In my opinion, Jada Yuan and Sebastian Modak are lucky/crazy. Last year, Jada got a new job. 13,000+ people applied for this job and she was hired. Sebastian applied for the same job this year and replaces Jada. She was employed by The New York Times. Each year its Sunday Travel section lists the best 52 destinations to be visited during the year. Jada became the 1st writer/reporter to visit all 52 of them in 365 days, often staying less than a week in some destinations and posting lots of stories about her considerable adventures.
On January 6, 2019, The New York Times published an article in its Sunday travel section written by Jada called “On the Go, Nonstop”. In it, she wrote about what she learned about the world and herself during her year. She says that “dream job” always came up each time she told someone what she was doing, her 52 destinations in a single year project. She said that she missed a lot of events in her personal life and that the first couple of months were especially difficult as she felt she was “stepping into an unknowable void”. She talked about missing meals and says that sometimes bar nuts was her dinner and her breakfast was ice cream. She says that her biggest fear became getting sick or injured, and she mentions the shots and prescriptions she endured before heading for places where infectious diseases were possible. These were often not 52 easy places to reach. New Orleans, Branson, and Baltimore were among them, but so were Sao Tome and Principe, Bhutan, and Peru. All in all, she had quite a year and details the lessons she learned in “On the Go, Nonstop”.
“52 PLACES TO GO IN 2019” appeared in The New York Times on January 13. Sebastian Modak, a finalist in 2018, got Jada’s job. He and TNYT decided to repeat Jada’s feat, so Sebastian will travel to all 52 destinations within this year. He has already visited the #1 choice, Puerto Rico, and says he is most looking forward to being in Iran. He calls his new job surreal and says he is approaching his travel year with “gratitude, excitement, anxiety”. I would be too.
Ruth and I have been to many of the 52 selected for 2019, but the thought of being in each one of them for just a few days for an entire year seems impossible. Ruth and I try to limit our travel to one trip per month. The photos today of Zadar, Croatia up top, Las Vegas, the Islands of Tahiti, and Wyoming are 4 places we have been that Sebastian will visit in 2019. Tahiti is #52. We just went there at the end of 2018, and that’s Bora Bora below. We have not, however, been to Uzbekistan, Senegal, Qatar, and Georgia (the country not the state) that Sebastian will spend time in this year. I look forward to reading his reports.