Blog: Leftovers

As I am quickly approaching my 700th visited WHS, I become more and more convinced that reaching 800 or 900 WHS is entirely possible. As long as I stay in good health and have sufficient financial means, I can continue adding WHS to my tally at (almost) the same speed as I do now. But will that pattern be enough to finally conquer all of them? To answer that question, I analyzed the ‘missing’ lists of our 3 grand old men: Atila, Iain and Solivagant.

Wadi al-Hitan: too recent?

78 WHS have not been visited by any of these 3

It turns out there is a hard core of WHS that have not been reached (yet) by these 3 WH Travelers. This combined ‘missing’ list from early December 2018 includes 78 WHS. My hypothesis is that those who aim for the full coverage of the whole List, should look at these ‘leftovers’ first. These should become a priority when you statistically still have more time and money left than at later age.

Looking at that list, I think there are 5 categories of reasons why these 78 have not been covered yet:

1. Too recent – WHS that have been inscribed in the past few years, in areas where these WH travelers have not yet returned to. This will eventually solve itself, although you might be chasing each year’s new additions at the end. Examples are Los Alerces, Rjukan/Notodden and Wadi al-Hitan.

2. Too expensive – both as a lump sum (Wrangel Island) or for perceived Return-on-Investment (Kuk). This seems to be not a fully rational choice however: WH Travelers all readily pay significant sums to reach Rapa Nui or Galapagos relatively early in their travel ‘careers’ – but apparently we are not prepared to do so with sites that are lesser known or where we expect a meagre reward.

3. Too isolated – besides cost, the time it takes getting to a particular WHS is also an obstacle. From our connection Isolated WHS, the trio combined have not visited 11 out of the 20.

4. Too dangerous - the leftover WHS in Iraq, Afghanistan and DR of Congo plus 2 isolated ones in Mali and Nigeria can currently be considered to be in this category. They are not totally out of bounds, but do you want to rough and risk it at a later age?

5. Too little appeal - related to category 1 and 2, is a site worth the effort and money to travel back to a region that you have already been before?

Rock Islands: too isolated?

It’s not the dangerous sites

When you have let’s say 50 years to cover them all, circumstances of WHS that are at any given moment too dangerous to access will eventually change. We would not go to Syria now, but it was quite common 15 years ago and may be so again in 5 years or so (Palmyra apparently is opening again next year). Atila, Iain and Solivagant all have Syria well-covered from before the Civil War. Countries or regions rarely stay dangerous for a very long time, though the DR of Congo tries very hard!

The isolated ones are the trickiest

In the end, the most isolated WHS are the trickiest. They have multiple disadvantages: they are expensive to get to (both in time and money) and they will ‘only’ reward you with 1 new tick. We all are tempted to go for areas with clusters of WHS.

Virunga: too dangerous?

My Plan

Looking at each of the 78 individually, most of them are certainly doable. Unlike the trio, I already have visited 8 of these WHS. Some of the remaining ones should be considered as add-ons to regular trips. Like I did with the Rock Islands from Seoul. To get to Levuka from Europe, better combine it with a trip to Australia. Further on I will be aiming for 1 out of the 20 isolated WHS each year. There are some really great WHS on that shortlist such as Kamchatka and the Lakes of Ounianga to which I am looking forward to.

Published 22 December 2018

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Responses to Leftovers
Els Slots (22 December 2018)

The list is linked in the text at " ‘missing’ list from early December 2018 " (we should make those links a bit bolder)


Nan (22 December 2018)

Can you put the list somewhere for review? .... We can also provide the map.