The best place in the world? It’s a big, brash, bold question. And the answer is easy—there are lots of them. For me, it’s the crowded and chaotic suq in Marrakech, and that remote beach on the tiny atoll of Fakarava in the South Pacific. The rocky Burren in the rural west of Ireland, with the late day sun lingering over the Aran Islands, is the best place in the world. And so is my own backyard—New York City’s Central Park.
What my best have in common is the ability to excite, to arouse big passions that allow—that demand—bold declarations: This is the best. My best is different from yours. Mine is different today than it was last year, and I bet it will be different next year. It’s as subjective as a sunset, but we all know the feeling when a place, or a moment, takes our breath away and fills us with that feeling of connection, or that sense of discovery, or rediscovery; feelings of being lost, and then found—these are the experiences I search out while on the road.
Flipping the pages of this book I can’t help but feel that excitement, that hope and sense of renewal. It makes me want to say, Yes—yes to possibility and adventure. Yes to places I’ve been, and to those I’m yearning to see—the pyramids of Egypt, the Galápagos, Petra, Nepal.
The best is a movable feast—the sweeping vistas of Patagonia to the back alleys of Barcelona; Costa Rica’s wild Osa Peninsula to the canals of Venice; Vancouver’s glass- and mountain- filled skyline to the gardens of Versailles. And the best is in the details—where to learn acupuncture in Beijing, or kayak the Cook Islands, or track down the best macarons in Paris. They’re all here. From the Amazon to Zanzibar, the world’s best have been assembled.
With some of the premier voices in writing—Mark Twain and Goethe, Paul Theroux and Jan Morris, Bill Bryson and Gore Vidal—and tapping into the finest of the National Geographic Society’s legendary photography, the World’s Best Travel Experiences are at your fingertips.
--Andrew McCarthy, National Geographic Traveler
magazine Editor at Large
Copyright © 2012 by National Geographic, with an Introduction by Keith Bellows. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.