Debby: For the last month, the driving source of inspiration (and motivation) in my life has been my upcoming trip to Costa Rica. I leave in two and a half weeks, so the mad rush to plan/shop/pack/talk-about-said-trip has kept me rather occupied. I got some time off of work, corralled my friend Jimi into coming along on my hare-brained adventure and found a killer airfare package. Then, I did something that any normal person would do: I purchased a travel guide. Unlike a normal, rational person, though, I read the travel guide cover to cover. I traced routes on the maps, added to their “suggested packing list,” and read through the reviews of every single hostel in the country. Since we are bringing only backpacks and maps (no technology for a whole week? GASP!), I felt this undeniable need to transfer all Costa Rican knowledge to my head. Now, I feel the need to tell the world about the greatness of Lonely Planet Travel guys.
Shameless Plug: Lonely Planet is written by travelers for travelers. You can feel the presence of those who have “gone before you” from the very first pages. They aren’t trying to sell you on the country: they know you already want to go there. The travel guide simple tells you all those practical, logistical, even comical answers to the questions you have floating around in your brain. From “Do I need to rent a car?” to “What should I wear during the rainy season?” to “Which hostels cater to surfers?” this book says it all. I am avoiding all Lonely Planet books for the next six months so I won’t be tempted to the point of madness to pursue further jaunts.
Tim: The thing I like most about your idea for this trip is the adventure of it all and (not the biggest point, but still) being disconnected from things technological for a little while. One of the most romantic notions in all of history/literature/etc. to me is the the idea of setting out to travel and not knowing what lies beyond. If you go back a thousand years (or less, often enough), you have societies which are wholly contained in their little corner of the world. There are rumors of what lies beyond, but no one’s been there, no one knows for sure. Which I guess is a somewhat contrary notion to buying a travel guide and studying up on exactly what’s there, but I think that, because that sense of adventure remains even when I hear you talk about this trip, it underscores what a nervous thing it must have been to cast aside your entire world and venture forth. As scary as that is, it’s still so romantic (speaking in a very classical sense of the word) to me.
Debby: Aww.. Tim. So your vacation to Texas wasn’t all that romantic? Sounds like you need another trip soon. Hang on! I’ll find you a book….
One response to “On Travel Guides”
You have at least one reader 🙂