In my travels, I noticed how most travellers are attracted by inhospitable places and most of them would go to a great extent so that they can later brag to their friends about the awesome thing they’ve seen. And I started wondering, why do people travel to inhospitable places?
I’ve put together a shortlist of inhospitable places, and I tried to point out the things that make them so inhospitable and to understand why people would spend so much time and money travel to such places.
The Atacama Desert in Chile – a desert at over 2400 meters above sea level, where no plant or animal life can survive.
Danakil Depression – One of the hottest (+50°C) and lowest (-130 m) places on the planet, 1,000+ square km of salt deserts, sulfur fields.
Death Valley, California – The highest temperature ever recorded by a weather station is 134.1 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius). Tourists have fun by frying eggs on asphalt.
Mount Everest – 8 848 meters above sea level. At 8000 meters, the so-called death zone begins.
Chernobyl and Pripyat – The largest man-made disaster. In 1986, one of the 4 nuclear reactors of the Chernobyl power plant exploded and many died instantly from the radiation, while others developed cancer and other serious health conditions. The contaminated area will have to remain inhabited by people for thousands of years.
Antarctica – The world’s southernmost continent, it’s also the world’s highest, driest, windiest, coldest, and iciest continent.
The Sahara Desert – It is the largest hot desert in the world, and it occupies entire northern Africa. It has a total area of 8,600,000 square km.
Why do people travel in inhospitable places?
I haven’t been to all of these inhospitable places, but I’ve been to one of them.
The closest and more accessible to me. But the one that is probably the greatest tragedy in the history of our species. I’ve been to Chernobyl and it’s clearly a place of dark tourism. There were huge crowds and countless busses driving foreigners around.
Locals don’t even want to talk about that place, but foreigners pay money to visit it. Why? Why are people so drawn to inhospitable places? Or why are some people are attracted to such places?
When talking about a normal destination, tourists seem to be attracted by culture, architecture, gastronomy, infrastructure, landscape, events, or shopping.
But what is the attraction for dark tourism?
Apparently, it is called extreme tourism, and it attracts some people, not all people. But the question remains. Why?
Only some people are attracted by in inhospitable places?
Yes. Some people are attracted by inhospitable places.
It is more important to look at the people who travel to inhospitable places to understand the Why, because it’s their why, and it doesn’t apply to all of us.
Some people are genetically wired to be actively seeking adrenaline, which psychologists call “novelty seeking”. Simply put, this personality trait turns some people into risk-takers, and this can develop in many ways, depending on the individual
Some acquire a taste for extreme sports, other binge drink, while others travel to inhospitable places to get a bit of rush.
Our brains are to blame for this. We all react in a specific way when we enjoy something. Our brain gets the addictive dopamine secreted when we find pleasure in something. Some get dopamine when exploring hard to reach and inhospitable places.
It’s like they are some sort of extreme travel junkies.
The conclusion is that we are all different, but somehow the same. We all enjoy doing different things. But no matter what are the different things we do, the reaction in our brains are the same and drive us to the same result.
For some, dopamine gets released by binge eating, while for others it happened when they transcend fear.
All in all, it’s not all bad. Yes, some places are not considered to be touristic attractions, but I am a strong believer that we need to visit a destination because of the needs WE need to fulfil, but for the sake of it. And that’s why I don’t believe that all places are for everyone. And that’s why the perfect place to travel to, doesn’t exist. What’s perfect for me, it will not be perfect for you.
And that’s ok.
Our world needs all of us, to exist just the way we are. Because progress doesn’t happen when everything is simple and all is the same. It happens when we are challenged.