- July 11, 2015
- Posted by: Audrey del Rosario
- Category: Bucket List
This week, the cries of millions of Texans (and a few other Americans) alike were heard. It’s official: The Alamo will be forever remembered.
Earlier this month, the United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (popularly known as UNESCO) announced the addition of 25 new World Heritage Sites, or places of cultural or physical significance and that meet “one out of ten selection criteria“. In true Everyday Ambassador-fashion, some of those specifications have included “to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world” and “to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared”.
Today, San Antonio’s missions are forever preserved by this organization and ranks up there, as World Heritage Site newcomers, with the place where Jesus was thought to be baptized, where your favorite bottle of New Year’s bubbly was born, and a pair of rugged Jamaican mountains. While there are many destinations that can please the jet-setting crowd, you don’t have to necessarily have to go far to see a piece of human history, to view a geographic beauty, or to explore the outcome of human connections. Chances are, you might have already visited a few World Heritage Sites in your travels, but this summer, we encourage you to check out at least one or two more to enrich your understanding about your own country’s culture (and perhaps another’s). In fact, you can start in your own “backyard”, home state, or adopted region for one Everyday Ambassador-approved road trip!
Need suggestions on where to begin? With 1,031 natural and cultural wonders to explore, we’ve provided some resources below to help you navigate this mix of history, geography, science, and the arts. At the same time, we’ve thrown in some best-practices to travel responsibly and make the most of your time during your adventures.
- Check out the list of World Heritage Sites in the U.S. To all our American readers, before you book a plane ticket to a far-flung destination, consider mapping out a road trip of the stateside World Heritage Sites. With 23 to choose from and 12 tentative sites on the list, there’s a good chance you’ll find one within a driving distance this summer.
- Get a bird’s-eye view of a number of sites. Before you visit, take a sneak peek of what you might see through these satellite images from National Geographic and the Digital Globe Foundation, which aims to “make our world a better place by educating and inspiring users to apply innovative geospatial imagery to address significant local, national and global challenges”.
- Brush up on how to be a responsible tourist. At Everyday Ambassador, we emphasize giving and volunteering responsibly, and traveling isn’t an exception to these best practices. Preservation of these sites has always been a priority for number of international stakeholders, but for some areas of the world, protection of these cultural and geographic locations has been more important than ever. Check out this previous Bucket List post on ways you can be respectful tourist or responsible traveler.
- Read up on these World Heritage Site travel guides. Every one of these sites has a story, and National Geographic has told the tales of 30 of these destinations. Learn more about the history, cultural importance, and geographic significance of these must-see locations through the organization’s World Heritage Guides.
- Pay it forward by teaching people about sustainable tourism. This curriculum plan by UNESCO offers suggestions for activities, further readings, and other organizations to explore. As a young person, we recommend pitching this guide to one of your professors or mentors to include it in their fall curriculum. Alternatively, you can also organize a discussion group or book club around the topic or integrate the material into your next service group meeting.
Now it’s your turn: What are your thoughts on the World Heritage Sites? Have a story to share about one of your visits? Leave us a comment below, and we may feature it in an upcoming post.
“Bucket List” is a weekly series curated by Everyday Ambassador’s Director of Brand Strategy Audrey del Rosario. Every Saturday, we will feature events, conferences, and happenings that spark conversation and ignite your inner activist. To stay current with our latest posts, follow #bucketlist or #EAinspired on our other platforms, and check back regularly for updates.
Image Credit: Vectorlogo.net, Audrey del Rosario