Every January, The New York Times’ Travel section features a much anticipated piece called “52 Places to Go”. Historically, the listicle showcased divine locales including posh beach resorts, visit-worthy restaurant scenes, and amazing adventures around the globe. That long standing tradition was disrupted in 2021 thanks to—you guessed it, the pandemic. The Times couldn’t deploy its small army of journalists and photographers to source fresh and noteworthy destinations. Instead, they crowdsourced stories from their readers about places that “delighted, inspired, and comforted them in a dark year.”
This year, I think the Times’ was inspired by the reality that people (and their values) have changed a lot in the last two years.
For 2022, they put out “52 Places for a Changed World” which is an affirmation that climate change and over-tourism are issues that we care about. According to Amy Birshup of the Times, the list is less about luxury and coolness, and more about places where “endangered wild land are being preserved, threatened species are being protect, historical wrongs are being acknowledged, fragile communities are being bolstered—and where travellers can be part of the change.”
I loved reading about the rewilding of a park in Argentina, a restaurant with a social justice mission, the craft of sustainable winemaking, and other stories that offered hope for our planet and its people.
But it also got me thinking that while we can travel to be, as the Times’ article says, “part of the solution”, the reality is that change starts at home.
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