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See them while its possible list?

It will be difficult (especially for me) but if we can discuss this without it becoming political and getting removed by the webmaster, that would be nice.

So upcoming trip to Eastern Ukraine is somewhat up in the air; worst case scenario I end up in Lviv.

But it does cause consideration for future trips; and which I might want to consider moving sooner based on such issues.

Russia is off the table. Safe enough I presume, but .....

Belarus was trying to open a little, but recent events pretty much slammed the door on that. So I guess that window was short and is now (for me) closed.

Moldova is probably off the list for now until we see how it plays into the current Ukraine issue.

"Free" Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bosnia & Herzegovina come to mind as places to get to soon; possibly Armenia too.

Next tier down might include Serbia and Kosovo and Albania for various reasons...

Posted by
6854 posts

I wish I saw Cuba and Brazil when it was easier to do so (each one for different reasons). I don't think any European country is impossible (although Belarus is off the table for me for a bunch of reasons). I am interested in many of the same places in Europe as you are but I'm much more sheepish about the very low vaccination rates and lack of public health measures (due to politics, local skepticism, sheer availability, etc)....so they will have to wait for several years. I'll just keep them on the back burner for now, but I think fondly of going back to Bosnia one day and visiting Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia, etc. They have been on my list for a long time.

Posted by
1028 posts

This has been on my mind. I wish I could better articulate how I choose where to travel. Sometimes, a place starts whispering my name. In 2018, Istanbul started calling. Thankfully, I had a great trip to Turkey in 2019. I know there are many that wouldn't travel to Turkey for political/religious or safety reasons.

Recently, St. Petersburgh and Moscow are calling. This is interesting to me because even as recently as 4 months ago I had no interest in traveling to Russia. I think it started with a story that I saw about the Hermitage. This trip certainly doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon.

I do not feel that it is my moral responsibility not to travel to a place because of political differences or humanitarian shortcomings of the government. It is not my intent to support any government when I travel. Being a witness could prove valuable. Contact with citizens would definitely be valuable to both of us.

I am interested in what others have to say.

I also feel lucky to have visited Cuba in 2016 after Obama's trip there.

Posted by
8274 posts

We took a two-week trip to Cuba with Road Scholar in 2019 because I had a feeling the rules could change anytime. And they did two months later.
We also went on a private, 2-week tour of Georgia and Armenia in 2019 because if not then, when? Yes, go. Of the two, Armenia is more westernized due to the influence of its diaspora population, has beautiful scenery, churches and monasteries, excellent national museum, delicious food. We met and spoke with many, many people in English and French, ran into Armenian-Americans, Iraqis on weekend trips. Tons of hospitality. Don't miss seeing Mt. Ararat over the border from Yerevan.
The only place you couldn't go today, where we went, was the disputed territories Nagorno-Karabakh; tense but still hospitable. Armenians from Syria had been relocated there and sadly now have had another war.

Georgia was different, but go! All of us had traveled at some point in different areas of the old USSR and felt remnants of those times still affecting the population. Scenery is magnificent, food delicious, interesting monuments. A lot of Russian tourists. Just don't go near the northern border. We had drivers and French or English speaking guides with us in both countries.
Plane tickets to Armenia sell out fast when they go on sale. Your favorite airline doesn't fly there. We flew Paris to Tbilisi on Georgian Airways and Yerevan to the US via Paris on Air France.
Yes, go, go, go.

Posted by
1679 posts

Like vandrabrud, I have a bit of trouble articulating thoughts on this.

As you know, I tossed around the idea of a week in Kyiv in the fall but have temporarily tabled that. But it may well already be too late for this year and after that, who knows. And as much as we dislike the term Plan B, I have one and it’s a good one as far as that goes. But it isn’t the Ukraine. For too late? Either it is already a little too late or it won’t be too late. And right now there’s no way for me to know, so I wait. In that regard, it is somewhat like choosing where to go with regard to Covid - it’s a moving target, no pun intended, and you take your best guess at a plan and try to stay flexible.

Because there are so many places I haven’t been but want to, I plan my travel well into the future - although I sometimes switch trips around in my 5 year plan (spreadsheets anyone?). I like this year’s 22-23 week plan - parts of it have been waiting for 2 years and parts longer than that. But I am tentatively looking at time in Albania the first part of next year and had also thought of a lengthy trip to Bulgaria and Romania in the fall, with Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro maybe the following fall. Perhaps those two trips should be exchanged. Or maybe it will be too late.

Food for thought. Not that I haven’t been thinking…..

Posted by
3046 posts

If Lviv is the worst case scenario, it is not that bad after all. And while some countries are advicing against trips to Ukraine it is important to remember that it is a large country and while the parts occupied by Russia has long been on the "do not travel"-list, Lviv is pretty far from those parts.

"Free" Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bosnia & Herzegovina
come to mind as places to get to soon; possibly Armenia too.

I see no reason to avoid the Baltic states, they are all both part of EU and Nato now so that is a much bigger hurdle for Putin. Ukraine (as well as Belarus and Kazakhstan) are probably more important to him. Bosnia & Herzegovina on the other hand is certainly going in the wrong direction. Hopefully it will change, but who knows? It is also important to remember that they are not famous for being a stable country. They are technically xnot fully independent since they have had a "legal guardian" since 1995.

It is not my intent to support any government when I travel.

The problem is that no matter what your intent is, you are in some way doing that. More in some countries than other. After the Turkish military operations in Syria in 2019, by many refered to as an attempted ethnic cleansing. There was a bit of a tourist boycott of Turkey, which forced many in the tourism industry to lower their prices to attract other visitors. Something that put a bit of pressure on Erdogan.

Posted by
31435 posts

James,

I would definitely agree that Eastern Ukraine and Belarus are not a good place to be at the present time, especially given the number of troops in the vicinity. If conditions do deteriorate, that won't be a good place to be and it may be difficult to get out. Finland, Latvia and Lithuania should be reasonably safe, as well as Bosnia & Herzegovina. For the next few months, it might be better to stick with "safer" choices such as Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, etc.

The situation is very volatile right now, so it's difficult to make any suggestions based on facts. I don't know what the Covid rate is for any of those countries at the moment, but that would be an important consideration too.

Posted by
13398 posts

Ken, thank you. But its not so much about today, as are there places of interest that might not be as visitable sometime in the near future.

Posted by
2402 posts

You do not want to be in any country when it is invaded. My husband still remembers very clearly his family’s, and others, ordeal when they were on vacation in the old Czechoslovakia when Russia invaded in 1968. They had gone by bus from Yugoslavia. Luckily they were south in Bruno but not fun.

Posted by
2070 posts

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought it would be a climate change list of countries that may look quite different in a few years, like Iceland. So see them now, not later. I saw a news article about countries that should move to the top of your travel list because of climate change and it got me thinking……but, sorry, don’t want to start an off topic discussion on your thread James.

Posted by
13398 posts

The idea of taking a pleasure trip to a location where the US Embassy Staff have been reduced to essential only and the families have all been sent home is not something I would be comfortable doing. I am certain the local infrastructure has better things to do than take care of fun seekers and I am certain our administration wont care a hoot about getting US Citizens home who were forewarned.

So the question was really about the existence of places of interest that you are a bit concerned might end up being difficult to visit in the near, maybe mid-term, future because of physical restraints or I guess political feelings.

The international news in the US is pretty bad. I am sure that everyone in this forum will be an exception to the rule, but I guarantee if I walk into the grocery store today and start asking the vast majority will have no idea where Ukraine is and almost 100% will not know that it has been at war with Russia since 2014. Even with all the current news, I doubt if 30% have any real grasp on what is going on.And Ukraine is what? Only the largest country in Europe. In population it is only exceeded on the continent of Europe by Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

If that's true, what else are we missing? Interesting things going on in (but you wouldnt know if you just follow US news):

Republika Srpska?

Serbia and Croatia arms race
Serb terrorists still blow things up in Kosovo.
A full scale war between Armenia and Azerbaijan

That list alone suggests, for my travel plans, that I probably should concentrate on the Balkan States right now and put off Azerbaijan or Armenia trip for now. But Georgia, maybe soon. If the invasion of Ukraine takes place without Western pushback, then it isn't unreasonable to expect Georgia to go next.

Posted by
6854 posts

Only the largest country in Europe.

Does Russia not count as "Europe", at least partially? It's much larger, spanning multiple time zones.

In population it is only exceeded on the continent of Europe by
Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

What about the UK and Russia? Much larger populations in both.

I guess it depends what "news" one consumes, but the Russia-Ukraine conflict is well-known around where I live (and it's been well covered since 2014 and earlier). I do watch and read Euro news outlets and what's considered global media, for lack of better words. I don't watch CNN (can't stand it), but don't they cover Ukraine? I think many people in the US have access to CNN as part of their cable package, although I'm sure many don't watch it. I doubt Fox News covers Ukraine (unless it's to slam Biden), I may be wrong though.

This is a decent "Ukraine 101 Conflict" primer, for anyone who is interested in what happened in 2014: https://www.vox.com/2014/9/3/18088560/ukraine-everything-you-need-to-know

Posted by
2290 posts

Seeing Estonia on the list is disturbing--I visited in 2013 and 2019 and Tallinn is a city I know I will want to see many more times. A couple of years ago I was researching a guided tour of Russia but wasn't quite ready...now, who knows :(

Posted by
4778 posts

I realize that this post about "possible" is due to political situations, but I wanted to point out that often we don't know how big a window of opportunity is for a variety of reasons. I think about Notre Dame. No one could expected that a fire would dramatically change that building forever. That particular window closed with no warning. An individual's health is another factor. This also can change in a moment. Three years ago none of us would have expected the havoc wrought by a pandemic.

So, if we are realistic almost any place or experience could be on the "while its possible list." I think back a few years ago when I was talking with my son about whether I should go to Rwanda. I wasn't sure about spending the money and time. I thought maybe I should wait. His response, "If not now, when?" An excellent question to ask. I went on the trip and it was such a wonderful experience.

Each day is really a "while it is possible" opportunity.

Posted by
3046 posts

I honestly can't see any reason to include Estonia on the list. It's a lovely country, go there.