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Why does Modernism matter to travelers?

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By George Stone, TRAVEL Executive Editor

New York’s magnetic center gravitated to Midtown yesterday with Moma's vaunted re-opening, following the museum’s multiyear renovation. What’s spectacular? Tons of new gallery space for installations, performances, masterworks—essentially the maverick ideas of Modernism from the 1880s to the present that have transformed not only Manhattan’s skyline, but the world around us.

It’s been an artful year. Last week we looked into why Germany’s Bauhaus school—which was founded a century ago—is still such a big deal in design. If you’re reading this on an iPhone, you can thank architect Walter Gropius (and his acolytes) for the “less is more” philosophy and focus on the social function of design that drives our modern mindset.

Want to see why UNESCO has recognized Bauhaus for its contribution to art, culture, and groundbreaking ideas of the 20th century? Head to New York, Chicago, Weimar, or Tel Aviv. Travel opens a door to discovery.

Exclusive poll: Americans plan next trip inside U.S.

By nearly a 3-to-1 margin, Americans polled said their next vacation would be within the United States rather than abroad. (The biggest foreign travelers? Americans under 30 and those with high incomes.) Another 20 percent of the 2,000 Americans in the National Geographic/Morning Consult poll don’t know or have an opinion yet. Do you? Let us know at justwondering@natgeo.com.

Today in a minute

Shut down: Hanoi’s famous “train street” cafes. Business Insider reports that too many tourists taking pictures of themselves were blocking the Instagram-famous 117-year-old tracks in the Old Quarter of the Vietnamese capital. In the Czech Republic, an influx of inappropriate selfies prompted a ban on the photographs at an underground chapel outside Prague, CNN reports.

Wi-Fi on the trail? Wi-Fi, food trucks, and hot showers are amenities being considered for National Park Service campgrounds. That’s according to an Interior Department advisory committee. More than 9.2 million visitors stayed at national park campgrounds last year, the Associated Press reported. Proponents say the upgrades would modernize the park experience; environmentalists worry the changes could price out some campers. “I’m not going and looking for Wi-Fi,” said Clay Cutler, a bare-bones camper from Colorado. “That’s 99 percent of the reason I go camping to get away from that and enjoy nature.”

City of Women: Imagine a transit map that named all the subway stops after female figures. New York has a 2.0 version created by writer Rebecca Solnit and geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Afar reports. Near the U.S. Open site in Forest Hills, stops are named for Serena Williams and Billie Jean King. Other stops are named for Audre Lorde, Carole King, Gloria Steinem, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The map begs the question: In a city where so few landmarks are named after women, when does a fanciful map become reality?

Afraid of ghosts? Massacres, rising sands, volcanoes, and depleted mines drove the people away. But these 10 ghost towns each reveal something distinctive that was left behind. Seasonal plus: spookiness.

Your Instagram photo of the day

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Trekking through the Tian Shan mountain range in remote Kyrgyzstan, you’re bound to spend more time with sheep, dogs, and horses than other travelers. With mountain destinations growing more popular, Martin Edström writes that these rolling hills and alpine peaks promise something the Himalayas and Andes can't always deliver: alone time with these majestic views.

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The big takeaway

What is it about a place that makes you love it? For Spanish-born chef and humanitarian José Andrés, now a U.S. citizen, it was someplace that connected past and present. “Puerto Rico has always been a beautiful halfway point between my Spanish heritage and my American identity. It is a place where I feel happy, a place where community is so deep and people are so welcoming,“ Andrés told us last year. ”After I spent time there over the last year [providing emergency meals to Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria], my love for the island became even stronger—I have seen some of the most selfless, generous people of my life. Puerto Rico is America at its best, humanity at its best."

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One last glimpse

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From the archives: I’ll leave you with this image from the June 1956 issue of National Geographic. It was taken near Trieste, Italy, of motorists passing sightseers on a cliffside road overlooking a bay. Ciao!

This newsletter has been curated by David Beard. Have an idea or a link for us? We’d love to hear from you at justwondering@natgeo.com.