#8 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
#8 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

“I’m actually quite skeptical about traveling. I think travelers should be much more aware of the ethical consequences of their journeys. If you travel with means, you only see the places you want to visit and that’s very selective. You go to have your own special experience. South America for example is very nice for backpackers – it has many beautiful places and it’s easy and cheap to travel. Living there is quite a different story. A lot of people are poor for example. Western travelers come and go, spending their money on tourist attractions, planes and buses. I think they are often not aware of their burden on the environment and on the country itself. Even if you’re traveling to do more than just having a good time, you should think twice about why and how you want to do so. If you travel to learn about a country, you could instead read a book. Literature written by people who have lived and invested in a place gives a pretty accurate idea of what a country is like in reality. And it’s better for the environment too. And if you travel for charity related reasons, think about the ethical implications: you always go home, you will never give your whole life for a few kids in some Third World orphanage. For me, the only good reason to go on a journey is to get unhappy. When I travelled, I often felt very lonely, realizing I didn’t fit in the country of my travel. It made me realize that one is bound to one’s home and you have to invest in that home. Many people feel like Thailand is their backyard, when they have never actually seen their own country.”