What exciting places do you dream of visiting this year? Before thinking about desirable travel destinations, it is helpful to first rule out the undesirable ones. Having done my fair share of travel over the last few years, I feel qualified to offer some valuable advice to those resolving to get out and explore during this new year. If you’ve put any of the following locations on your bucket list, you can cross them off without even going through the trouble of visiting them. For your own benefit, please take the following suggestions into serious and thoughtful consideration.
1. North Korea
Known worldwide for being one of, if not the most, oppressive and isolated nations in modern times, it may be a good idea to think twice about booking that trip to North Korea. While – as a quick Google search will reveal – North Korea’s glistening capital of Pyongyang may be loaded with exciting attractions such as the Liberation Monument, the Monument to Party Founding, Kim II Sung Square, and the Korean Revolution Museum, you should first factor in the not unlikely possibility that you may be detained in the country indefinitely against your will, as the U.S. State Department North Korean Travel Advisory warns.
Whether you have your heart set on visiting Pyongyang, Wonsan, Chongjin, or Mt. Kumgang National Park, it’s probably best to rule out the whole country altogether.
Don’t be too disappointed – South Korea is a wonderful alternative! Should you decide to visit South Korea, however, remember to resist the urge to sneak across the Demilitarized Zone to see North Korea as it may place the rest of your life’s travel plans in jeopardy. Instead, consider waiting a few decades for the Kim regime to topple, giving way to a peaceful, travel-friendly democratic society.
2. The local landfill
The reasons not to visit your local landfill are numerous, ranging from its putrid smell to the depressing sight of mounds of dirty trash to the chance of acquiring a dangerous – even life-threatening – infection. The list goes on.
The reasons to visit, on the other hand, are few and far between and are generally outweighed by the reasons not to.
If you’re bored and it seems that there’s nothing else to do, consider that staying home may still be a better option than milling around at the nearest dump site. If you’re a dedicated forager willing to endure the odorous waste heaps to find your treasure among other men’s trash, keep in mind that trespassing in order to remove material from a landfill is illegal and that you may be prosecuted. The illegality of such actions is backed up by numerous lawyers on the www.avvo.com thread “Is retrieving disguarded items illegal?” Also, your family, friends, and neighbors may grow suspicious of you due to the negative perceptions surrounding such activity.
3. ULAS J0744+25
An article by Mike Wall for www.space.com explains that scientists have discovered an exciting new star on the fringes of our galaxy. The idea of visiting this star and venturing farther into the universe than any human has ever ventured before may seem appealing at first glance. Even now, the thought of being 500 quintillion miles from the Earth accompanied only by the deep abyss of space and a majestically blazing red dwarf may be evoking a sense of wonder, mystery, and adventure within you.
Nothing quite says “getaway” like being hundreds of thousands of lightyears away from any trace of human civilization.
While it may temporarily be a relaxing and awe-inspiring experience (supposing you have the right equipment to survive in such inhospitable conditions), remember that every good vacation must come to an end and a return journey must be planned. It should go without saying, however, that such a return from ULAS J0744+25 is impossible to achieve in a single lifetime.
Before committing to any plans of visiting the star, think first about everything that you would leave behind, which would be – quite literally – just about everything. You would never again know the warm embrace of your loved ones, the simple pleasure of a stroll through the woods, the sweet delight of a freshly-microwaved marshmallow.
For those to whom the idea of abandoning it all for the solitude that this deep corner of space provides, a deterring factor is the fact that ULAS J0744+25 is not only impossible to return from based on current technology, but is also impossible to reach from Earth.
On the surface, prison may sound like a fantastic place to go: lots of free time, readily-available recreation facilities, all one’s meals provided for, and few responsibilities. It’s essentially an all-inclusive resort. Perhaps best of all, it costs nothing to attend!
Now, before you go and confess to any unsolved crimes in your area, be sure that you are making an informed, critical decision. Carefully weigh the downsides along with the benefits. Most prison inmates are in fact very dissatisfied with their experience. This may be due to the fact that prison is used as a means of punishment to inhibit crime and thus the conditions are kept less than ideal. Also keep in mind that contact with loved ones and the outside world in general will be limited.
You may also find that you do not get along well with people with an inclination to criminal behavior, which would severely hinder your enjoyment of the prison experience. If these are sacrifices you are willing to make for the comforts of inmate life, prison may be a reasonable place to spend your 2017. If not, it’s best that it be avoided.
Living in the United States of America, you might think that you know all the fifty states pretty well. But, just for a moment now, think of everything you know about Delaware. I know what you’re thinking: “Um… it borders Maryland and Pennsylvania, I think, and maybe New Jersey, too. The capital starts with a D or something, right?” This, right off the bat, is not a good sign. It’s also not a good sign that the first Google auto-suggestion to appear after typing “Delaware” is “Delaware boring.”
To make matters worse, an article by Shaun Gallagher, the First State Tourism Board chairman, at www.visitdelaware.pressbin.com proclaims that “[a]fter several years of extensive and expensive marketing research, the First State Tourism Board is proud to unveil its new official tourism slogan, ‘Delaware: Boring on Purpose.’” Things just don’t seem to be lining up in Delaware’s favor, do they?
One may argue that one has a legitimate reason to visit Delaware. One should consider, however, that anything that causes a person to visit Delaware was probably not legitimate in the first place. While Delaware may have been the first state to join the Union, it should certainly not be first on your list of travel priorities. Consider avoiding it like the plague.
To avoid a disastrous travel fiasco, don’t even go so far as to search for a flight until you have read my second installment of valuable suggestions on where to avoid in the coming year, to be found in the next edition of The Reporter.
This article will continue in an upcoming edition of The Reporter. Stay tuned!