Natural Wonders For Your Wanderlust

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

While generalizations are a bad idea , there are usually two distinct types of travelers that you will find at any destination throughout the world.

Type 1: The Rester 

Resters have few desires from their holidays. For them, time away is meant to be just that - time away. The mere fact they are free from the rigors of daily life is enough to keep them happy. They want an easy flight and a nice hotel with good food. They will go on the occasional day trip, but realistically, all they expect from their foreign travels is some rest and relaxation. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this; people do what they need to do. However, to the second type of traveler, these people may seem very bizarre indeed.

Type 2: The Explorer 

For Explorers, the world is their oyster and they have a lot of space to fit into a single lifetime. The idea of sitting on a beach for a week is their idea of hell. They want to explore - as the name suggests - and see and do amazing things. They want experiences that few people have, to witness amazing natural phenomena with their own eyes - and this is the pertinent point we’re going to focus on.

The natural world is ever-changing; a concert of evolution and difference. No two people will bring the same experience back from a place. We see things through our own filter. Some will look at a rainbow and see divinity; others will see the pure science at its core. Neither interpretation is wrong; it’s just experiencing the world through our own eyes. 

The one thing that unites the way we see and experience natural phenomena is that it makes an impression on us. If you don’t feel a stirring in your soul, that yearning for a connection with nature, when contemplating the experiences below then perhaps you’re an ultimate Rester. But for you explorers, here’s a few more sights to add to your ever-expanding bucket list. 

The Northern Lights 

The Aurora Borealis (better known as the Northern Lights) is a wonderful way to kick things off when you’re letting nature be your guide. This spectacular night show is courtesy of Earth’s magnetic field interacting with the radiation from the sun. 

The Northern Lights are not a guarantee. Traveling as far north as possible will give you a better chance. Iceland excursions, Canada holidays and Norway weekends away are you going to give you the best chance of success. 

There are plenty of other fascinating things to do in the northern countries, so it’s advisable to not make the Northern Lights your sole reason for the trip. Being natural, they depend on the sun’s output at any given time for the spectacle, display and colors that you will see. If you time it right, however, it’s a light show you’ll never forget. 

An Erupting Volcano

Puzzled? After all, volcanic eruptions are not something you can predict - right? So while you might travel to a volcano-heavy zone, you’re not going to be able to time it to the point you’re guaranteed to see an eruption…

Wrong. The volcano above, Stromboli, has been in a constant state of eruption for over a century. Located just off the coast of Italy, if you need a geological fix, there’s nowhere better to visit. Not only will Stromboli allow you to see an eruption, but the famed Mount Etna is within traveling distance. It’s everything your inner volcanologist could want. 

If this sounds dangerous, then don’t worry - people have been living and working around volcanoes since the dawn of time. For the civilizations found around those volcanoes deemed to be in a state of continual eruption, they’re used to this and their structures and emergency procedures know how to handle it. It’s now reached a point where they would likely be more disturbed by a lack of volcanic eruptions than seeing the latest ash cloud. 

Going Deeper Underground

So you’ve seen an option for the sky and then for the earth - it’s about time we got things more subterranean here. 

Mankind has been fascinated by caves since the beginning, as you can see by early man's handiwork adorning the walls of underground caverns. There’s something about seeing a glimpse beneath the surface that fascinates us. It’s endearing, too; scientists suggest we know more about outer space than we do the core of the earth. 

Pictured above is an entry-level cave: The Blue Grotto, found on (under?) the isle of Capri in Italy. There is no trickery with this photograph; the colors are genuine, formed by the way sunlight passes into the cave. It’s an impressive lighting effect, and you can paddle through the waters and see the ancient formations. 

If you’d rather stay on land, then it’s Mexico you need to visit. The Cave of the Crystals has some of the most bizarre, almost-alien geological phenomena the world has to see - and what’s more, it’s well-provided for tourists to wander between the stunning formations. 

If you were asked to picture a waterfall, you’d probably picture Niagara Falls. While the falls on the American/Canadian border are the best known in the world, they’re not the biggest. The biggest waterfall in the world is actually twice the height of anything Niagara has to offer - and you’ll find it in Africa. 

The Victoria Falls are situated between Zambia and Zimbabwe, created by the Zambezi River. And that’s probably the most Zs you’ve seen used in a sentence for a long time. This amazing attraction is notable for the beauty of its location as well as the tricks of the light - such as rainbows - that it creates.

This is a holiday for the fittest; walking around the falls is no small task, and you will have to have the physical stamina to do it. You could just visit for a short while and take in the spectacle if you prefer, but something this stunning deserves to have a little more time spent on it if you can do so. 

Feeling Crabby? 

It’s impossible to discuss natural wonders without turning minds to the animal kingdom. While there could be a mention here of lions on the African plains… but everyone talks about that, don’t they? You know the lions exist, you know where to find them - so let’s talk about something with a crustacean flavor. 

Yes, crabs. Red crabs, to be specific. Have you ever wanted to be surrounded by the “sea spiders”, watching them scrabble their way across a beach? Then you’re in luck. Here’s the beast in question:

It’s quite cute, right? If you squint.

You’ll need to go to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean to find them. It’s estimated up to 42 million crabs per year begin to crowd the beaches on their annual mating migration. It’s a fascinating sight, and the entire island has to shut down roads to accommodate it. This video gives a pretty good look at just how extreme the migration is. So rather than visiting a leopard enclosure and just hoping to see an animal in its natural environment; you can travel to Christmas Island and guarantee you’ll be seeing plenty. 

It’s worth noting that there’s plenty of other reasons to visit Christmas Island, too. It’s a stunning place that suits the term island paradise, and there’s plenty of other unique flora and fauna to visit. If it’s the migration you want though, you’ll need to visit around October or November.

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Quote to Live By

"Not all those who wander are lost."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

Carpe Diem

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