Ajanta Caves, WHS site

                        Ajanta Caves, WHS site

                        



                        Why did you make your website?

                         

                        There wasn’t a particular moment that I thought “I am going to develop a website dedicated to WHS, that serves as a reference for other travellers“. It evolved organically over the past 18 years into what it is now. It started as a personal website about my own WH travels, and I kept on adding features as more and more people got interested. WHS and WH related travel appear to be an inexhaustible subject.

                         

                         

                        What are the challenges to get the website going and running?

                         

                        There aren’t any real “challenges”. It does take daily attention though, I usually spend 15-30 minutes on it at 5.30 or 6.00 a.m. before I go to work, and the same amount of time when I come back in the evening. Just checking the various Google Alerts for new links related to individual WHS, authorizing new visitor reviews, keeping track of the latest discusssions on the forum, answering e-mails. I keep this routine going when I am travelling too, fortunately there are very few places nowadays with no internet access. I am also blessed by about a dozen very active contributors, who proactively send me interesting links that they have spotted, point out errors or misfunctioning of the website and make suggestions for new connections. So that’s about 12 extra pairs of eyes and ears.

                         

                        Any specific major projects such as the voting for “missing” or “best” WHS, or organizing the WH travellers meeting, I take on at weekends when I am not travelling. 


                        

                         

                        

Meroe, WHS site  

                        Meroe, WHS site

                        

 

                        

What is your personal opinion on the WHS list?

                         

                        It would be easy to regard it as one big political snake pit, but I like it for what it is. Does it help the conservation of the sites involved? Many sites would be worse off if they weren’t monitored as closely as these sites are. The main aim of course is to preserve. Putting a place on a list draws attention to the site, which improves its chances for (international) funding and bringing in expertise for issues that it might have.

                         

                         

                        Is there an average 'profile' of a person interested in doing the WHS list?

                         

                        You have to be a generalist, take interest in lots of things and be eager to learn about the world in all its manifestations. A few months ago I met up with Iain Jackson, one of the best WHS travelled, and we came to talk about mercury mining. After having visited the ‘Mercury Mining Heritage’ at Idrija (Slovenia), we both were amazed that most mercury is derived from stone and only sometimes is directly found in the form of those little silver coloured balls.


                         

                        Other common grounds seem to be having an educational / professional background in or special interest for History and Architecture.

                        There are less people with a preference for natural WHS. I also started with cultural WHS as my main interest, but I have learned to enjoy the natural sites too and these are the ones I now often most look forward to visiting.

                         

                        



                        Kathmandu, WHS site

                        Kathmandu, WHS site

                        

                         

                        

Which WHS have been most/least interesting?

                         

                        This is often the first question that I get when people hear about my WH travel & website. I generally list the Kathmandu Valley as my favourite WHS,  but in my Top 20 are also sites such as Meroë, Manu National Park and the Monarch Butterfly Reserves (next to the more generally acclaimed Angkor, Macchu Pichu and Petra) .

                        There are categories of WHS that I find less interesting. Long-time followers of my website may know that I get easily bored by dripstone caves. But usually I find something of interest, such as the journey to get to a remote WHS. Trying to cover all these WH locations will get you to some very off the beaten track places.


                         

                         

                        Do you think it is achievable to visit all WHS ?

                         

                        As long as they keep on adding quite a number of new sites every year, I don’t think it is achievable. It’s a moving target, but that is part of the charm.

                        



                        

                           Manu National Park, WHS site

                        Manu National Park, WHS site

                         

                        

Your last trip? And the next one?

                         

                        My last trip was a 3-week self-organized journey through Rwanda, DR of Congo and Uganda. It incorporated 2 WHS that had not been reviewed by anyone on the website: Virunga National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Virunga is such an experience--because of the excellent gorilla and chimpanzee sightings, and the glimpse into daily life in eastern Congo that it provides.

                         

                        My next longer trip will start late April. I will go to Azerbaijan and Iran, taking the overland northern route via Ardabil and Tabriz. In Iran I will celebrate my 600th visited WHS and 100th visited UN Country.

                        



                        

                           Yakushima, WHS site

                        Yakushima, WHS site

                        

                         

                        

Finally, if you could invite four people to a dinner, who would they be?

                         

                        I’m definitely not a group person, so I would never invite four people at the same time. I gathered from your previous newsletters that I can invite dead people too? I think I will stick to a one-on-one conservation with a female explorer, someone like Isabella Bird. We would talk about Japan and about how being a travelling attraction herself influenced her observations. We would enjoy a kaiseki dinner.

                        

 

                        

Rwenzori Mountains, WHS site

                        Rwenzori Mountains, WHS site

                        

                        

                        The photos in this article are from the private collection of Els Slots


                        
                    

© 2011 - 2017 TheBestTravelled.com.
All rights reserved.

The Best Travelled | Best Travel Forum | Best Travelled People