Each year, the New York Times releases a listicle that seems to have the sole purpose of putting all others to shame. Their annual “52 Places to Go in [Year]” is at once gorgeous, well-written, and informative; yet a tease for any person infected with the travel bug. Their diverse entries are enough to make the most severe homebody want to at least explore their own neighborhood in detail like never before.
But these destinations aren’t randomly selected out of a basket— at least to my knowledge. They are carefully curated to include locales that are celebrating something, anything, in the upcoming year. For example, Milan made the list last year because it hosted the World Expo.
Mexico City leads the pack in 2016, not only because of it’s increasingly cosmopolitan nature that is drawing the brightest minds from Spain and Latin America, but because it will also be graced by the presence of the Pope.
The Maltese Island of Valletta is coming up on its 450th birthday celebration, and the Times encourages readers to check out the restored architecture of this Mediterranean archipelago.
Spain’s Barcelona also made the list. This year the city will be celebrating the life and work of Antonio Gaudí the famed Catalan architect who has had seven of his works declared as UNESCO world heritage sites. Architecture enthusiasts and aficionados will be flocking here to soak in the history surrounding some of the city’s most famed sites.
But maybe that’s not the point of this list. Maybe this list is meant to make you rethink how you approach travel, so that it’s not as random as closing your eyes, spinning the globe, and blindly pointing to a random country or region.
Instead, think about what you like to do; what you appreciate, what you crave to learn more of. Then take that understanding and simply apply it to your travel needs. Consider yourself a foodie? Make a point to explore the cuisine of another region. Like learning new languages? Immerse yourself in a culture to practice it.
Let your passions guide you, and imagine the places you’ll go.