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The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel    by Rachael Antony & Joel Henry order for
Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel
by Rachael Antony
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What is experimental travel? This little book calls it 'a playful way of travelling, where the journey's methodology is clear but the destination may be unknown.' The book includes a set of travel games, each with a hypothesis to explore, equipment needed, a method to follow, and a difficulty rating. Background notes are included for each, as well as a laboratory report from an experimental traveler who has gone before.

Introducing the games is a Potted History of Experimental Travel, starting with an amusing survey of early travels and travelers - from Adam and Eve to 18th century Grand Tours, Charles Darwin, Dadaists, and Psychogeographers. A whimsical quiz is offered to help the reader pick a suitable travel game. Most of the book is about the games themselves, from Aesthetic Travel (create an innovative, artistic record of the journey) to Voyage to the End of the Line (take a train, ferry or car and keep going).

I give a thumbs down to Airport Tourism (have already done it too often by necessity, and it's likely to cause security concerns these days), and also Budget Tourism and Bureaucratic Odyssey (been there done that too). Alternating Travel (go left then right) better suits my style of exploration. I also like Anachronistic (hot air balloon anyone?) and Chance Travel (all my best travel experiences have been serendipitous), but I'll skip the Dog-Leg variation as I don't want to scoop poop as I go.

Others that intrigue include a Literary Journey (destinations determined by locations mentioned in books) and Expedition to K2 (a map grid location, not the mountain). I also had a chuckle at the hitch-hiking honeymooners, but find your own favorites. At the back of this delightfully quirky travel guide is an invitation to participate in a Global Public Art Project, and a Travel Pie that can be used to design a huge variety of Impossible Journeys.

Give The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel to independent, out-of-the-box thinkers on your gift list who enjoy discovering odd corners of the world, both near and far. They'll have fun with it.

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