Monday, October 26, 2009

Who's the worstest blogger in the world?

Me, because I'm crazy busy finishing up my second master's degree and planning a move across the country (Ryan and I are taking a break from academia due to a change of academic plans).

But, I found this map (thanks Bill!) and had to share:

The redder a place is, the more remote it is. I am here to tell you that this map is highly delusional. Just because there are roads somewhere does not mean you can drive in the same way you can in America--a dirt track in India (or, for that matter, a paved road) is very different from the equivalent road in America. Anyone who thinks they can practically drive across Uganda in six hours is fricking delusional--a day if you're really lucky, have a good four by four and a good driver. And sure, you can get up the Congo river in a couple of days--if there's fuel available, and often there isn't. Roads in Papua New Guinea flood frequently or are blocked via tribal violence. The cost of traveling by each of these different methods is an interesting factor--in order to travel according to the speeds they're suggesting in some of these places, you might as well charter a helicopter, cause the cost won't differ much in terms of how many helpers you'll have to pay, how many people you'll need to bribe, etc.

So all you adventurers out there, don't think that the world is quite so connected as this might make it seem. Just because you can get cell phone reception on safari in Tanzania (trust me, I have) does not mean that the only place you can go that's remote is Tibet. If I can find places that *I* think are remote (and my standards are high), then you can too.

Places to start, based on our experiences:
Papua New Guinea
Western (or eastern, or northern) Uganda
Namibia, especially near the border with Angola and Botswana.
Northern India
Northern Vietnam
Coastal Tanzania
Northeastern Zanzibar
The Beqqa Valley, Lebanon

For goodness sakes, people, just get away from the cities, away from the tour guides, and find a way to deal with just yourself and your traveling companions. See how much you can communicate with just gestures and a few words--Please, thank you, yes, no, hello and goodbye all go a loooong way. People say you need to know numbers, but so long as you have hands, numbers aren't that hard to convey. Eat the local food, drink the local liquor (cautiously--usually it's safe, but that doesn't mean it doesn't pack a punch), make kids laugh by showing them their pictures on your camera's screen and the games you used to play as a child. Bring gifts, and accept them, and realize that the important thing this map shows is not how easy it is to travel, but how interconnected we all are.

That's all for now.