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7 Billion People – What does this mean for Travel?

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World Population Growth 7 Billion

World Population Growth 7 Billion

No matter how unique we all think we are, realistically we are still just a number. In fact I am the 79,691,134,498 human-being on this planet according to the UN population statistics:

  • 4.8 billion were still alive before me.
  • 3.5 billion have since been born after me.
  • 1.4 billion have died since I was born.

The reason I know this is that the UN has a very cool website where you can input the day and location you were born and it will give you all the statistics on who has lived before you and after you. It outlines where people are being born and where they are moving too.

Since 1968, the population of our world has doubled. Doubled! That’s 3.5 billion people extra in just 40 years.

The majority of this rapid population growth is occurring in less developed countries. Countries that the majority of us like to travel to.

So with the population due to reach 7 BILLION PEOPLE today it raises a number of worrying questions for me.

What does this mean for travel?

Well one of the benefits of population growth is that every day our world gets smaller and it becomes easier to travel. New planes and routes to connect the growth areas means that places that were previously inaccessible can now be reached by any Joe Blogs with any tour company. For goodness sake you can even pay a huge sum of cash and basically be carried up Mount Everest!

World Population

However, Population Growth does raise a number of issues. The greatest one which I have noticed is that I feel that every location I travel to becomes more Westernised. For every kind of traveller this creates problem. Although we may not all be perpetual traveller’s trying to “find” oneself the majority of us DO travel to explore new areas and cultures that we don’t get at home.

So these unique and new destinations will no longer be authentic in 20, 10 or even 1 years time. What will travellers do? Will we just travel for rest and relaxation? I know some people travel to the same destination year on year and absolutely love it.

Personally I don’t see the appeal of visiting an English pub in a warm and sunny climate such as Ibiza. Who wants to just hang out with the same food, drinks and people that you get at home?

How will this growing population affect my future travel plans?

Unfortunately I find myself with more questions than answers.

Would love to get your feedback below about why you are travelling and what you think population growth means for travellers? Has over-population or changes to “authentic” destinations meant that you have changed your travel plans?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Andrea

    October 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Interesting observations! I agree with you – most cities looks very similar as a result of globalization. I was so surprised by what I saw this year travelling to South America, for example. Sections of Lima, Bogota, Santiago, Buenos Aires, etc. look like they could be plucked right out of the US.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      October 31, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      Great points Andrea. We have not travelled through South America much but it seems like Asian countries are trying to achieve a “Western” look sometimes. I guess that is why we try to find more and more remote places to visit, which then suffer (maybe suffer is too harsh) the same fate. Hopefully some of these places we all love to visit will retain their uniqueness when they realise that is why we travel there in the first place!

  2. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    October 31, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    I didn’t know that UN site existed. Kinda cool.

    Exportation of culture and modernism is inevitable. However, I try to remind myself when I get to a location that the people there (or at least many of them) want the changes. Who am I to judge whether or not they should eat at McDonalds or live in a modern 20-story building?

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM

      Yea I wasted a good half hour on the site finding out bits and pieces about who was around before and after me!
      I totally agree with you there, and I don’t have any problem with people potentially wanting to chase the dream of living in a new apartment etc. I just hope that the cultures and true tourist sites that we want to visit are retained as that is the reason why we travel there (and ultimately where a lot of income for these people comes from). As long as they recognise that then I think there is hope.
      And progress is always good, as generally it leads to better health, incomes and lives for most people. Fingers crossed we can all continue to live in relative harmony without exploitation.

  3. Zablon Mukuba

    November 1, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    we are many people

  4. Tobias

    November 9, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Interesting and thought provoking post. I do agree that even cities in developing countries are starting to look alike. The number of Starbucks, mcdonalds and pizza hut’s in Manila, which i recently visited, makes the city look like it could be anywhere in Europe or North America.
    If you take a deep breath and go somewhat outside of your comfort zone though, there’s a lot of cultural differences to explore. And after all, that’s why we travel, right? 🙂

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 11, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      Definitely get what you mean Tobias. I understand why the development takes place and am glad that undeveloped countries are moving forward as well but I do love finding undeveloped areas. Just hope there are a few left in a few years time! Cheers
      Cole

  5. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    November 15, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    Interesting article. I guess I tend to travel to places that are extremely different from home, so I haven’t noticed this as much. I wonder what I will think when we head to South America next year.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 16, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      It was hard to try and put my thoughts in to words on this post as I understand the need for change and love that people are improving their lives. But imagine if all those places you travelled to that are so different started to sprout McDonald’s or Starbucks on every corner? Would you then think twice about going back? Cheers Cole

  6. Amy Moore

    November 17, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    I understand what you are saying, but I can’t agree with all of it. While some things may become homogenized (like finding a McDonalds in every larger city), people all across the world have national pride and will continue doing some things differently because of this. Look at places like Chinatown in NYC… the people there strive to live differently even though they are surrounded by Americans. Does it give you an “authentic” experience of China? Probably not… but can you truly have an authentic experience anyway?

    Also, I don’t feel you can point to population growth and say that it’s causing what you are feeling while traveling. Sure, travel is easier now than it used to be. Because there are more people in the world or could it be more accurately explained by better technology/business models/some third reason?

    I’m glad you wrote this post and gave me points to ponder. Looking forward to seeing your posts this winter from Egypt. Also, email me with your blog URL if you aren’t listed in our travel blog listing page already.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 17, 2011 at 8:06 PM

      Thanks for the insightful comments Amy. Definitely don’t mind you not agreeing with my points and don’t mind being put in my place! 🙂 Would rather have good discussions with people than believe everything I say haha.
      I agree totally that better technologies etc have made it easier to travel. I don’t necessarily agree that population growth is the reason behind it all, was just being quite general about the changes we have seen even just during our short 2 years of travel. I am all for people and communities living how they want to in their own societies, why should I, or anyone for that matter, tell them how to live their lives. It is great that a lot of countries are progressing forward and making all the changes. I guess I just would like to see some area retain their “authentic” feel as this is why we sometimes travel (if that makes sense). However, in saying that, I don’t want communities to “fake it” for tourists as that just degrades the whole experience in my eyes.
      Love that I gave you something to ponder and feel free to write a response as a guest post if you want?
      Will give you an email as we would love to feature on your guys travel blog as well!
      Cheers
      Cole

  7. Sebastian @ Off-The-Path.com

    November 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Interesting article! You can definitely see the westernization in many places but you can still find places which haven’t been that affected by tourism. This sometimes means that you gotta go off the path 😉

  8. Laurel

    November 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Very thought provoking post. I hate the Westernization of the world, but wonder if that’s going to change as the new super powers are up and coming and rather quickly. I haven’t really thought about how it will impact my travel plans, except to keep finding those “hidden” places, no matter where I am.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 21, 2011 at 7:44 PM

      Hi Laurel,
      Interesting point about the new super powers. It will be very interesting to see what happens because places like China has a booming tourism industry at the moment and wonder how this will affect our travel.
      I think “hidden” places are different for every traveller!
      Cheers
      Cole

  9. James

    November 24, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    I think that this is a growing issue. I also feel that it is part of a larger problem that extends beyond travel. When i look at the world i see that there are very few places that are self sufficient and dont rely on importing goods. This global reliance on the importing of good from western foods to clothes, I feel, is based on the fact that it is extremely hard for specific areas to provide these things for themselves. They therefore have to import, and large corporations, such as Mc Donalds etc, have capitalised on this. As far as travel goes, I think places will start to become very similar because of this, and things that define cultures will gradually decrease. Obviously this will take time so for those saying there are still differences out there, these differences aren’t exactly increasing are they. As you said in the post that travel is becoming easier, this is the case, but for how long will this continue? How long will we be able to access global air travel for it all of our planes run of a fuel that is depleting and non renewable? There is a lot to think about!!

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 24, 2011 at 9:41 AM

      Many many good points thanks James. And there are definitely corporations out there that are capitalising on the needy (this has always been the case and always will be I believe until we all take notice that we are getting screwed by the 1%).
      It is interesting about the planes and fuel because companies like Virgin are already trialling biofuels to run their planes on so hopefully we are headed in this direction and can stop using polluting non-renewable products (this needs a new post by itself haha).
      Thanks

  10. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad

    December 18, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    It is true that lot of places are becoming more “westernized”, but that is indeed progress like Stephanie and others said. And while you will find McDonalds almost everywhere, the culture and the attitude of people hasn’t changed as radically I don’t think (although I would be naive to say it hasn’t had any impact). I recently went to Philippines and while yes you have pizza hut and McDonalds and big malls and all that, the people still feel very different and they still are ridicilously friendly. I don’t think people change as quickly as we fear.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 18, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      Thanks for the insight Jarmo. Totally agree that by just having a Macca’s doesn’t make a culture “westernized” but it is always interesting to see them everywhere (plus handy for the loo’s). As I have said before I hope that every civilization does continue to progress but still hold true to their own beliefs and traditions. It’s so good to hear that about the Philippines as well. We really want to visit there in the next year or 2.

  11. Angel Collins

    December 19, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Wow!. You are a great observer. I totally agree with you. I didn’t realized that most countries are westernize already. I just came to that thought just now. Great point of view!. XD

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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