The Most Beautiful Countries in the World Have Two Problems

Countries labeled as “beautiful”—resembling New Zealand—often obtain that rating due to their look. But a unique definition of magnificence would possibly serve us higher right now.

Almost a yr in the past, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic raced round the world, I considered writing to you about the international locations that appear to perpetually be on annual lists of the “most beautiful in the world”—nations resembling Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Kenya. But after what all of us skilled in 2020, I’m discovering that such rankings are too flat; too simplified for the way we’ll select the locations we wish to go to in the future.

Because magnificence is considerably subjective and a tough factor to guage, many publishers of such lists depend on the World Economic Forum’s annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, a survey that grades the world’s international locations primarily based on numerous elements starting from their “business environments” to pure assets to security. The pure assets element takes into consideration qualities resembling complete identified species of animals, variety of pure UNESCO World Heritage websites and the share of nationally protected areas. Other checklist publishers ballot journey editors for his or her private picks. Some interview travel-guide readers.

I don’t imagine, nevertheless, that such lists match our aspirations for journey anymore, as a result of I believe this yr the concept of magnificence itself has expanded. Forced to remain house and enterprise out solely so far as our personal backyards or local parks, we’ve found that there are stunning colonies of coneflowers and shapely communities of creatures shut by. The most stunning place in the world for you proper now would possibly solely maintain a number of vegetation of miniature-but-mighty monarch butterflies or a discipline of beautiful lupines.

So, as I see it, there are two main issues with the Most Beautiful Countries in the World lists, in what we hope will quickly be a post-pandemic world.


Because of its wealth of gorgeous pure options, Costa Rica routinely lands on annual lists of “Most Beautiful Countries in the World.”

1. Words that beforehand had been used to explain a stupendous place now not match

The following adjectives are generally used to explain a “beautiful place”:

Otherworldly: of, referring to or resembling that of a world different than the precise world; yet one more stunning or imaginative.

Panoramic: displaying a full or broad view; complete in scope or vary of protection.

Picture-postcard: a spot that’s extraordinarily enticing; one other time period for picturesque (see under).

Picturesque: enticing; charming in look; vivid, suggesting a painted scene.

Pretty: pleasing by delicacy or grace; having conventionally accepted parts of magnificence.

Uninterrupted: not blocked, stopped or hidden by something, in an effort to see a good distance.

Unspoiled: not broken or ruined; not modified in ways in which make it much less stunning or pleasant.


For you, the most stunning place in the world proper now is perhaps your individual yard, the place monarch butterflies are likely to linger.

These phrases are all about the look of a spot and don’t have anything to do with how these areas make us really feel or how we would be capable to work together with them on a deeper degree. For 2021, I believe journey won’t be a lot about the appearances of the locations we go to however how we enter into them after which depart from them after we move by means of.

I believe we’ll be extra aware of the results that we’ve got—good or bad—on the locations we go to. I hope we’ll think about going to websites that aren’t overly trafficked. The new “most beautiful places in the world” might be these the place our presence as vacationers preserves conventional practices and merchandise, whereas selling the ever-evolving cultural adjustments that communities try for in order to make their nations extra caring and resilient for all residents.

I got here up with some different phrases that I believe would possibly come nearer to our newly minted notions of what makes a rustic stunning:

Rumpled-green: a spot the place you are feeling utterly snug (as if you happen to’re carrying a pair of worn denims or a rumpled shirt) and that’s lush and verdant.


“Star-filled” locations are spots the place you are feeling small, but you understand intrinsically that you just’re a part of one thing a lot larger than your self.

Science-supporting: right here, science is at the forefront of conservation points, and individuals are allowed to assist in such endeavors, resembling aiding researchers as they attempt to decide the results of climate change on biodiversity. In 2020, many scientists couldn’t attain their research websites and misplaced a whole yr’s value of knowledge. In a science-supporting place, you possibly can join with native individuals and luxuriate in nature by partaking in science tasks.

Shopping-secure: merchandise that you just buy in these international locations are literally crafted or designed in these locations; they be sure that nobody was underpaid or overworked in the course of.

Star-filled: a spot that makes you are feeling small—whereas nonetheless making you imagine that you’re a part of one thing a lot bigger than your self and your on a regular basis routines.

Vastly numerous: once you hike or stroll by means of these spots, your path could have dips and inclines, timber and open meadows, and marshes and plains that adjust in quantity, diploma and scope; they’re the antithesis of monocultures.


In my vocabulary, “wintry” locations are these that may stand robust towards local weather change; the place winter gained’t turn into extinct—and hope for the planet’s well being is excessive.

Wildlife-weighted: enticing, as a result of you possibly can view wildlife by itself phrases; rising your respect for the fragility and interdependence between people and nature. In such stunning locations, you possibly can observe animals—from whale-watching to wolf-tracking—in their rightful habitats, at a secure distance and with knowledgeable guides.

Wintry: far from cold or austere, “wintry” locations are these that may stand up to a warming planet; in these locations, you are feeling eager for the way forward for the planet.

2. There may be no checklist, as a result of there’s actually just one “most beautiful” nation in the world

This is an idea that may be greatest demonstrated by a specific Russian folktale. The story was recorded in a 1945 youngsters’s guide titled My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Becky Reyher.

The most beautiful countries in the world have two problems | latest news live | find the all top headlines, breaking news for free online april 7, 2021

This Russian folktale gives the greatest description of the phrase “beauty” that I’ve ever heard.

The yarn goes like this: it’s harvest time, and all the villagers for miles round are reaping the wheat. A six-year-old woman named Varya takes a second to flee the sizzling solar and falls asleep subsequent to a wheat stack. When she awakes, she can’t discover her mom.

She lastly stumbles upon a bunch of villagers she doesn’t acknowledge and tells them that she has misplaced her mom. She begins to cry. The villagers ask, “Who is your mama?” Varya solutions, “My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world.” The village chief then orders the boys to run to all the homes and to deliver again all the stunning ladies they will discover.

When the ladies arrive, every one goes to the chief in flip, proud to have been chosen as a “beautiful woman.” But Varya claims that none of them are her mom. Then, a breathless, ample and plain girl comes working as much as the crowd and throws her arms round Varya. She hugs her mom again. The village chief reminds the individuals: “We do not love people because they are beautiful; but they seem beautiful to us because we love them.”

“Most beautiful countries” lists aren’t attainable

That’s why, I believe, there may be no checklist of the “40 (or 50) Most Beautiful Countries in the World.” Only you possibly can determine which of them fill your eyes with stars, make you are feeling snug in your individual pores and skin and overwhelm your spirit with hope.

Here’s to discovering your true locations and pure habitats,


The most beautiful countries in the world have two problems | latest news live | find the all top headlines, breaking news for free online april 7, 2021

About the creator: Candice Gaukel Andrews View all posts by Candice Gaukel Andrews

A a number of award-winning creator and author specializing in nature-travel matters and environmental points, Candice has traveled round the world, from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, and from New Zealand to Scotland’s far northern, distant areas. Her assignments have been equally numerous, from overlaying Alaska’s Yukon Quest dogsled race to writing a historical past of the Galapagos Islands to describing and photographing the nationwide snow-sculpting competitors in her house state of Wisconsin.

In addition to being a five-time guide creator, Candice’s work has additionally appeared in a number of nationwide and worldwide publications, resembling “The Huffington Post” and “Outside Magazine Online.” To learn her internet columns and see samples of her nature pictures, go to her web site at and like her Nature Traveler Facebook web page at




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