A Very Different ‘52 Places’

Presently of 12 months The Occasions’s Journey desk normally publishes its lavish “52 Locations to Go” listing, a compendium of ideas for the locations which are particularly price visiting within the coming 12 months, accompanied by showstopping images.

However on this pandemic 12 months, creating our standard listing was out of the query. For one factor, there have been the logistics: We normally deploy a small military of photographers in the hunt for these good pictures. That was clearly unattainable. Past that, our listing is constructed on a journalistic crucial: What’s new? What makes a spot so thrilling and completely different — lodge openings, new museums, an increasing meals or cultural scene — that it jumps to the highest of the listing of locations to see now? However the pandemic has put a maintain on most of these newsworthy developments.

As an alternative, in 2021, we face a 12 months of uncertainty. With vaccines newly obtainable, maybe the journey trade — which provides tens of millions of jobs and is an important a part of the worldwide economic system — will begin to revive. However it’s laborious to know when and the place that rebirth will start. And a listing that appears to encourage folks to hurry again onto planes when so many are struggling felt unconscionable.

And but, the world with all its gorgeous pure magnificence and cultural richness stays. If 2020 has accomplished something for individuals who like to journey, it has reminded them that the world is just not a guidelines of locations to tick off — Venice, been there, the Serengeti, accomplished that — however one thing to discover, to savor and to like.

That grew to become the animating thought behind this 12 months’s 52 Locations. As an alternative of turning to our contributors and correspondents, we turned to a different group of passionate vacationers, our readers, and requested them to inform us about their most beloved locations, and why they deserved a spot on our listing, in addition to to share their pictures.

Greater than 2,000 of them responded.

They informed us about hometowns for which they’d gained new appreciation through the pandemic. Of nations the place their household connections run sturdy, however which for the second they’ll solely view with longing. Of trip locations the place they instantly acknowledged one thing necessary in themselves. In studying by means of the submissions, it grew to become clear that whereas our listing normally focuses on what’s altering in a spot, folks will be profoundly modified by the locations they’ve visited — and isn’t that why we journey to start with?

After we’d made our decisions, a gaggle of reporters interviewed the contributors, in some circumstances to attract extra from them. (We additionally weeded out the submissions from journey professionals seeking to promote their locations.) The entries listed here are a mix of the unique submissions and people subsequent conversations, condensed and edited for size and readability.

Our contributors are drawn from everywhere in the world, underlining that regardless of the present shutdowns, we actually are a world group. This listing skews extra rural than our standard one — within the pandemic the wilderness has held particular comfort, it appears. It additionally contains locations that may be unlikely to make the reduce in a conventional 12 months — too “humble,” too “harmful,” or too private to placed on a places-to-see listing.

However this can be a listing of locations to like. And that has made all of the distinction.

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