You Really Can Go Anywhere In The World

You Really Can Go Anywhere In The World

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter, today I learned that you can actually travel to North Korea. Not just the demilitarized zone (DMZ), that weird buffer zone between the north and south that sees lots of tours every day. Or on a war veterans’ trip, like that poor dude that was arrested during his tour. Or being part of Dennis Rodman’s entourage.

Like, you can get on a tour bus with a bunch of other Western tourists and  go into Pyongyang, stay in a hotel, drink some beers, look at some propaganda on the buildings. Earl did it, so did Andrew. Granted, you have to go with an organized tour, enter through China, and you really, really, really can’t be a journalist, but otherwise it’s cool.

This blew my mind. And made me want to look into other places I thought were off limits.

Iraq? Yup, there’s a tour group that will take you around ancient Mesopotamia, Babylon, pretty much anywhere in the country they feel is secure.

Iran is apparently seeing an increase in tourism and is relaxing its visa requirements after the election of a new presidents, although we’ll have to wait and see if that will apply to Americans down the road.

Libya is trying really hard to boost its tourism economy, banking on its beaches and ancient Roman ruins will balance out the weak government and ubiquitous militias.

And despite the reputation for drug trafficking violence, guerrilla fighters, and kidnappings, Colombia and Venezuela both have nicely done tourism websites in English with lots of offerings for many different types of travelers.

While all these locations have current US Department of State travel warnings, I think it’s positive that tourism seems to be building in many previously ‘undesirable’ parts of the world. Not only is it good for the local economy and people, but I think it helps close the divides between cultures and backgrounds. We get so much more of a deeper understanding of others when we actually see them face to face instead of through a media filter.

I hope we see further growth in other areas currently torn apart by civil war or totalitarian governments. World peace through travel may be a naive thought, but it’s a place to start. You really can go anywhere in the world (with the right visa and passport, or a lot of cash).

Will I end up in North Korea in 2014- there’s only one way to find out. Follow No Bags to Check on Twitter and Facebook.

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