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14 Mar 2018

BOOK REVIEW

Lonely Planet’s The Place to Be
Published by Lonely Planet
Hardback $39.99

Reviewed by Chris Johnson

Lonely Planet has recently embarked on a project to launch a series of beautifully produced, hard bound coffee table books with a specific travel theme.

The latest in the series is all about feeling good – that is, travelling to places that will add to one’s wellbeing simply by being there.

Put simply, it is about travel destinations to “make you feel awed, inspired, joyous, adventurous, serene, exhilarated, amused, alone, fulfilled, passion, reflective and enlightened”.

At least that’s what it says on the front cover of The Place to Be, and even a cursory flick through the 304 pages lets you know that the cover says it all.

The Place to Be offers readers 240 travel destinations that in turn suggest where to go in search of experiencing a particular emotion. Each chapter explores a single feeling, with 20 travel destinations and experiences for each emotion and state of mind.

Places range from wild and natural spaces, to modern and ancient cities, with Lonely Planet’s travel writers explaining when to go and how to get there, and the best routes to discovering these feelings.

It is a novel idea and one that works. The pictures alone – stunning, as is always the case with Lonely Planet publications – are almost enough to make you feel better than you were before you picked up the book.

And the descriptions of each destination are tempting teasers that make you want to discover these places and indulge in the experiences they offer firsthand.

It is an easy read, with longer sections devoted to some of the more inspiring destinations and experiences.

Read about the California redwoods; the cherry blossoms of Japan; the orangutans of Borneo; the cafes of Italy; serenity on the Cyclades; the savannahs of Africa: the waterfalls of South America; the music in New Orleans, Havana, Vienna; and much more.

Australia is represented in the book by 13 different destinations:

Daintree National Park, Noosa, Margaret River, MONA, Kangaroo Island, Uluru, the Red Centre, Henley-On-Todd Regatta, Big Things Road, Melbourne, Sydney, the Kimberley, Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park.

The publishers say they want readers and travellers to think about their next journey in a whole new light.

“Whether we go for a weekend or a year, most of us travel to see unforgettable sights and enjoy new experiences. But, ultimately, we travel in search of a feeling,” they write.

“That feeling might be a sense of awe or wonder that we don’t receive in our daily routines, or it might be a cosseting feeling of calm.

“Drawing on science, art and literature for the key to unlocking each emotion, this book is a reminder of how powerful new places can be for mental and physical wellbeing.”

That’s all great, but let’s remember it is only a book. It is not, and does not profess to be, a cure or remedy or anything close to a replacement for medication.

It’s just a book to help make you feel good.

 


Published: 14 Mar 2018