Feb 18, 2011 at 11:07 am #1269349
Interesting read on why most Americans don't travel abroad. Not surprisingly — similar to how some folks who have never hiked have an inordinate fear of the wilds out there — many Americans "harbor an unmatched fear of the world". And again, methinks just like with people who have never hiked, those who don't travel are really missing out as well…Feb 18, 2011 at 11:08 am #1698356
I just got one in the last couple of years, but have yet to use it. The process for getting one now is so lengthy, I wanted to have it in case I caught a deal on going to say, New Zealand.Feb 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm #1698401
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Mine is expired. Does that mean I don't have one? Haven't used it since '98.Feb 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm #1698402
"Only 30% of Americans Hold a Passport"
And you can't get it unless you pry them from our cold, dead fingers. Or warm dead fingers if they get there soon enough….Feb 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm #1698404
I've got some cool stamps in mine. Croatia. Bosnia. East Germany. I've got a great story about getting the East Germany stamp. Well, I think it's great anyway.Feb 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm #1698409
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
Saudi Arabia is my most exotic visa/stamp. Went there on business…Feb 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm #1698410
"Saudi Arabia is my most exotic visa/stamp. Went there on business…"
I went to Saudi Arabia once, by way of Iraq and Kuwait, on 'business.' They didn't stamp our passports though…… ;-)Feb 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #1698424
I would LOVE to visit SA — but tourist visas are only given to tour groups, and infidels are not allowed anywhere near Mecca or Medina!! Oh well…Feb 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #1698425
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I have one and work very hard to avoid out of country business trips. There are more great places to hike in the US than can be accomplished in a lifetime… so why go somewhere else?
I was going to go to Tanzania this year, but my wife nixed that idea :(
but I am sort of glad, because the dead time it takes to fly will be put to more constructive use.
It is my understanding that the new passports have biometric chips in them with personal information stored… no thanks Big Brother. I am going to let mine expire.Feb 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm #1698428
I lived/worked in Saudi Arabia for over 5 years, and let me tell you, it isn't all that exotic. Well, camping in the Empty Quarter was special, but the rest of the country is pretty bleak. It would make a superb landfill.
As for visas, we had to have an EXIT visa just to get out of the country. They like to keep track of where their worker bees are. But those exit/re-entry visas were lifelines to sanity. And they allowed me to fill up 3 different passports and visit over 100 countries while I lived there.Feb 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm #1698435
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
It is my understanding that the new passports have biometric chips in them with personal information stored… no thanks Big Brother. I am going to let mine expire.
Yes, but more importantly, as a result of this, they now weigh almost twice as much as the old ones.
I highly recommend visiting Turkey. The country is beautiful and culturally rich, with many hospitable and kind souls. Single entry Tourist visas are $20 ($65 if you are Canadian) at Istanbul Airport port of entry and good for up to 90 days. The Lycian Way and St. Paul's (legitimately named) Trail are of note.Feb 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm #1698441
'Cause 70% of us can't afford to go anywhere.Feb 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm #1698442
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
Travelling does tend to promote understanding and tolerance.Feb 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm #1698444
Do I need a passport to visit California? I've heard that's like another country…….Feb 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm #1698446
"Travelling does tend to promote understanding and tolerance."
Very true. And just like wilderness hiking — traveling also banishes the "fear of the unknown".Feb 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm #1698447
Understanding and tolerance are over rated. I'll stick to snap judgments. j/k
Douglas, you won't want to use the return ticket after you get here.Feb 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm #1698457
The cost is just way too high. $110 for the passport. $25 for "processing fee" and then $10 for a picture. Seems odd we have to pay this much for a document that lets you travel outside of the country.Feb 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm #1698458
"Douglas, you won't want to use the return ticket after you get here."
I have no doubt that's true! But, of course, you all may want me to use that ticket by the time the weekend's over! ;-)Feb 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm #1698472
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
I'd guess foreign travel is out of budget for the poor, working poor, and most of the middle class.
Why have a passport when there is no chance of using it ?
30% of Americans are able to entertain thoughts of foreign travel, thus they have a passport.Feb 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm #1698476
Not to understate the plight of the poor among us… but reading the article, 30% is clearly very low for an affluent nation such as ours.Feb 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm #1698483
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
Well, I may make more in a month than some do in a year (in other countries) but its still efin $900 for my wife and I to fly from Portland to Pittsburgh.
I can afford to go to Canada (but why would I?) ;~P
or Mexico… but, you know… bullets and such flying towards cracka az crackas such as myself.
Honestly- I'm pretty frightened by reports of Americans getting messed with, so I'm nervous about traveling. I know its narrow-minded, alarmist and stuff, but it makes me nervous.
Are we hated as much as I think?
I'm sure its just the 1% as usual, but the media drilling it into my head and stuff- I guess it pervaded my grey matter.
Tell me there's nothing to worry about…Feb 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm #1698485
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"Tell me there's nothing to worry about…"
There is not too much to worry about. I still travel internationally once in a while, but I make a point of reading the U.S. Department of State travel warnings before I plan my trip. When I go to some third-world countries, I avoid the areas of political unrest, and when I do get near a U.S. embassy, I check in there. I mean, if I suddenly go missing, at least somebody will know where to recover the body.
Just like in the U.S., in the third-world countries there can be a lot of crime in the big cities. I had heard first-hand reports of the street crime in Nairobi, Kenya. So, when I got there, I never went out alone on the streets.
Jeff, this isn't helping, is it?
–B.G.–Feb 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm #1698494
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"I can afford to go to Canada (but why would I?) ;~P"
I know that was meant in jest, but I have been to Canada a number of times and had a great time.
More wild than here.
You can see Northern lights.
It's a lot of fun taking the ferry to Vancouver Island.
I remember going into a gas station and several people came out to wash my windows and stuff, sort of like from the U.S. 50 years ago.
I remember going to campgrounds where they had free firewood rather than charging $5.00 for a small bundle, sort of like the U.S. 50 years ago.Feb 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm #1698497
As Nick mentioned, it also relates to the size and ease of access in this country; consider each of our states as a national border, as in Europe, and you'd see more passports. Unlike Nick's other assertion, however, he has plenty to gain by experiencing other cultures, through travel, first hand. I think the majority of Homo sapiens would benefit from that. Sure, Americans too, or especially. But traveling abroad doesn't necessarily equate with an expansion of consciousness. Likewise, neither does camping or hiking. You can lead the horse to water, but you can't make her drink. No matter your country of origin, no matter the country of travel, or the trail, or the park, you'll find familiar examples of excess, and waste, and phobias, and cretinism; and beauty, and charity, and understanding, and compassion. Passport or not, day-hike or thru-hike, you need to pick your head up and open your eyes to see.
Gotta say, no matter where I go, I find Australians who know how to get out of their country, to wake up hung-over anywhere with a grin, and give you a hand off the floor.
See you in South America, folks. The drinks are on me!
-MichaelFeb 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm #1698533
A lot of the fear is actually a fear of the unknown. Witness how many non-hikers cite getting eaten by bears when in reality, such occurrences are really quite rare! Ditto for banditos and bloodthirsty Islamics supposedly out to get at Americans! Indeed, oftentimes, simply by venturing abroad, you are statistically much safer from crime as compared to home — esp. the violent sort!!
Now, third world traffic — that's an altogether different story!! I snapped this photo along a highway in Bangladesh. A coach bus flipped over to the embankment below just the day before, causing 5 deaths and many more injuries — an all-too-common occurrence in that country where buses, trucks, cars, three-wheelers, cyclers, pedestrians, and cows, horses, sheep and goats all fight for space on two-lane highways! Be afraid. Be very afraid!
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