, everybody is looking for a tent that is as light as possible. It can be designed for 1 person, or for many persons. And if you go camping, you would need more things like a sleeping bag and a mat. There are also some other things for camping like sleeping hammocks for the jungle, shelters, etc., and they can be also used for spending the night in some places.
There are many other little things that you may need too. Some of them are very important, mandatory, while others are just for convenience. These things include a headlamp, a cooking set, a water bladder, bottles, pillows, etc. Don’t forget also your electric devices and what they need- batteries or power banks. Again, depending on the geographical zone that you go, you may need some of these things more than others. And always have to consider the weight.
Photo and video
Finally, you would always love to save something from your trip for different purposes- for a blog, for a photo contest, for a vlog, or just for great memories. So, you would need a good photo camera. The newest mobile phones can make great photos too, but the camera is still in advance, with more abilities. There is also a special kind of camera, proper for extreme conditions and adventures, including underwater shots. This is GoPro, and it can be the only way to make photos in some cases.
But you may need something more- a good video camera. The good photo cameras can make videos too, but there are professional video cameras with more video advantages. And finally, there are so many places that look incredibly beautiful when you shot them from above. For this, you would need a drone.
In general, your „special packing list” would consist of these things, and it would be different for different geographical zones. And if you arrange it wisely, it can provide you a great, safe, and rich experience in every spot on the Earth. Finally, let’s see some additional travel tips.
All of the above things are very important and essential for arranging your trip, to explore the geography of the Earth. But there are some additional things, which can be again very important.
You can easily travel to many countries on Earth, but not all. We can’t just walk on the surface of the Earth freely wherever we want. There are countries with very complicated visa policies, there are countries which even ban some citizens from entering. Also, there are territories that require special permits- some autonomous regions, war zones, high mountain peaks, border areas, etc. And there are some completely forbidden places too. So, you have to check these things in advance.
Preparing your money is very important, and you should do it in advance. Check about the local currency. There are many places where you can’t find any bank or bank machine, so you have to be prepared for such a situation. And in general, there are some geographical zones that money doesn’t matter.
Providing your food in a very basic thing that you have to do. Fortunatelly, if you have money, there are enough places to eat on the Earth- restaurants, supermarkets, fast food, street food. There are also places for something more- cafes, bars, clubs. And not everything is expensive- you can easily find enough cheap places with cheap things that would be enough for you, so you don’t need to “reserve” a restaurant, unless you are a big group of people.
And I would recommend- try local food! You can eat in MacDonalds and KFC at your hometown, but only in the southern part of China you can eat “changfen”, only in the Balkans and Turkey you can eat “banitsa”, and only in particular country you can eat what is specific for this place (not because they can’t do it in other parts of the world, but in their homeland it is always the best). Local food is also another kind of destination, although it is not a place. And in most cases, it is very cheap.
Well, if you go to wild, remote and extreme places on the Earth, it’s different. You have to bring enough things to eat, considering the weight and volume in your backpack, and what is the most proper to eat in the specific conditions of the place- usually with more water. And if your food is not enough- you have to learn surviving skills and eat what nature can provide, like Bear Grills. Sometimes it is not very difficult, because there are places with wild fruits, but in most cases you have to become a survivor.
Communications, mobile, internet
If it was the 19th century or before, or even only 30 years ago, these things wouldn’t matter. And travel would be more difficult. Once you depart from your home, nobody knows where are you, you have to bring a compass and a paper map, and the only way to contact others would be by writing a letter on paper.
So, now these technologies have made travel much easier and safer, even in the most extreme places on the Earth. You can just bring your mobile phone, buy a mobile card from the airport when you arrive in a new country, and you remain connected to the world. Also, today most of the accommodation properties offer an internet connection. However, for more remote and extreme places, there is no signal, and the only way to connect the world is by satellite phone. But even this is forbidden in some countries, so, for some areas on the Earth, be ready to travel like in the 19th century.
As you know, not the whole Earth is safe. There are places with different dangers- dangers from humans (wars, terrorists, crime), dangers from infections or poisoned food, and of course, a lot of natural dangers. The natural dangers are an exciting challenge for the adventurous explorers, but the other dangers, mainly caused by humans are the worst. But there are still various ways to prepare for them and avoid them, just read more information about the particular place you are going to visit.
Respect everything local
This is a must for every traveler. You will see a lot of things that look strange from your cultural point of view. But as long as these things are not a threat to human or animal life or threat for nature, don’t disturb the people who do them. If you think something that people do is in contradiction with your beliefs (for example, if you are a Christian, and see some strange Muslim or Buddhist rituals that you don’t like), proof that you are right by showing love and demonstrate in action that your belief is more superior than theirs if you can. Same as if you are a Muslim, an Atheist, or any other kind of “different”. If there is something better you can offer, people can accept it and change only by love. Forget about disrespect, hate, and pointless impatience.
Finally, protect nature. Our planet is suffering from pollution and many other kinds of slow destruction. Don’t join it! Don’t leave your traces, unless you remain something really good, for the people and for nature! And don’t stop to explore our diverse, beautiful, and full of wonders and challenges planet! Don’t stop to explore the geography of the Earth!
Take a look at some books about geography, travel and adventures!
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