There is something inherently magical about being in a vast desert—perhaps it’s the infinitesimal succession of sand dunes marching off into the horizon, or the quietude and sense of awe that takes over as we survey the emptiness before us: a stark, inhospitable environment that puts our human vulnerabilities into sharp focus. I’ve always been more of a “water” person, but reading editor-in-chief Christopher Hill’s account of his recent romp through Oman has me considering a road trip of my own through the fascinating Arabian country. Martin Westlake, a regular contributor to our magazine, tagged along for the ride, shooting what may be the first desert-themed cover in our 16 years of publication.
It’s also refreshing because that part of the world often finds itself painted in a less favorable light—which reminds me of the latest political squabbles that remain a headache for travelers in the Gulf countries. But Oman has wisely steered clear of the kerfuffle so far.
As in our cover story, the other three features exhort readers to leave the big city behind. Former DestinAsian editor Gabrielle Lipton highlights the easygoing charms found on Prince Edward Island, the smallest of Canada’s provinces. Penny Watson roves the fertile countryside in the Australian state of Victoria, visiting a trove of restaurants that bring the best of their local ingredients to the dining table. She shows us why, on the culinary front, it would be a mistake to restrict our explorations to Melbourne. Closer to home, Paul Ehrlich takes us deep into Isan, that underrated northeastern region of Thailand, with a trio of intimate, culturally minded resorts to act as his guide. Between all these places, I’m sure there’s plenty to add to your wish list.