10 best places to live for avoiding world conflict

Expatify.com asked the question, “Where would you be the safest if World War III broke out tomorrow?” The answers arrived in a post titled “10 Best Places to Live for Avoiding World Conflict.” Irrelevant as it may seem to you, the claws of conflict affect a revolving roster of nations. The knowledge of where not to go because of conflict, or better yet, where to go to avoid it, can be useful if you’re planning to live, or even just spend some time, abroad. According to this article, countries that make the safety cut are: Switzerland, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Seychelles, Finland, Tuvalu, Iceland, Bhutan, and New Zealand. Most of these choices make sense to me, based on what I know, but the undeniably gorgeous Seychelles seems like a somewhat uncertain choice. News stories covering the Somali pirates swarming the Seychelles area are prevalent. To be fair, I’m not convinced Somali pirates are a current threat for World War III. What are your thoughts? Where would you move in order to be as far removed from world conflict as possible?

Explore More Options with These Art Maps for the Home


The 10 smallest countries in the world

The world’s ten smallest countries in terms of area fall into two general categories: European microstates (Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican) and small island nations of the Indian Ocean, Pacific, and Caribbean (Maldives, Marshall Islands, Nauru, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Tuvalu.) Some of these countries are quite new as independent nations: Tuvalu gained independence from the UK in 1978, while the Marshall Islands gained full independence from the US in 1986. Others have been around for a very long time. San Marino dates its founding as a republic to 301. These countries vary greatly from one another along other axes as well: population, income, life expectancy, industry, tourist facilities, and membership in various international organizations.


[Image of Tuvalu: Flickr | leighblackall]

Little Countries, Big World: Gadling’s pint-sized guide to the world’s smallest countries

I’m not sure what it is about small countries that makes me so interested in them. Maybe it’s the fact that they seem so manageable, so knowable. I could spend the next five years in, say, China, and still feel like I hadn’t seen a fraction of what it has to offer. But in some of my favorite smaller countries– Ecuador, Guatemala, the Czech Republic— I’ve always felt like I have a fighting chance.

As for the countries below, the world’s five smallest, you could get to know most of them pretty well in an afternoon. Here’s a quick ‘n dirty guide that proves that size, as the old adage goes, is not everything…

Vatican City

In a nutshell: The world’s smallest sovereign state at just under two-tenths of a square mile, Vatican City is headquarters of the Catholic Church and home to the Pope. The Vatican, an enclave within the city of Rome, features the magnificent Sistine Chapel, famous for its Michelangelo-painted ceiling, as well as St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s biggest Christian church.

Turn-ons: Carpenters from Nazareth, piety, extolling the Christian virtues of humility and simplicity in the midst of unparalleled opulence

Turn-offs: Prostitution, drugs, promiscuity, and just about anything else fun

Interesting factoid: The College of Cardinals has never made it to an NCAA Tournament.


In a nutshell: Sandwiched between France and the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is one of the world’s wealthier countries per capita, thanks in large part to its status as a tax haven. Monaco is also home to the Monte Carlo Casino, among the most famous in the world, although citizens of Monaco are not permitted to enter the casino’s gaming areas.

Turn-ons: Grace Kelly, the American actress who famously became Princess Grace after marrying Rainier III, Prince of Monaco; gambling; lettin’ it ride; pleading that Mama needs a new pair of shoes

Turn-offs: Giving people their space– Monaco has the highest population density in the world.

Interesting factoid: Monaco’s sovereignty was established by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861– and I think we all remember where we were when that baby was signed!


In a nutshell: Nau-who? Chances are you’ve never even heard of tiny Nauru, an island nation of 10,000 in the South Pacific. Once one of the wealthiest countries per capita on Earth thanks to large phosphate deposits, Nauru’s population has mostly been impoverished since the phosphate ran out in the early 1990s.

And there’s no money from tourism either. Says Wikipedia: “Tourism is not a major contributor to the economy, because there is little to see or do here, the climate is very unpleasant, and there are few facilities for tourists.” Other than that, I’m sure it’d make a fine place for a trip.

Turn-ons: Suckling at nearby Australia’s teat for millions of dollars in foreign aid, unemployment levels over 90%, accepting Australia’s asylum-seeking rejects

Turn-offs: Skinny people– Nauru has one of the world’s highest obesity rates

Interesting factoid: President of Nauru from 2003 to 2007, Ludwig Scotty might have one of the coolest names of any president ever.


In a nutshell: A group of Polynesian islands in the South Pacific, Tuvalu consists of about 10 square miles upon which 12,000 mostly impoverished people roam. Tuvalu is perhaps best-known for its internet domain suffix “.tv” which it leased to a company for a cool $50 million back in 2000. Tuvalu is also one of the countries most concerned about global warming– and for good reason. It’s highest point is only 15 feet above sea level.

Turn-ons: Naming its nine islands hard-to-pronounce things like Niulakita, Nukufetau, and Nukulaelae; thanking New Zealand for agreeing to take in Tuvalu’s residents if rising sea levels swallow the country whole

Turn-offs: Making fun of Tuvalu’s ridiculous-sounding capital of Funafuti; disparaging copra production, Tuvalu’s main industry

Interesting factoid: Want a rare passport stamp? Go to Tuvalu, where only about 100 tourists visit every year.

San Marino

In a nutshell: The Most Serene Republic of San Marino, as the country so humbly calls itself, is one of Europe’s lesser-known nations, but it’s actually the world’s oldest republic, dating from the 4th century. An enclave of Italy, San Marino is located on Mt. Titano in the Apennines mountain range. Though the tiny city-state does not have an airport, San Marino manages to welcome over three million tourists per year.

Turn-ons: Hanging out with fellow micro-states Liechtenstein and Andorra, relying on Italy for national defense

Turn-offs: Olympic medals

Interesting factoid: National Geographic points out that San Marino prides itself on its finely minted coins and postage stamps, which, when you think about it, is actually rather depressing.

British woman completes second stage of trans-Pacific row

Way back in May we covered Roz Savage as she set out on the second leg of her attempt to row solo across the Pacific. Now, 105 days later, she has finished that stage, arriving on the island of Tarawa yesterday, where she was greeted by her support team and hundreds of locals, who gave her a traditional island welcome.

Last year, Roz became the first woman to row solo from San Francisco to Hawaii, a distance of 2324 miles. This year’s second stage covered another 3158 miles and sets up a third and final stage, from Tarawa to Australia in 2010. When she’s finishes sometime next summer, Roz will become the first woman to complete a solo row across the Pacific Ocean. Back in 2005, she finished her first ocean row, by crossing the Atlantic in 103 days.

Tarawa was not Roz’s intended destination on this leg of her journey. Originally she had planned to arrive at the island of Tuvalu, but ocean currents and winds helped to push her further west than she had hoped, forcing her to row several hundred miles further than what had been scheduled.

While this epic journey is inspiring enough on its own, Roz is also rowing for a cause. She is hoping to raise awareness about a number of environmental concerns, including the use of plastics, and the importance of recycling. The health of the oceans, as you can imagine, are important to health of the entire planet, and that is a message that Roz hopes to convey, as she makes her environmentally friendly expedition across the Pacific.

Congrats to Roz on finishing the second leg of her journey, and good luck in 2010 on stage three.

British woman resumes trans-Pacific row

British ocean rower Roz Savage has set out on the second leg of her solo trans-Pacific row, launching from Hawaii Sunday evening on a 2620 mile journey that will end in Tuvalu in a few months time.

Last year, Roz became the first woman to row solo from California to Hawaii, setting out from San Francisco, in just 99 days, covering more than 2300 miles in the process. That was just the first of a three stage attempt to row the entire pacific, which will culminate next year with a final 2000 mile row from Tuvalu to Australia.

Roz is no stranger to long distance rowing. Back in 2005 she completed a solo row across the Atlantic as part of an annual race across that ocean. She spent 103 days aboard a 24-foot row boat, crossing 3000 miles of open water from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean.

In preparation for this second stage of her epic row, Roz and her team recently launched a revamped website that includes loads of information about Roz and her adventures, as well as her Twitter feed, which she’ll be updating from the ocean as she rows. Best of all, is the RozTracker, a GPS tracking system that will keep us all updated on her progress in the days ahead, including the number of miles she’s covered, days at sea, and total number of oar strokes.

Good luck Roz! See you in Tuvalu!