The first bookazine of Diplomatic Courier’s Around the World travel series launched on UN’s World Tourism Day to support an industry that needs it the most in the time of COVID-19. “Tourism and Rural Development” celebrates the sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities, including in those communities that would otherwise be left behind.

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In the early hours of one morning in March, I sat in a train station in California, alone except for the ticket taker, waiting for a train to Sacramento. That day, a local hospital would declare an outbreak of coronavirus, the first hospital in the country to do so, and, with that announcement, would come the slow locking down of America, and most of the world.

Unbeknownst to me, that journey, and the journey home, would be the last train rides I would take for many, many months.

I've long had a deep love of train travel. I've traveled on an overnight train from Zurich to Zagreb, across the United States from Denver to Washington, DC, up through New England during autumn and marveled at the bold colors, covered bridges, and charming small stations dotted across the landscape. When the pandemic is over and the border between the United States and Canada reopens, I'm hoping to finally fulfill a childhood dream of taking the VIA across its Great Western Way rail, from Vancouver to Toronto.

I'm not alone. We here at Diplomatic Courier have wandering souls, and this lockdown has made us all yearn for the days when we might explore distant lands. In that spirit, we've created this travel series, dedicated to exploring beautiful places by our favorite mode of transportation. Claire Wyszynski takes us through Scotland, and classic literature, in The Magic of the Highlands. Lorena Meruvia explores The Last Surviving Rail of the West Indies as it tours St. Kitts, and Claudia Chen explains the dark history behind South Africa's Blue Train.

Those stories, and ones about a railway run by children, journeying to the world's rooftop, and how a train reunites loved ones in Hanoi, are sure to transport you, and, we hope, inspire you for a time when we're all able to explore once again.

Molly McCluskey

Series Editor

Washington, DC

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