What a thrill, to travel vicariously through the words and images of my colleagues over the past year, as they journeyed to some of the farthest reaches of the globe—and their imaginations—to tell these stories. This series of Epic Trips began with a pitch from AFAR photo editor Michelle Heimerman, who proposed a trip to one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites in the historic region of Mesopotamia, along the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent (aka Türkiye). At a glance, we were sending her to the middle of nowhere, but as she so astutely points out in her photo essay on ancient Göbekli Tepe, “You’re actually squarely in the middle of somewhere, circa 9500 B.C.” With the help of archaeologists and professors at the top of their field, she experienced “the places of our ancient ancestors, to allow space for the unanswered. To use travel as a way to think about who we once were.”
That got my mind racing. What if we could cross deserts, journey up mountains, raft river rapids and sail remote seas, even touch the edge of space to better understand our past? To examine the impact humanity has had on the planet—from different angles—and a future where we can see the world’s most stunning environments responsibly?
We traveled with companies like Lindblad, Modern Adventure, a certified B Corp, and Exceptional Kangaroo Island, an essential local business, to be sure these trips had a positive impact on the destinations we visited. How’s that for a modern definition of epic?
Read on for this year’s collection of Epic Trips to Australia, the Arctic (and Antarctica), Brazil, British Columbia, Fiji, Greenland, Mexico, the Nile in Uganda, Peru, Türkiye, across Europe, and up to the rim of the atmosphere.
-Laura Dannen Redman
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