The Lonely Planet guide to Experimental Travel

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The Lonely Planet guide to Experimental Travel

Postby Kapa » Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:01 pm

LP goes surreal......RYP, I knew you'd love this one..... flame away!

Tip one for the jaded tourist: try snowboarding in a horse’s head
By Giles Whittell
Going round a city blindfolded, or hitch-hiking on honeymoon are ideas in an unusual holiday guide

WHY maximise your chances of a decent holiday when you can throw reason to the wind and go snowboarding attired in a horse’s head?

Or seal your eyes shut with Elastoplast and experience Paris as if blind? Or risk your marriage with a honeymoon destination chosen by strangers?

Such are the questions to which a new travel guide makes no attempt to provide answers, though it does challenge the travel industry’s basic proposition that planning helps. The Lonely Planet guide to Experimental Travel, published this week, is the first mass-market travel guide to acknowledge that the publishing industry is running out of places to recommend (or rule out) for a jaded travelling public. “Experimental travel evades definition,” says the book ’s coy preamble. This much is clear, however: where you go is less important than how, or whether, you get there. According to Laetitia Clapton, the editor responsible, this guide goes “beyond destination”.

The rucksack-unfriendly 276-page hardback book contains 40 travel recipes designed variously to test your definition of fun, discover truly unbeaten tracks, and save money.

For a cheap day-spa experience it recommends inventing a burst water main as a pretext for visiting a neighbour’s bathroom armed with towels, facial scrubs, soothing music and champagne. Other suggestions include superimposing a heart on a map — any map — tracing it, and following the line; travelling to more or less random points on the Earth’s surface, determined by simple equations and located with the help of a handheld GPS; and visiting an unknown city at the same time as your partner, but separately, and hoping to bump into him or her once there.

This dangerous variation on the romantic weekend is the brainchild of Joel Henry, a heavily moustached surrealist from Strasbourg who invented the concept of tourisme experimental. He was contacted by his new publisher after a rash of newspaper articles in 2003 by journalists, including this one, eager for excuses for expenses-paid foreign trips with their loved ones.

M Henry is a co-author of the book but says that, as a non-native English speaker, he “lived it as an experience” rather than writing every word. That was done by Rachael Antony, an Australian working, appropriately, “at the other end of the world”.

The book is not without practical merit. Mark Butler, whose idea it was to snowboard wearing a horse’s head, found the disguise perfect for queue-jumping in Nagano, venue of the Japanese Winter Olympics, because “no one is up for a confrontation with a horse”.

Ludo and Sasha Jambrich, from Zilina, Slovakia, discovered that hitch-hiking in their wedding clothes eliminated the anxiety of choosing a honeymoon destination, pared costs to almost nothing, and brought out the kindness of strangers everywhere in Europe except Munich, where federal police contacted Interpol to check their identities before letting them proceed on their way.

Each travel novelty is graded from 1 to 5 for difficulty. The experimental honeymoon scores 4, as does airport tourism, even though spending 24 hours in the terminal of your choice without going anywhere may seem overfamiliar to most. Blind Man’s Buff travel scores five and carries the warning “not for amateurs”. It was pioneered by M Henry in Luxembourg.

Established players in the travel industry put a brave face on the challenge to their business models yesterday, even though experimental tourism has been called the unpackaging of the package holiday.

“Thomas Cook isn’t at all worried that customers will stop booking package holidays to pursue the experimental travel suggestions,” a spokeswoman said. “We feel strongly that most people are looking for the chance to relax and recharge their batteries rather than (seeking) challenging experiences.” She did advise experimental tourists to buy good travel insurance, however, “and to do their homework”.

The latest Lonely Planet offering is a far cry from the publisher’s usual guides. Started in the early 1970s after founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler completed an overland journey from London through Asia and on to Australia, Lonely Planet now publishes more than 650 guidebooks in 14 languages.


Rent-a-tourist: Abandon city maps in favour of a placard to be worn in the main square of your chosen destination advertising yourself as a tourist for hire by locals to help with their daily chores

Alternating travel: Walk out of your front door. Turn right. At the next opportunity, turn left, and so on until something blocks your path and you can go no further

Domestic travel: A non-sexual version of wife-swapping in which friends swap keys to spend a weekend in each others’ homes, keeping social engagements and appointments made by the usual occupant

Chance travel: Turn to your town in an atlas gazetteer. Roll a die. Count down that number of lines from your town. Go there

Fly by night: Go somewhere new, arriving in the evening. Explore until sunrise. Go home
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Postby SRR » Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:06 pm

Fly by night: Go somewhere new, arriving in the evening. Explore until sunrise. Go home

I've actually done this several times. It's quite fun.
"May these times be the stone that sharpens our steel." - السيد الحصاد
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Postby RYP » Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:12 am

Take off in a B2 bomber from the midwest, fly all night, bomb the shit out of some third world country, fly home in time to catch the Surreal Life.

I suppose the last book Lonely Planet will publish will be a guide to Suicide and Death...
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Postby redfax » Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:14 am

Do you think pilots ever say to each other: "Dude, I wonder who those folks we just dropped bombs on were?"
Mr. Andrea Matranga
"Those who aren't afraid to die for their ideals, can only die once. The others die every day."
Paolo Borsellino, who only died once
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Postby el3so » Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:22 am

Kapa wrote: and visiting an unknown city at the same time as your partner, but separately, and hoping to bump into him or her once there.
This dangerous variation on the romantic weekend is the brainchild of Joel Henry
Reminds me of an A'dam trip gone bad.
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Ξ §eän Päŧŗîćķ

Postby SeanPatrick » Fri Jun 03, 2005 8:28 am

Ξ §eän Päŧŗîćķ Ξ
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Re: The Lonely Planet guide to Experimental Travel

Postby rookie » Sat Jun 04, 2005 7:33 pm

Kapa wrote: try snowboarding in a horse’s head

I actually skied one time dressed like a turkey.
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Postby Foulplay » Sat Jun 04, 2005 7:44 pm

I knew a girl once who had a fanny like a turkey's chin... but that's not what you mean is it?!

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