BBC Travel celebrates 50 Reasons to Love the World in 2021, through the inspiration of well-known voices as well as unsung heroes in local communities around the globe.
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New year, new hope
It goes without saying that the world was turned upside-down last year as we faced a global pandemic, racial reckoning and the continued effects of climate change. However, we at BBC Travel believe the dawn of 2021 brings with it a new sense of hope and possibility – as well as a heightened sense of connection to each other and the world around us.
Even as we were – and still are – unable to travel in the way we did before the pandemic, people from different cultures in every continent have continued to thrive in their personal corners of the planet, bringing joy, passion and inspiration to their communities. They've preserved local traditions, made strides to protect the Earth, and used their creative talents to expand and evolve their cultures.
With BBC Travel's 50 Reasons to Love the World in 2021, we hope to share that joy with you, and through their extraordinary stories, inspire you to fall in love with the world all over again. After all, it's the only one we have.
– The BBC Travel Editors
We asked 50 remarkable people – both known voices and unsung heroes – the question, "Why do you love the world?" Read on to see what they had to say…
Before making pikoodinigan, Nottaway always talks to her maple trees and asks them how they're doing (Credit: Benoit Daoust/Alamy)
Because when we had to stay home during Covid-19 and there was neither work nor school, I was finally able to go sugar-bushing [in rural Quebec] with my daughter for the entire season – making pikoodinigan for four or five weeks.” – Marie-Cecile Nottaway, chef
Summer farms like Skallskog are inextricably linked to the ancient Swedish singing tradition of kulning (Credit: Justin Calderón)
"Because when working and singing alongside the fäbod (Swedish summer farm) women, I felt such a profound connection to them both as a part of our past and present, I just knew that I had to carry on their kulning legacy.” – Jennie Tiderman-Österberg, singer
Because in spite of the pandemic, the wildfires and the smoke in my hometown, the awful political climate in the US and the economic crisis that creates so much despair, I wake up every morning in my small house in California squeezed between my husband and two dogs and realise that love is all that truly matters," – Isabel Allende, author
Because Trinidad’s rich dramatic history and culture stems from European and African roots [and] gives me inspiration with minimum detail, and so I never get tired of writing,” – Luis Martinez, porter and poet
"Because I've been making char kway teow for more than 60 years, people come from all over the world to taste it. I'm so proud knowing they've travelled to my hometown of Penang for my food. Even though we don't speak the same language, when I see them finishing their plate, I know they are happy." – Tan Chooi Hong (Uncle Tan), street food cook
During their months of near-total isolation, the polar night produced some glorious sights (Credit: Hearts in the Ice)
Because being so isolated as we are here in the Arctic at Bamsebu heightens our connection to all things. It elevates our ability to feel, listen and to understand our place in this world. Our energy is channelled into aligning our unique and powerful role in this web of life and answering the question: what can I do to give back?” – Sunniva Sorby, polar explorer