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Travel Inspiration Of 2021


Despite another weird year of travel, it was a great year for travel storytelling. Here are some of our favorites from 2021.


TV SHOW: High on the Hog It is a rare thing, even after the racial awakenings of 2020, to see the African American experience shown with nuance and diversity. This six-part docu series, hosted by Stephen Satterfield, traces the delicious throughlines of cuisine from Africa and across the Atlantic, threading the needle between ancient food traditions and quintessentially American dishes. From Washington’s principal chef to Black cowboys to pit masters to oyster shuckers in Brooklyn, it’s a thoughtful and tender dive into how the African diaspora shaped our cuisine and our country. PODCAST: Historically Black From the Washington Post, in collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture: Roxane Gay, Issa Rae, Keegan-Michael Key, and other compelling narrators lead listeners through American history via photographs, archival sounds, and personal narratives — think Harlem Renaissance and human computers. TV SHOW: Made By Design The Netflix documentary series highlights the new guard of African talent, culture, and design — from architecture to interiors to products. The first season, which takes place in Nigeria, delves into the complexities of design, celebrating 13 notable homegrown creatives and opinion leaders and their paths to success.

ARTICLE: “Why the Valley of Gods Inspires Such Reverence” Rahawa Haile reported this story of haunting beauty in Utah’s ancient desertscape, its cultural and historical significance, and the power of political overreach (in Smithsonian Mag). CHILDREN’S BOOK: Cheyenne and the ABC Travel Greenbook: The Americas Following the success of The ABC Travel Green Book, Martinique Lewis rolled out a travel series introducing children to unique traditions in Black communities of the African Diaspora on every continent. ARTICLE: “New York City’s Chinatown Looks Ahead to the Future” After a difficult year navigating both the pandemic and the onslaught of anti-Asian hate, food writer Francis Lam, a longtime frequenter of New York’s Chinatown, returned to see how the neighborhood has evolved — painting an evocative picture of one of the city’s most dynamic areas (in Condé Nast Traveler). BOOK: Black, White, and the Grey The origin story of lauded Savannah restaurant The Grey, helmed by chef Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano, focuses on partners who built a modern institution while bridging long held biases. ARTICLE: “Mother Root” In this beautiful personal essay in Joyland, a Chinese-Costa Rican-American writer Catherine Flora Con travels to her family’s homeland of Taiwan to “try and become more Asian.” She hikes, practices Mandarin, eats lychees, and roots down in the existential nature of the trip. WEBSITE: Native Land A living, breathing digital project dedicated to mapping Indigenous Lands all over the globe — fostering conversations about colonialism, erasure, and acknowledgement. The org provides teaching guides and educational material for families and travelers. BOOK: Minarets and Mountains: A Journey into Muslim Europe British writer Tharik Hussain traveled to the Balkans with his family to explore Europe’s centuries-old homegrown Muslim enclaves — and in the process shed light on fascinating communities and cultural legacies that are often overlooked in today’s tumultuous times. ARTICLE: The Fragrances That Changed the Field This olfactory adventure by Aatish Taseer is sensory overload in the best possible way: he dives into the history of “oriental” scents like oudh in Western perfumery, and charts a course from India to France to New York along the way (in T: The New York Times Style Magazine). ARTICLE: “Love Letters from Afar” This collection of odes to destinations they miss by six high-profile writers was meant to inspire fernweh — an aching longing for far-off places — and succeeded. The standouts: Kyoto by Pico Iyer and Bombay by Suketu Mehta (in Vanity Fair).

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