Where does Obama want to travel? For starters: Argentina, India & Cambodia
Former US President Barack Obama shares his views on the importance of travel and destinations he hopes to visit, with South America on the top of the list.
Since President Barack Obama left office in 2016, he’s kept busy by empowering youth through his charitable organization, the Obama Foundation, as well as working on his forthcoming memoir.
Perhaps most famously though, Obama has been travelling the world, visiting destinations that range from Bali to Richard Branson’s private island.
And he’s not done just yet. Obama, who has long praised travel as a means of broadening worldviews and breaking down geopolitical barriers, recently shared more advice on the subject at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Seville, Spain.
The value of travel in 2019
During a conversation with Hilton CEO, Christopher Nassetta in Seville, Obama emphasized how travel has the power to remind people of the value of diversity amid an international wave of growing xenophobia and nationalism.
“I believe in bringing people together instead of separating them out as us and them,” Obama said. “If we try to reassert hard, fixed borders at a time when technology and information are borderless, not only will we fail but will see greater conflict and clashes between peoples.”
Commitment to change
Climate change, political upheaval, and biases reinforced by social media all rank among his deepest concerns. Still, Obama remains optimistic about the younger generation’s commitment to change.
“Young people are innovative, smart, creative, idealistic, and ready to go. They understand, instinctively, that this is one world,” Obama said. “National boundaries and ethnic and religious differences don’t prevent them from learning from and collaborating with other people; the politics of looking backwards and erecting walls is a politics that is not going to appeal to them. They fundamentally reject it.”
Obama urged those who have the power to make travel visas more widely available, to impose stricter environmental protections, and to create safer environments for female travellers.
“If you’re part of a tourism council in a city or nation where young women feel uncomfortable where they’re travelling, that will potentially reduce your market,” Obama said. “Young women aren’t going to put up with that; they don’t need to feel harassed or uncomfortable when they travel.”
Obama went on to credit his own trip through Europe and Kenya in his mid-20s, describing it as a transformational experience that shaped his worldview.
For his most cherished travel memories, however, he pointed to trips he took with Michelle and his daughters.
“There is something spectacular about seeing a new place and experiencing a different culture but when you’re able to watch that sense of discovery in your children’s eyes, that’s more special than anything else.”
Obama’s bucket list travel destinations
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia
Fitz Roy Mountain, Patagonia, Argentina
Obama, of course, is well-travelled, having served two terms as president of the United States.
That doesn’t mean he’s done though. The next two destinations on Obama’s list are two of the most famous attractions in the world: the Taj Mahal and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex.
Obama is also looking forward to exploring the rugged wilderness of Patagonia and Antarctica and venturing beyond Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to discover the Brazilian countryside.