Places To Visit Before They Disappear

Paris, France. A city of beauty, art, music, and cuisine. Paris has been around for years and has cemented itself as the number one tourist spot in the world, and will probably hold that title for years to come… It’s nice, yeah, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So what about all of those niche travel spots that might not be around in the future? They say that the polar bears will go extinct soon so may as well catch a glimpse so you can brag to the grandkids someday. Today we’ll be looking at some places that you can currently go to today but may not be able to in the future. We’ll also be going over how to attain a new passport or passport renewal at the end, so if you’re in need stick with us until the end!

Notre-Dame Cathedral

On April 15th the Notre-Dame Cathedral caught fire while undergoing various restoration projects. The fire was linked to the restoration attempts and as I write this the fires rage on. The verdict is yet to be out on whether the Cathedral will remain open following this disaster, or whether the monument will even survive. If you are currently in Paris I’d urge you to catch a glimpse of this architectural marvel on the off chance that things go south during future restoration attempts.

Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island. See them today when you apply for a new passport.

Komodo Island

Komodo Island is known for its large acid breathing lizards. No, not Godzilla, but the native komodo dragon. Unfortunately a few folks who like potentially deadly overgrown lizards decided they should smuggle a few off the island which has ignited a bit of a crisis in Indonesia which administers Komodo Island. The government of Indonesia has decided to place a temporary ban on entrance into Komodo Island beginning in 2020 while they implement measures to help preserve the endangered Komodo Dragon. Unfortunately for those of us who like to travel, this means we won’t be able to engage with one of Indonesia’s hottest tourist spots come next year. Fortunately for those reading this in 2019, you still have a few months to book a trip and get over there before the island is indefinitely closed to the public.

Should you make the trip this year you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of ways you can approach the island. If you’d like to get more intimate with the island there are several Indonesian based tour companies that will take you to explore the entire island chain. That’s right it’s more than one island, three to be exact. These tours will take you through walking tours of the islands’ native flora and fauna, chances are you’ll even get with in walking distance of a komodo dragon. If walking isn’t your thing the islands are also a great place to dive, and most tours include this in the package. For those who just want a glimpse before moving on, a few cruise lines including Viking Cruises take a route which begins in Australia and has a day long stop on Komodo island for sightseeing.

The Great Barrier Reef

No fluff here, ocean pollution is a problem. Our ever rising population has led to record high levels of consumption which produces a load of pollution. Coral, those colorful rocks which dot reefs, are actually animals and not plants like some may think. Coral is more sensitive than a middle schooler who didn’t get asked to the dance, even touching coral can cause it’s structure to break down due to the natural acidity of the human body. With this in mind, the ever changing climate and acidity level of the ocean coupled with the trash collected in our oceans has led to massive coral die offs the world over. This includes one of the most iconic reefs in the world, The Great Barrier Reef. In fact, over half  of the reef has been reported to have died since as 2016. For those who aren’t familiar with the death of natural ecosystems; that’s fast. Unfortunately coral reefs take decades to form as the hard coral we think of is actually build up of the dead animal organism that actually is the coral.

So, what’s a traveler to do with a rapidly dying ecosystem on the verge of collapse? Typically if you want to see the Great Barrier Reef you begin your journey in Australia which officially administers the reef. From there you’ll most likely have to join one of the many tours that visit the reef every year. Since the reef has been such a money maker for travel agencies over the years a litany of companies offer tours for everyone’s budget. Make sure you have your passport before booking your trip, as you’ll need it to enter Australia. If you have a passport but it’s running low on pages or is expiring soon, consider applying for a passport renewal. Regardless, once you do make it to the reef you’ll probably be looking at it in one of two ways. If you enjoy snorkeling/scuba, many tours will gladly provide you with diving gear to get intimate with the reef’s inhabitants. Be warned, the reef’s inhabitants include a few species of sharks, so if you watched Jaws as a child and are still scarred perhaps our next option is more your speed. For those who suffer from acute aquaphobia, you still have the option of viewing the reef from a glass bottom boat. These boats are exactly what they sound like, boats with a transparent glass bottom that allow it’s riders to look down and enjoy the sights of the reef without any close encounters with hammerheads. Either way, head to The Great Barrier reef before all of the once vibrant coral turns a bleached white.

Italy's Venetian canals. Enjoy the beauty of Italy when you apply for a new passport.

Venice, Italy

Italy itself is known for being a large tourist destination with a wide range of cities, From Rome to Venice– Oh yeah, Venice might not be around in the future. This is also linked to human pollution, and more importantly, climate change. With the increasing climate comes rising sea levels. For those of you unfamiliar with the Italian city of Venice, the locale is known for the canals that criss-cross through the city. The waterways make travel by boat in the city viable, and for many it’s actually the preferred mode of transport through the city as the entire city is actually located on a series of small islands which are connected by a series of bridges. Naturally, the combination of it’s scenic waterways and being in Italy has made Venice a popular tourist spot.

With the rising sea levels however, it’s likely that soon travel by boat will be the only method of travel in the future as the sea may soon overtake pedestrian walkways. Climate change may not be the only culprit however, some researchers site shifting tectonic plates as one of the reasons the lagoon may soon disappear. This makes the issue plaguing venice a combination problem; the island itself is sinking while the sea around it is rising. If the local government doesn’t begin to look into solutions the entire city is slated to be underwater by the year 2100. However if things are heading that way in the near future it’s entirely possible that the city is instead evacuated rather than an actual fix being implemented. With all of that taken into consideration, it may be a good idea to head over sooner rather than later. Trust me, a gondolier ride through the thriving city of Venice is a lot more romantic than a gondolier ride through the half sunken remains of Venice.

Island Power Hour

All this talk of sinking cities has got me thinking of all the small scenic islands that may go the way of the dodo once sea levels rise too much. Instead of going in depth with all of these individual islands I’ve decided to group them together for the sake of time. Let’s first start with a list of all islands at risk of being swallowed by the sea:

  • The Maldives
  • Micronesia
  • Tuvalu
  • Fiji
  • Seychelles
  • Torres Strait
  • Palau
  • Republic of Kiribati
  • Samoa
  • Nauru
  • Marshall Islands
  • Solomon Island

Now, some of these aren’t islands but rather a series of islands called an archipelago. Fiji, for example, is an archipelago that contains about 330 islands. Some, like Tuvalu are comprised of as few as 9 islands, all of which are slated to disappear within the next few decades. Those of you out there with particularly sensitive FOMO senses may feel a bit tingly right now. Worry not, even though Tuvalu is a prime candidate to join the “hello I’m underwater” club there is also some evidence to show that it’s growing as fast as it’s sinking which may save it if climate change efforts around the world strengthen within the coming years.

Don’t think you can rest peacefully with the knowledge that these islands will most definitely exist in the coming decades. So far Tuvalu appears to be the only island outgrowing the threat of rising sea levels. If you haven’t visited any of the locations listed above consider an island hopping adventure to cross off as many as possible in a single go, you don’t have much time after all. Like with most forms of international travel you’ll need an active passport. If you don’t have a passport you’ll have to apply for a new passport. If you currently have a passport but lack the pages to visit all the islands on this list consider you can apply for a passport renewal.

The Arctic Circle

Now we get to talk about polar bears! All water contributing to rising sea levels has to come from somewhere, and the arctic circle is one of those places. Rising temperature means the ice that usually sits quite comfortably up at the north pole is melting at alarming rates. Currently NASA is claiming that arctic ice is decreasing by an alarming 13% a decade. This has several unfortunate consequences in The Arctic Circle. For example, unlike its sister pole in the south, The Arctic Circle doesn’t sit on any land. For example, let’s say that all the ice in Antarctica melts… Well, for one, everyone living on an island is probably screwed. HOWEVER, the good news is that under all that ice is a solid piece of land, so species like the penguin may not go completely extinct should a mass melting happen simply because they’ll have somewhere to be.

Polar bears may not be so lucky. Under the massive ice sheets of the north pole is… Nothing but ocean. While some land masses like Greenland and some of Canada’s northern territories extend into The Arctic Circle, they don’t make up a large part of the Polar Bear’s habitat. In other words, once all the ice up north melts the polar bears will either go extinct or be forced to move further south. Unlike their more common relatives like the black bear, polar bears are massive, about two to three times more massive than a black bear. So while the black bear has thrived in human inhabited areas due to it’s relatively small and non-threatening stature as well as its ability to scavenge, it’s unlikely the much more aggressive polar bear will be met with much acceptance if it’s forced to enter human cities to find food.

As far as visiting The Arctic Circle goes you’ll probably be heading there via boat or cruise ship. Cruises typically include excursions such as polar bear and whale watching. Naturally there are no airports located in The Arctic Circle because it’s mostly ice, hardly anyone lives there, and hardly any able bodied tourist wants to go there. There are some fly over tours that begin in Alaska and then head north to give passengers an aerial view of The Arctic Circle. Unfortunately no matter how you approach an arctic tour it’s going to cost you in the thousands, so maybe skip this spot and catch a polar bear in the zoo if that’s out of the realm of possibility for you.

That’s All! But What If You Still Need A Passport?

That’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed the read. Perhaps you noticed that all locations listed are outside the USA, this doesn’t exclude the USA from losing land to the sea however, in fact everyone’s favorite state Florida may lose a large portion of land to the sea in the future. However, if you’ve been to Florida and want to explore outside of the country you’ll need a passport! Lucky for you we’ve been helping travel lovers acquire passports for years, click here and check out our website for more info. Whether it be new passport, passport renewal, or replacing a lost/stolen passport, we’ve got you covered.