From the Editor: The Golden Age of Travel

Papua New Guinea
Photographer: SUBIR GHOSH

By VARDHAN KONDVIKAR, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine India

To be honest, I’ve always felt I was born in the wrong age: my thumbs, for one, aren’t large enough for smart-phone screens. How frightening is it to live at a time when everyone knows you have to make a face like an ecstatic duck when faced with a camera? I know what a subject and a predicate are in a sentence, but I don’t know what plants grow around my building’s parking lot, and, more importantly, I don’t live in an age where I can use my lordly privileges to lop the heads off people who drive badly, and that depresses me no end.

I’m guessing everyone has a ‘time’ they’d feel most comfortable in; perhaps it’s right now, perhaps it’s 17th-century Japan, or a future where everyone grows glow-in-the-dark weed in their gardens. Mine is some sort of non-specific golden age, where everyone is rich and drives around in 1960s Italian sports cars to 1920s parties to meet Bertie Wooster in gorgeous Art Deco buildings. This is an age where travelling is an occasion, not a chore, where places are still undiscovered, where travelling through grand landscapes is part of the holiday, not something you skip to get to your next planned ‘activity.’ This is an age where everyone’s stylish, where ladies wear big hats and people dress to go on flights and where airport security people have been taken away and boiled.

Hey, I never said it had to make sense.

In a strange way, that’s what we’re trying to do with our awards – reward the destinations and hotels that make your travel special again. Places you feel privileged to be in, hotels that treat your visit like it’s the one thing they’ve always wanted – the things that lift travel above the ordinary. And let me tell you: it isn’t easy. At a time when opinions are made or forgotten in seconds over social media, years of work to achieve consistently high quality is pretty remarkable.

And, dear winners, if you wish to get in touch with me, I’ll be in the 1920s, with Jay Gatsby. Trying very hard not to make selfie duck-faces.