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On March 11, I flew residence to New York after a fast trip in Brussels, arriving at an eerily quiet Kennedy Airport the place the worry of the spreading coronavirus felt tangible. We landed at 1:30 p.m. Lower than eight hours later, the president was on nationwide tv, asserting a journey ban between Europe and america.
As a traveler, I fortunately made it again below the wire; we unknowingly prevented confusing and shifting travel restrictions and airport chaos on either side of the Atlantic. However because the deputy journey editor for The Occasions, I started to have a unique concern: How have been we going to carry the world to readers after we weren’t allowed to journey? Nobody knew a lot of something besides that — at an unbelievable velocity — the journey business shut down.
For the 9 editors, picture editors and reporters who make up the small however resourceful Journey division, our job had been to develop articles, images and digital options to awe and delight, encourage and transport. These options and pictures, along with a rising service-journalism arm providing journey methods and options to readers’ issues, have been at all times printed with one underlying purpose: to current a wealthy, compelling image of the world, whether or not the reader was planning to hop on a airplane or take pleasure in it from an armchair.
Now we have been devoting ourselves nearly fully to information and repair that would assist individuals get residence and be secure. We targeted our report on developments about trip refunds and emergency repatriation flights and reported the growing and ever-changing record of state and border restrictions. We jettisoned longstanding and well-liked columns (see: 36 Hours 😳). We discontinued our print part.
After we made that painful determination in late April, many readers hotly complained. Others acknowledged the explanations behind our determination and supplied their compassion.
“Whereas I perceive the Occasions must droop the weekly journey part, please maintain working tales of lovely, fascinating locations in a number of components of the world. They provide me hope that I could possibly hug family and friends finally,” one reader wrote in an electronic mail.
To fill that demand and with out endangering the well being of reporters and photographers by going out within the area, we began World Through a Lens, a weekly picture essay about a few of the world’s most arresting locations. Recognizing that many individuals wanted escapes of any form, we progressively started publishing articles about extra modest alternate options: road trips, day trips, virtual travel, camping. We too adjusted to this undesirable new regular.
However what to do about “52 Places to Go,” our signature characteristic that publishes each January? In a time when the lack of journey is so nice, the lack of lives and livelihoods a lot higher, ought to we proceed this annual custom, with its ideas for the highest spots to go to within the coming 12 months? In most years, it’s the best demonstration of our journalistic purpose: to get our readers enthusiastic about — and perhaps even heading off on — an journey.
Doing our standard model of the record appeared improper. However everybody wants hope. Hope that they are going to quickly see family and friends once more, that they are going to see sights and have experiences that may rework them and broaden their horizons. That they are going to journey.
And we’ll journey once more.
So, in a really completely different fashion for a really completely different 12 months, this weekend “52 Places to Go” returns in print. This one isn’t just for you; it is usually from you.
Final fall, we requested readers to share their most beloved spots and have been overwhelmed with the response. We acquired greater than 2,000 entries, about small New England hometowns and hovering excessive peaks in Asia and seemingly in all places in between. We culled the alternatives — not a straightforward feat — by the facility and keenness of the prose, and the great thing about the accompanying pictures.
In distant and acquainted locations, vacationers found their independence or a way of consolation and residential. They mirrored on valued household connections, the pure world, the occasions of historical past and the hospitality of strangers. Together with their reminiscences, many shared their gratitude.
The end result is just not just like the record from years previous. We hope you take pleasure in it. We couldn’t have carried out it with out you.