There are plenty of reasons to feel down on the world right now. Most mornings, you wake up to news headlines that make you want to go back to sleep.
Bashar al-Assad is still bombing his own people in Syria while the Islamic State terrorizes that region and the world. Refugees are still washing up drowned on the shores of Lesbos, Greece, while millions who survive their journeys escaping conflict still face uncertain and often harsh futures. The worst Ebola outbreak in history finally ended in West Africa, but now the Zika virus is spreading across the Americas.
Sixty-two billionaires now control as much wealth as half the global population combined. And don't forget climate change.
But, hey, Valentine's Day is coming up. Maybe it's time to rekindle your love affair with this beautiful world of ours. Really, there is lots of beauty out there — we've got proof. Over the years, we've asked correspondents to tell us why they love the places they've lived. We've collected some of our favorites here. Click the linked location names to read these love letters to our favorite places on Earth.
We promise, the world is still worth loving.
More sunshine than Madrid, Rome or Athens. Seafood. A fairy tale fortress on a hill. Ancient neighborhoods and modernist avenues. White sand beaches just minutes from downtown. Lisbon has the climate, the food and the culture to earn its spot among Europe's great cities.
Check out that skyline. You've got skyscrapers, mountains and harbors that together form one of the world's greatest urban landscapes. Everything is efficient. The street are safe. You can get around the city on pedestrian-only, elevated walkways. There's also a delicious supply of Char siu bao, or sweet BBQ pork buns. And the travel opportunities: No matter how much you love Hong Kong, sometimes you need a break. Luckily your options include affordable weekend getaways to the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. What's not to love?
Do you like beer? Get to Brussels — immediately. There are 200 breweries in Belgium, some of them run by monks. Enjoy that beer with some frites. (Remember, those fried potatoes are NOT French fries.) You can check out some Van Goghs at the Van Buuren Museum and visit one of Europe's truly strange works of architecture: the Atomium.
Delhi is bustling, crammed with delicious eateries and filled with ancient monuments you've never heard of and that most tourists never even notice. The street dogs are notoriously friendly. There's one street you can't miss: Paranthewallah Gulley. Go there for the "parathas," which are north Indian flatbreads stuffed with your choice of ingredient and then deep-fried. Try to crash a wedding while you're there. You won't be disappointed.
There are at least 17 reasons you should want to go to Nairobi, but you'll probably just need this one: Nairobi National Park. It's 34 times as big as Central Park. It's right in the middle of the city. It has lions. Any questions? If that doesn't do it for you, the coffee will. And the hominid collection at the Nairobi National Museum.
Mexico City doesn't require much of a sales pitch for most world citizens, but let's be real for a second: Tacos.
South Korea has the fastest Internet on Earth. So it's not the worst idea in the world to just pack your bags right now, hop on a flight to Seoul, and spend the rest of your life staring at your phone. When you look up, it'll be to eat spicy, peppery food and drink liters upon liters of soju. There's an entire museum dedicated to kimchi. Hit the Gangnam district if you're rich and want to go shopping, or if you want to check out the real-life inspiration for the song that became a global phenomenon. Last, dive into Seoul's surprisingly awesome rock scene, if you're not into K-pop and karaoke.
Beaches, Gaudi, plazas. Catalan food and culture. You can tell your children and your grandchildren that you watched Lionel Messi play at FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium.
"Every day is an adventure," GlobalPost's Emily Lodish writes. Pirated DVDs for a $1. Bowls of addictive fish amok (curry steamed in banana leaves) for little more than that. Hammocks everywhere.