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Photo by Raghu Rai/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Travel
The parlance of pilots

High above London, Tokyo and Cairo, the language of the cockpit is technical, obscure, geeky – and irresistibly romantic

Mark Vanhoenacker

Western Motel by Edward Hopper. 1957. Oil on canvas, Yale University Art Gallery. Photo by Corbis
Essay/
Biography and memoir
Hotel Melancholia

Travel is supposed to make us feel more alive, so why is the hotel room a place of such loneliness and despair?

Suzanne Joinson

Illustration by Thomas Danthony

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
The art of attention

The peculiar vividness of the world becomes clear when we slow down and attend, learning to see all things anew

Sven Birkerts

Paris, 1951. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Magnum

Essay/
Food and drink
To tip or not to tip?

Rude in Tokyo, rude not to in New York – tipping mystifies tourists, economists and anthropologists. Should we stop?

Julian Baggini

Photo by Rengim Mutevellioglu/Getty
Essay/
Demography and migration
Losing my voice

When I left Nigeria for Belgium, I made my husband’s home my own. But homesickness lodged like a stone inside

Chika Unigwe

Cicada sushi. Photo by Tony McNicol/Rex
Essay/
Biology
Insectophilia

In Japan, beetles are pets, grasshoppers a delicacy and fireflies are adored. Is the creepy-crawly a Western invention?

Andrea Appleton

Who should we care about: queuing for food in Haiti. Photo by William Daniels/Panos

Essay/
Cosmopolitanism
Cosmopolitans

It’s not just me, you and everyone we know. Citizens of the world have moral obligations to a wider circle of humanity

Nigel Warburton

Ruth Behar outside her home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. All photos courtesy of the author

Essay/
Demography and migration
Searching for home

My connection to place is fluid and complex. In a nomadic world, do we still need a home?

Ruth Behar

Picnic beside the cherry blossom in a Shinjuku park. Photo by Jérémie Souteyrat
Essay/
Architecture
Sakura

Heady with beauty, in cherry tree season Japan celebrates environmental values that Western greens have lost

Rebecca Giggs

Martine Batchelor as a nun in Korea. Photo courtesy the author
Essay/
Religion
The wanderer stilled

Leaving Europe as a young woman, Martine Batchelor was transformed by an encounter with Buddhist meditation

Martine Batchelor

A model of the planet Saturn stands near Route 1 in Westfield, Maine. The largest three-dimensional scale model of the solar system in the US is positioned along a 40-mile stretch of highway between Presque Isle and Houlton, Maine. Photo by PA/Robert F. Bukaty

Essay/
Cosmology
Drive-thru astronomy

Planets in potato fields and asteroids in gravel: how a Maine highway illuminates the strange history of the solar system

Lee Billings

Detail from Albrecht Dürer's Young Hare (1502) watercolour, gouache; in the Albertina Collection, Vienna. Photo by Corbis
Essay/
Art
A fake of art

Museums display perfect reproductions of fragile works and visitors can’t tell the difference. Is nothing in art sacred?

Noah Charney

Photo by Mariana Bazo/Reuters

Essay/
Art
The Grand Tour, 2.0

Can today’s travel deliver on the promise of the Grand Tour – or is the idea of edifying travel utterly bankrupt?

Ted Scheinman

From Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, published in 1865. (De la Terre a la Lune). Photo by Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis
Essay/
Travel
How we lost the Moon

The Moon has always enchanted dreamers, but Apollo is a fading memory and routine lunar travel seems as remote as ever

Brian Clegg

'You start listening to the silence. You start listening for imperfections, proofs against its existence.' Photo by Jason Larkin/Panos
Essay/
Stories and literature
Desert silence

City life is a constant, maddening hum. Only in a place like the Sahara can we hear the nothingness that revives

Robert Twigger

Arrivals and departures at Kazan station. Gueorgui Pinkhassov/Magnum

Essay/
Travel
Right on track

If there is a greater thrill of travelling than the discovery of unfamiliar places, for me it’s getting there by train

Margarita Gokun Silver

Explorer Robert E Peary’s Eskimo guide searches the horizon for land. 1908. Photo by National Geographic

Essay/
Biography and memoir
Beyond

A remote island, an Arctic expedition, a one-way trip to Mars – what drives our urge to explore the farthest reaches?

Veronique Greenwood

Soldiers enjoying the snow in Gulmarg, a ski resort  in the beautiful but disputed border province of Kashmir, India. Photo by: IndiaPictures/UIG via Getty

Essay/
Travel
Boldly go!

In thinking about faraway travel, the ability to assess risk falters. It’s probably safer than your morning commute

Henry Wismayer

Desolate? A panoramic view of the coast at Ashkelon, Palestine. Coloured lithograph by L Haghe, c1843, after David Roberts. Photo courtesy Wellcome Images

Essay/
Global history
Struggling to see Palestine

For Westerners, the Bible and its prophecies have obscured as much as they’ve revealed about the Holy Land

Michael Press

The band YACHT, pictured in Mexico in 2011. Photo courtesy Claire Evans
Essay/
Dance and theatre
On tour

Life on the road with a rock band: memories blur, cities blend. Only in the frenzy of performance does the world pause

Claire L Evans

On the Antarctic Plateau. Photo by Graham Denyer/Australian Antarctic Division
Essay/
Architecture
The ice inferno

Without night or day, and the sun spinning slowly in a cold sky. Could you stand the mental hypothermia?

Stephen J Pyne