Last year, for the first time in history, we sent a brave and fearless traveler, Jada Yuan, to all 52 “most worthwhile places to go”. This year, we decided to do it again. Once again, we have received applications from all over the world, and these applicants have different backgrounds (you can meet some of them here). After several weeks of evaluation, we selected several finalists. From this group of applicants, we chose Sebastian Modak, who was also a finalist last year. He is a journalist with excellent background and resume. Just as he set off for his first destination, Puerto Rico, which was also the first on the list this year - a few weeks ago, we asked questions about himself and the upcoming trip.
去年，我们有史以来第一次将一名勇敢无畏的旅行者——杰达·袁(Jada Yuan)送到了所有52个“最值得去的地方”。今年，我们决定再一次这么做。再一次，我们收到了来自世界各地的申请，这些申请者们背景各异（可以到这里认识其中一些人）。经过对他们数周的评估，我们选出了几名入围者。从这批申请者中，我们选择了塞巴斯蒂安·莫达克(Sebastian Modak)，他是去年也曾入围，是一名记者，背景、履历都十分出色。就在他出发前往第一个目的地——波多黎各，也是今年名单上的第一名——几周前，我们问了一些关于他自己和即将到来旅行的问题。
So, what is the feeling of 52 local travelers in 2019?
All in all, it is not true. It's a feeling of mixed feelings - gratitude, excitement, anxiety - but most of all, it's hard for me to understand this specifically. I began to think that I could understand how big I was doing until I landed on my first destination and started reporting. Fortunately, Kayak, the travel aggregation service, has helped us plan a whole year in advance – they did it for Jedd last year – so I can probably know my time allocation for the year. what does it look like. Even so, if I know clearly what will happen on the journey, this trip is not very interesting, isn't it? I am ready to meet all the uncertainties that come with this opportunity and let it go.
Are you interested in our 2018 traveler Jada Yuan? Have you noticed anything from the newsletter that she sent back?
I have read every one. It’s a pleasure to keep an eye on her journey, and I know that I have to work hard to be as good as her. For those reports of Jeddah, my favorite is the moment she interacts with the locals. On the surface, these interactions are daily, but in fact they give people a better understanding of one place: nightlife in Kigali; a meal in La Paz; a trip planning committee that is freely organized in China, this committee The reason why they can be established depends on the goodwill of strangers. These stories express why we travel. I hope to give readers the same openness and willingness to try anything. It is this attitude that allows Jeddah to have those encounters.
In some ways, your background is very suitable for this job.
I really feel that I have been working hard in this direction. I was born in the United States, my mother is a Colombian, my father is Indian, but when we were two years old, I moved to Hong Kong and moved to a place every few years. Several of our brothers did not have the concept of "home" in the process of growing up, because we understand that every place is temporary. This makes the only thing that is truly continuous in our lives on the road. However, by January of this year, I have been in New York for five years, so it will be juxtaposed as the longest place I have ever stayed in - it is Indonesia and India.
For me, travel is about immersing yourself in unfamiliar things and fully accepting the humility that comes with it. Others, other places, there is always something you can learn. That's why I choose a career that tells stories in multimedia. I was a Fulbright mtvU scholar who spent a year in Botswana recording the local hip hop music scene. I was a producer of an MTV series, focusing on the role of art around the world in protest movements. The most recent is an editor at Condé Nast Traveler, and then a full-time writer, where I am often sent to find and report stories that resonate with audiences around the world and globally. . I think that the clues that connect these experiences together are amazement of the insatiable satisfaction of the world around me.
对我而言，旅行关乎于将自己沉浸在不熟悉的事物中，并且完全接纳随之而来的谦卑感。别人、别的地方，总是有你能学到的东西。这也是为什么我会选择一个用多媒体讲述故事的职业。我曾是富布莱特mtvU学者，在博茨瓦纳花了一年纪录当地的嘻哈音乐风貌。我曾是一个MTV系列片的制片人，关注世界各地艺术在抗议运动中发挥的作用。最近期的是在《康泰纳仕旅行者》(Condé Nast Traveler)担任编辑，而后是专职撰稿人，在那里，我常常被派出找寻、报道能在全球和对全球感兴趣的受众那里产生共鸣的故事。我认为，将这些经历都串联起来的线索，是对我周遭世界怀着永不满足的惊异感。
You are about to start your journey in Puerto Rico, which is the first on this year's list. Have you been there?
I haven't been there yet, but I've always been looking forward to it - in part because the cultural exit of a part of the island will appear in the New York I live in: for example, those piled up arroz con gandules (chickpea pork rice) and The music of the Maha II duo Calle 13. I can finally go there, I can't think of a better time than now. I have seen reports on tourism and how natural disasters have destroyed the economy. This damage will not only happen after the disaster has occurred, but will last for months or years.
我还没有去过，但我一直都很向往那里——部分原因是这个岛一部分的文化出口会出现在我居住的纽约：比如那些堆得高高的arroz con gandules（鹰嘴豆猪肉米饭）和嘻哈乐二人组Calle 13的音乐。终于能成行去那里，我想不到比现在更好的时候了。在旅游方面做报道的我见到过，也报道过自然灾害是如何摧毁经济的，而这种损害不仅是在灾害立刻发生后，而是会持续数月或是数年。
The same is true after Hurricane Maria, where tourism is often the hardest hit. But I have heard that Puerto Ricans are able to recover quickly not only in the face of hurricanes, but also in the face of economic and political crises. I couldn't wait to go to the country of origin on Puerto Rico to taste their coffee and follow the banging Bamba drums to a country dancing party. But most importantly, I am looking forward to meeting local people. It is their existence that made Puerto Rico the first place this year after only one and a half years of tragedy.
Which destination on the list is the one you are most looking forward to?
I am very excited about everything, but I think Iran is what I am most looking forward to, to a higher degree than anywhere else on the list, and even elsewhere in the world. Iran is a place I have only been able to look at in the distance, through the terrible newspaper headlines. I have found that in real life, the days that people live each day are vastly different from the countries we understand through geopolitics. I've prepared that all my prejudice will be completely broken, and I am very happy to share my experience with the readers of The New York Times.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in this job?
I know that the hardest part of this journey is the sudden end of any stability or normality I have created in the past few years. It’s hard to say goodbye to (full support) my partner, my friends, and my everyday life in New York. I also know that I must realize the enormous privilege I have gained, turn the uneasiness and inevitable loneliness that comes from time to time into motivation, continue on, continue to learn, and continue to tell stories to people. If there is any experience that can be learned from past travels, it is that you often find an active support network in the most unexpected places.
What preparations have you made for this trip, whether in real life or mentality?
I found myself gradually starting to focus on things that are very small and probably not important. Should I finally give up my feelings about the physical book and buy a Kindle? (Maybe.) Will I have time to read books first? (Maybe there won't be.) I know that a pair of multi-purpose shoes will be very important. I may have to start researching, but "How many pairs of socks should I bring?" I think this part is that I avoid facing bigger survival problems. The way, but I also think this is a good way. I started with small things and slowly started thinking about big problems because I knew "Where am I?" would be the one I asked the most.