50 Reasons
to #LoveTheWorld

Headlines can paint a pretty grim picture of life across our planet. On bad days, they can make any of us want to seek shelter at home. But in fact, doing the opposite can produce surprisingly curative results. Spin the globe. Pack a bag. Break bread with strangers. Soak in radical beauty. In short – travel.

We asked a range of people, from writers and chefs to musicians and photographers, to share one experience from the last year that truly inspired them – something that, in no uncertain terms, reminded them why they love the world. Madly. Here's what they told us.

Editor's note: aspects of the feature aren't supported in IE9 and earlier, or on iPads using Safari.

- 50 -
Because floating next to these humpbacks in Tonga reminded me of just how beautiful the Earth's creatures can be.
Lia Barrett, BBC Travel contributor

- 49 -

Because I went to Jamaica and saw 145 baby turtles break out of their nest and make a mad dash for the sea. I felt the joy of creation and admired the power of instinct.
– Mario Batali, chef

A video posted by Mario Batali (@mariobatali) on

- 48 -

Because I finally climbed to the top of Florence’s iconic Duomo, and was rewarded with a view virtually unchanged since Michelangelo’s day.

– Eric Weiner, BBC Travel contributor, t: @eric_weiner

- 47 -

Because while I was travelling in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Colombia, the family of this extraordinary Kogi girl made me local lemonade and welcomed me into their world.

– Simon Reeve, BBC TV host, t: @simon_reeve

- 46 -

Because I attended a fashion show in Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya, that was organised by Shining Hope for Communities, a great organisation empowering girls. The participants used costumes made of condoms to promote safe sex.

– Nicholas Kristof, author of A Path Appears, t: @nickkristof
- 45 -
Because although I travel around the world to shoot athletes in amazing places, I always end up back in Yosemite. And the more I travel, the more I love this place so close to home.
Jimmy Chin, photographer

- 44 -

Because I finally walked in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton, 100 years after he crossed the island of South Georgia. Seeing first-hand the landscape he traversed makes his tale of endurance even more amazing.
– Allison Busacca, BBC Travel editor

A photo posted by BBC Travel (@bbc_travel) on

- 43 -

Because sometimes even extraordinary buildings like the Taj Mahal are humbled by the simple beauty of everyday life.
– Gavin Haines, BBC Travel contributor

A photo posted by Gavin Haines (@gavin_haines) on

- 42 -

Because after years of enjoying Argentine Malbec at dinner parties and in restaurants, I finally got to witness the grape harvest in Mendoza.
– Bridget Gleeson, BBC Travel contributor

A photo posted by @bridgetglee on

- 41 -
Because at sunrise in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park, at the rugged, empty edge of the habitable world, I felt small again.
Andy Isaacson, writer

- 40 -
Because I finally went to Mexico for Día de los Muertos and discovered that every once in a while, reality can exceed expectations.
Brad Cohen, BBC Travel Thirsty Explorer

- 39 -

Because we were in Seville during the five-day celebration of Feria, where the sounds of flamenco, the women's dresses and the spirit of the Sevillanos produced a euphoria that lasted long after the dancing and drinking ended.

– Amber Paulen, BBC Travel contributor, t: @amberruth

- 38 -

Because seeing a chicken try to decide whether to cross the road in Hanoi made me ponder life's great philosophical questions.

– David Farley, BBC Travel Eatimology columnist, t: @davidfarley
- 37 -
Because I made it to Bhutan, the most spiritual and magical country I have ever visited, and helped prepare and serve soup to young monks at a monastery. It was an honour.
– Eric Ripert, chef

- 36 -

Because one small friendship made on the JR Yamanote line in Tokyo reminded me that age, location and language don't have to be barriers to forming friendships – even fleeting ones.
– Karina Martinez-Carter, BBC Travel contributor
- 35 -
Because during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the skies over Singapore become a citywide, airborne gallery.
Abbie Kozolchyk, writer
- 34 -
Because I called Rio de Janeiro home for a few weeks and can now say I've seen the world's most stunning city.
Valerie Conners, BBC Travel contributor

- 33 -

Because when I was about as miserable as I have ever been - drenched in sweat and rainwater, covered in mosquito bites, my hiking shoes and socks caked in mud, exhausted after hours of mud-sloshing, branch-whacking, and millipede-dodging in the jungly wilds of northern Cambodia - my guide pointed into the gloom and I saw, not 15ft from where I stood, a giant face carved in rock on the top of a tower. I was reminded yet again how the world graces us with inexhaustible wonder.

– Don George, BBC Travel contributing editor, t: @don_george
- 32 -
Because joining a ragtag band of fellow travellers, cooks and guides as I trekked back from La Ciudad Perdida in Colombia reminded me of the joy of sharing your journey with others.
Candace Rose Rardon, BBC Travel contributor

- 31 -

Because, as I strolled along Havana's seaside Malecón, a parade of vintage sedans brought back a wave of nostalgia for an era long gone in America — but still very alive in Cuba.

– Jeff Greenwald, BBC Travel contributor, t: @strangetravel

- 30 -

Because I witnessed days of cloudless, sunny skies atop crystal blue waters edged with breathtaking cliffs while visiting Washington's San Juan Islands. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see orcas in their natural environment.

- Sam Champion, The Weather Channel anchor, t: @samchampion

- 29 -

Because I finally got the chance to experience Cork, Ireland, and see the old ruins and castles.

– Joe Bastianich, restaurateur, t: @jbastianich

- 28 -

Because in Thailand I shared a moment with one of nature's most majestic creatures.

– Steven Tyler, musician, t: @iamstevent

- 27 -

Because I finally surprised my hard-working, chocolate-loving brother with a trip to Zurich – for the chance to stuff our faces with a year's worth of treats. Diet? What diet?

– John Lee, BBC Travel contributor, t: @johnleewriter
- 26 -
Because there’s nothing like watching a dusty desert sunset at Coachella, along with 184 musical acts, 90,000 people – and a giant, floating astronaut.
– Ashley Winchester, BBC Travel contributor

- 25 -

Because of the patience, peacefulness and generosity of Hong Kong students, even after they had been tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed by the police. Determined to remain calm and focused, the students offered food and water to everyone at the protest sites and even free hugs and massages.

– Kate Whitehead, BBC Travel contributor, i: @hongkongkate
- 24 -
Because the beauty of the Grand Canyon
causes people to break out into expressions
of unedited joy.
Pam Mandel, writer

- 23 -

Because in Istanbul, this could be your morning commute.
– Amanda Ruggeri, BBC Travel contributing editor

- 22 -

Because after months of frustrating Thai language lessons over Skype, I learned how to correctly say more than 'hello' and 'thank you' to a Bangkok street vendor I've visited regularly for years – and he was so delighted he insisted I take this picture.
– Brian Spencer, BBC Travel contributor

A photo posted by @brianbspencer on

- 21 -

Because I finally travelled on the historic, 122km Bernina Express railway through the Italian and Swiss Alps. The peaceful ride evoked days of yore as we passed by 1910s craftsmen stations.
– Erica Firpo, BBC Travel Localite

A photo posted by Erica Firpo (@ericafirpo) on

- 20 -
Because jumping into a river with millions of bright red salmon made me happy to be alive.
Josh Humbert, BBC Travel contributor

- 19 -

Because I realised in the stark landscape of Tigrai in Ethiopia that you can step inside a church carved out of solid rock and instantly find hushed solitude.

– Finlo Nelson Rohrer, BBC News Magazine editor, t: @finlorohrer

- 18 -

Because after eight days of strenuous hiking, I arrived at Everest Base Camp, at 5,380m, and realised that my end point was just the beginning for climbers heading up the world's highest mountain.

– Laurel Robbins, BBC Travel Localite, t: @laurel_robbins

- 17 -

Because I sailed aboard a small boat in Norway's Lysefjord and realised there's nothing grander than feeling tiny.

– Terry Ward, BBC Travel contributor, t: @terrywardwriter

- 16 -

Because I spent a twilight swimming with blind fish in a Yucatán cenote, reminding me how many hidden and mysterious places the world has to explore.

– Lindsey Galloway, BBC Travel Worldwide Weird columnist, t: @savvylindz

- 15 -

Because I went to the top of the Jungfrau glacier in a helicopter to play tennis with Roger Federer. It was one of the most amazing adventures of my life!

– Lindsey Vonn, World Cup ski racer, t: @lindseyvonn
- 14 -
Because I met five snow leopards at a rehabilitation centre in Kyrgyzstan, and it reminded me how wild and beautiful the world can be.
Stephen Lioy, BBC Travel contributor

- 13 -

Because I loved seeing my son Sam and nephew Noah overcome all the odds to make it to the top of the Matterhorn. A beautiful setting, an incredible challenge and a loving family – everything one needs.

– Sir Richard Branson, businessman and adventurer,t: @richardbranson

- 12 -

Because in wild and wonderful Papua New Guinea, I took a boat to the base of an active volcano.

– Ian Neubauer, BBC Travel contributor, t: @ian_neubauer

- 11 -

Because in the Seychelles, I joined
these fishermen, Jerry and Leopold, who truly love what they do.

– Lola Akinmade Åkerström, BBC Travel contributor, t: @lolaakinmade

- 10 -

Because I got another chance at exploring the raw yet irresistible nature of French Polynesia's waters. It really is just like the postcards – no, better.

– Brooke Dombroski, photographer, i: @brooklynhawaii

- 9 -

Because at the Skateistan project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I was able to share my passion for skateboarding with kids who had never experienced such thrills. Skateboarding can transcend gender, racial and economic barriers; it's fun that can’t – and shouldn’t – be categorised.

– Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder, t: @tonyhawk
- 8 -
Because, not long after leaving Las Vegas last summer, I got to see a Vegas-style performance done to uncanny perfection in Sin City's curious cousin, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
– Pico Iyer, BBC Travel contributor

- 7 -

Because it took going to Greece to finally understand why they call it 'Aegean blue'.
– Jodi Ettenberg, BBC Travel contributor

A photo posted by Jodi Ettenberg (@legalnomads) on

- 6 -

Because I was in Japan during sakura – or cherry blossom – season, and everywhere you look you see different shades of beauty.
– Jimmy Cohrssen, photographer
- 5 -
Because in the Atacama – the world's driest desert – you can't get lost on roads like this one.
- Dave Seminara, BBC Travel contributor

- 4 -

Because I trekked in the Gheralta Mountains in northern Ethiopia, and it reminded me that travel is the cure for thinking you know or have seen it all.
– Audrey Scott, BBC Travel contributor

- 3 -

Because among the mariachis and retro breakdancers in San Miguel de Allende's central plaza one night, I fell in love with our shrinking planet all over again.
– Jim Benning, BBC Travel deputy editor

A photo posted by jimbenning (@jimbenning) on

- 2 -

Because in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – my favourite place in the lower 48 United States – I was able to leave work behind and simply play and relax.
– David Chang, chef

A photo posted by Dave Chang (@davidchang) on

- 1 -
Because while flying into London, I realised the aisle vs window seat debate had finally been settled.
Andy Murdock, BBC Travel contributor

Share this article