By VARDHAN KONDVIKAR, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine India
Sir Terry Pratchett has passed away, and nothing will be the same again. If you’ve enjoyed my Editor’s Notes, you have that man to thank, someone I’ve tried desperately to copy. You also have him to thank for our worldview: in his incredible books, it didn’t matter whether you were white-skinned or black or green, whether you were made of stone or liked eating rat with ketchup, whether your culture included bhong music or the worship of a bull – and, indeed, whether you were an orang utan or even Death himself. You were to be celebrated, you deserved to be heard and understood, because people everywhere, in the end, are wonderful. And they’re all the same, and they’re all totally crazy. So thank you for the magic, sir. We’ll all have to grow up a bit now, and that feels terrible.
Thankfully, the places we have in this issue might help stave that off a bit, because they’re full of wonderful, crazy places that deserve to be known better. The Netherlands is a country I know a bit, and one that has way more to it than Amsterdam: even the cows are strange here, and its sweet, relaxed feel makes it feel like a far bigger country than it is. New Mexico in the USA is the opposite, known for a relaxed, artistic air, but full of eerie stories burrowing under the surface – and one lovely old priest. The war-torn North-east of Sri Lanka is a place that absolutely needs you to visit, to help it climb back to normalcy – and it oh so deserves a visit. Under the grim history lies a string of gorgeous beaches, weird ruins and nuns who make wine – clearly a place we need to get to know better. And finally, there’s Madhya Pradesh, a much-misunderstood state that gets lumped under “Um, tigers and something.” It’s fascinating and beautiful here.
And, more than anything else, I hope Sir Terry would’ve approved of this list.