The world is a supermarket of pleasure travel. Or is it? Subtract the oceans, the seas, and many of the lakes 70 percent of the total. That leaves 30 percent of the geography for travel if we delete cruising as a destination. Subtract the very cold regions, most of the Arctic and the Antarctic, another 10 percent at least. That leaves 20 percent of the globe as potential destination for pleasure travel. Subtract those inaccessible spots like the tops of the great mountain ranges such as the Andes, the Rockies, the Himalayas. Subtract another 5 percent. That leaves 15 percent.
Subtract those countries which bar tourists: Albania and Guinea. Subtract the places you would not want to go, like much of the Congo, the Amazon, the innards of Alaska, Northern Siberia, Mongolia and Tibet. That leaves less than 10 percent of the world up for grabs as a place to go, but 10 percent of a lot is still a lot.
Americans go abroad to Canada in the greatest numbers and spend the most. Mexico comes next. Then Western Europe, including Britain; then the Caribbean and so on. The addicted international traveler never runs out of destinations.
Pleasure travel thrives on convenience, low prices, destination interest, and safety for the traveler. To the novice traveler it may be a nearby city. To the veteran it is Katmandu, Nepal, the island nation of Mauritius or the Seychelle Islands. The exotic attracts the adventurer. The People’s Republic of China is in. The five-day trip on the Trans-Siberian railroad is an adventure. What next? Greenland, the North Pole, a free-balloon trip over Central France, the Amazon; a search for history, for archeological treasure, for fabled cultures, the bird of paradise, complete sex freedom, the perfect retirement place. Difficulty in reaching an exotic destination may only add to its allure. There is no place out of bounds for the travel adventurer.
International travel is as addictive as cocaine, and much healthier. It can be edifying, challenging, and unfortunately, debilitating or even lethal.
Basic information about the nations of the world is seen on pages 3-8, outdated even before publication because it changes so rapidly. It serves, however, to suggest the range of cultures, population figures, languages, religion and wealth. About a hundred of these countries did not even exist as nations before World War II. Some are not quite sovereign nations in the usual sense. Vatican City and San Marino are examples. Nevertheless each of these examples is an important travel destination.
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