The Northern Mariana Islands are a group of 14 inhabited islands that has a population of just over 50,000 people. It was the site of the Battle of Saipan in the second world war, and known as the Pacific D-Day. This operation was part of a much larger goal of establishing the presence of the Allied Forces in the Pacific region, an area under heavy Japanese control at the time.
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (PGUM/GUM)
Guam is the westernmost point territory of the United States of America, it is also the southernmost island in the Mariana Islands. It has had a predominantly Spanish colonial heritage, not to mention it has a very important role in recent history, especially so during the second world war. Its primary industry is military-related, with the United States maintaining a strong military presence through Guam, though tourism has seen an increase over the years, with its location in the tropical region being popular for those who wish to seek warmer weather.
Palau, rather interestingly, was the first country in the world to require inbound tourists to sign an “Eco-Pledge” on arrival, where every incoming visitor must sign a stamped pledge in their passports to be a good environmental citizen during their stay in the country. All flights inbound are also required to show a video on environmental conservation on the island, to increase awareness among the public, as well as how to behave responsibly during their stay too.
Sint Maarten, known to the Dutch, and Saint Martin to the rest of the world, is perhaps most famous for its airport. Sitting mere meters from the beach, plenty of people have made it a point to try to ride out the jet blast from planes such as the A340-300 that Air France once sent, to the B747-400s that KLM sent on a regular, up until the retirement of the aircraft.
The Federated States of Micronesia is a group of over 600 islands which is a part of the Caroline archipelago. Two main types of islands are made from either volcanic activity, or from low lying corals. It is part of the itinerary of United Airline’s famous island hopper which flies from Honolulu to Guam through Majuro, Kwajalein, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk. Of which, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk are located in the nation of Micronesia.
If you thought that the Federated States of Micronesia has a lot of islands at over 600, the Marshall Islands outdoes them, with over 1,200 islands and atolls to their name. Hosting the largest atoll in the world at Kwajalein, this island of over 11 thousand residents are primarily employees of the United States Military, as the remote location has led to plenty of missile testing to have been done.
Istanbul Airport is perhaps one of the best airports I’ve had the opportunity to fly through. The size of the airport is unbelievable, let alone the Turkish hospitality that everyone would receive not only at the airport, but also throughout the country. A little known fact about Turkey is that they also produce some of the best hand made metal products, most notably being cooking pots and pans and percussion cymbals, where my hobbies in cooking as well as in drumming has led me to learn that Turkey has since played a massive role in my hobbies.
Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation, as well as the third smallest country, only larger than Monaco and the Vatican City. It only has about 30 kilometres of paves road, as well as about 4 kilometres of railway. Phosphate mining was a large part of the country, however, this has since led to the destruction of much of the habitat, as well as the marine life in the vicinity of the island. It also has no military, as they are provided by Australia, but does have a local police force.
Kiribati is infamous for its timezone, as it’s 14 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, which means that it’s always the first to enter a new day, new month and new year. It is also the only country in the world to simultaneously be in the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Hemisphere given its geographic location. On a more sombre note, two islands has since been reclaimed by the ocean as a direct result of a rise in sea level, and the entire country could well be underwater in the next 50 years or so. Even then, its highest point being 81 metres above the sea level would not be enough to sustain a population.
The Cook Islands is a part of New Zealand, with all citizens of Cook Island automatically being citizens of New Zealand, as well a being Cook Island nationals which is a status that is not given to other New Zealanders. The island relies primarily on tourism being its largest industry, although offshore banking, pearl farming and fruit exports do also play a major part in the economy of the island. Oddly enough, there are no fast-food chains on the island, encouraging those who visit to try out local foods as well as supporting local businesses.
Dominica, also known as the The Nature Island of the Caribbean, has all the things you’d want to see as a nature tourist. It’s a volcanic island with a lush rainforest, as well as lakes, gorges, rivers and hot springs all over the island. Morne Trois Pitons National Park is perhaps the most popular attraction as the forest also has waterfalls, lakes and rivers in it. Not to mention, the island is home to the second-largest boiling lake which is heated by gases being released by the volcano, which in turn heats up the water in the lake. It remains at a warm 80 to 90 degrees celsius year round.
While the airport I opened was in Fiji, this was the closest airport to Tuvalu that I was able to control. Besides that, Tuvalu is a country without a capital, although the de facto capital is Vaiaku, as most of the government’s offices are there. The country also relies heavily on nearby countries such as Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to support the economy of Tuvalu, as most of the population takes part in sustenance farming, as well as relying on remittances from relatives living overseas. The country also part of the Commonwealth Realm, having taken a lot of queues from the western culture imparted during the colonial era.
Native to the country of Papua New Guinea, the Hooded Pitohui Bird are only one of a few birds on Earth that are naturally poisonous. In addition to this, their poison has had a positive impact on the ecology of the surrounding land, where many parasites are killed as a result of these birds being out in the wild. Unfortunately, a lot of this is at risk of becoming endangered as a direct result of being affected by mining and logging activities in the vicinity of these forests.
I’ve always thought of Spain as just another boring European country when I first went there about 10 years ago, and I could not have been any more wrong than I was then. This country is easily one of the best countries I’ve been to. Rich in culture, history, sports and everything in between. Not to mention, as the first country to also set up a global empire, their language has had a far reach to all speakers, being the second most spoken language in the world. There’s simply too much to say about a country like Spain, other than I’m just willing to go back there when the opportunity arises as I simply adore everything that this country has had to offer.
Tokelau is probably one of the more difficult places to travel to, with plenty of planning needed before getting there. There are no airports or seaports to allow for easy travel in and out of the island, making it difficult for those who wish to travel in and out of the island. It is made out of 3 atolls, with a total land area of about 10 square kilometres.
Wallis and Futuna, a French overseas territory, was originally settled by people from East Asia approximately 3,000 years ago who made ancient pottery that was found throughout the island. The island has a fairly tropical climate, with the weather ranging between 20 to 30 degrees celsius, as well as rainfall frequently exceeding 3,000 millimetres annually. Its location was strategic during the second world war, with the United States military building plenty of infrastructure during the time, which is still in use in this day and age.
Samoa, not to be confused with American Samoa, is the westernmost island of the Polynesian islands. Samoan culture is arguably central to the Polynesian way of life. Not to mention, like many islands in the region, the tropical climate has seen plenty of holidaymakers has cited the climate and culture to be some of the larger factors in choosing these places as their destination. The country’s archipelago was created as a result of volcanic activity, and while most of the volcanoes are dormant or extinct, there has been geological activity in recent years, with the last eruption occurring about a hundred years ago.
The Solomon Islands lays to the southeast of Papua New Guinea and has a relatively cool climate for the region that it’s located in. Strong ocean winds keep the place relatively cool, with temperatures that rarely rises above 32 degrees celsius.