Anywhere on the planet

Brian Ferry

If you could go anywhere on the planet, where would it be?

Tuesday was international travel day in the newsroom.

Sometimes, what starts as a perfectly legitimate discussion of a newsy topic quickly makes its way down a rabbit trail.

Census 2020 has been in the news recently and will continue to be for the next two or three months. We have produced some content about that issue. When I received a Census 2020 email on Tuesday, I started to forward it to Josh, who has written the most recent stories.

Then I looked again.

The email was centered on people of Portuguese descent.

I don’t have anything against the Portuguese, but I also don’t think I want to start publishing multiple stories about any issue for everyone from every-different-where. I just don’t see why I should focus more attention on the Portuguese than on anyone else.

Still, it got the discussion rolling.

At the risk of sounding like I’d be willing to take a bribe, I suggested maybe I would write a Census 2020 story related to people of Portuguese descent if the group would provide justification for such a story by sending me to Portugal to see what the place has to offer. I haven’t felt the need to devote much time to ethical concerns about what I will do when offered said trip.

From that point, Josh and I held a mock draft of places we would go if provided all-expenses-paid trips.

I suspect there are not many places I would not go under those circumstances, but neither of us picked Iran nor Afghanistan among our top 40 or so. Canada didn’t make the list, probably due to a proximity bias.

We selected historically- and culturally-interesting places, tropical countries, the lands of our ancestors, and some that just defied explanation.

Among my selections were Italy, New Zealand, Australia, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Madagascar, Panama, Sweden, and Brazil.

Josh snagged a whole bunch of places with one pick — the United Kingdom — as well as France, Egypt, Israel, China, Iceland, Greece, Vietnam, Liechtenstein, Nepal, Ukraine, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Vatican City.

I think I got Ireland — the whole United Kingdom dynamic has me confused, though.

When I was stumped, I thought of wonders of the world. Turkey wouldn’t have been on my list except for the Hagia Sophia.

After that, I snagged Botswana when a quick search told me that was a top spot for a (photographic) safari.

The most interesting pick of the draft, my opinion, was North Korea. Josh wanted assurances that he would receive safe passage, not be arrested, and stuff like that. When I declined any guarantees, he picked it anyway, figuring he could work out the details later.

My attempt at a similarly bold pick was thwarted when we decided that Antarctica, not a country and with no permanent human residents, probably wouldn’t spend the money to cart me down there for a story about the Census.

Oh well. It’s cold there anyway.

I’m on the clock. I hear Tonga is nice this time (any time) of year.


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