Travel Around the World Without Leaving Home With These Amazing Travel Books!

I have got the travel itch, big time. Maybe it's because Ben is going to India and then Russia, Wayne is going to Edmonton, Paul is leaving for Nepal soon and Teresa is living it up in the Galapagos Islands.

I want to start writing on the road, from different locales and drink up the rich cultures of others. But with my book coming out in February, I should stay put for this next while. In the meantime, I'm enveloping myself in some amazing travel books. Come take a look!

Make the Most of Your Time on Earth: A Rough Guide to the World - 1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences Rough Guides

This is one of those books that you can totally loose yourself in. With rich colour photos and 1000 suggestions of places to go and things to do, you'd best take pen and paper with you whenever you read this. I have a feeling your list is going to be a long one.

The book is divided by countries, but the locales and suggestions are so exciting that you may well forget any order that has been laid out.

There are exhilarating suggestions such as #81 - Braving the Heights of Bonifacio, on Corsica's southern tip and #874 - Fight Night in Bangkok, but you'll find mellow suggestions of eating and walking interspersed throughout the many pages as well.

And there are great pages called "Miscellany" that highlight things in each country such as great reads, top tourist attractions and interesting things about the land that you might not know.

I have to say that reading this book really opened my eyes to how much is out there to see and do and how little I feel I've done thus far.

However, it's never too late.

That's why I'm determined to:

1. #72 - Lounge Aboard the Glacier Express
2. #75 - Take a Trip up the Eiffel Tower (and eat there!)
3. # 96 - Art After Dark: An Evening in the Louvre
4. # 98 - Ars Electronica Centre: Losing Grip on Reality
5. # 113 - Wine-Tasting in Bordeaux
6. # 140 - Learning to Surf on the Atlantic Coast
7. #148 - Dancing Till Dawn at Benicassim
8. # 205 - Puffin and Pantin'
9. #242 - Greek Island Hopping
10. #252 - Living It Up on the Amalfi Coast

and I could go on, but there's not enough room here. You'll just have to take my word for it that there's a heckuva lot that you'll want to do from this book.

Flightless: Incredible Journeys Without Leaving the Ground Lonely Planet

Feeling like you want to get away, but can't afford to?

Then Flightless is the perfect solution. Lose yourself in 26 real-life stories about other people's travels.

Take this, for instance, from "Fallen Warriors" by Olivia Pozzan:

"Clear water originating deep within the mountains runs down the winding canal as we work our way upstream. The concrete edges of the falaj are less than a hand's-breadth wide. Like tightrope walkers we inch past women washing clothes and cooking pots and children splashing in the cool water."

The stories here are like letters from distant relatives, relaying their travels and experiences along the way. They are personal and honest. They are simple and raw.

They are exactly what you want to know about a place that a travel guide often leaves out.

Travel Writing: Expert Advice on Travel Writing From the Best Writers and Editors in the Business Don George with Charlotte Hindle Lonely Planet

I am doing some travel writing now and see it as a natural progression and intergration into my other writing. But I want to learn more. I want to be better.

So I looked to the experts at Lonely Planet and wow, have they created a great book. It has everything you need - Sections on Travel Writing Then & Now, What it Takes to Be a Travel Writer, Finding & Focusing Your Story, The Art & Craft of Travel Writing, Examples of Good Travel Writing, Getting Published , The Tools of the Trade and Wirting for Travel Guidebooks.

Quite honestly, they haven't left a damn thing out.

I love that they include interviews with travel writers and editors and everything is in digestible chunks that don't overwhelm.

There is a hefty list of resources (publishers, newspapers, etc.) at the back to circle or highlight with marker. And for less than $20, you get a fantastic overview, along with a lot of insider tips and advice that can take you from wannabe travel writer to frantically updating your passport and wondering whether it's appropriate to wear a black bathing suit to the luau reception (answer: yes).

I'm packing as I write...

The Perfect Day: Lonely Planet Insider Secrets to 100 Cities
Lonely Planet

I don't know about you, but most guide books leave me having to cut and paste together my own itineraries and agendas. It just wouldn't be possible to follow their idea of what to do in a day as it always includes the most touristy activities and bland walks amongst museums.

Until now.

This fantastic guide gives you a day in both exotic locales and regular city destinations. They are certainly long days, as sometimes I wonder how I'd have the energy to plow from a 15-museum venture to a historic hotel, then snorkel or dive, then visit the animal park and then hike a trail in a regional park in one day (Recently in New York I barely made it from Lincoln Center to my hotel and back without wearing my soles to a sad, thin wafer and desperately needing a glass of something tawny with an ironic cherry in it).

This day, though, is all to be done in San Diego, by the way. Surprising, isn't it? Come on, admit it, you were thinking of something a little more exotic than SD, no (No offense, San Diego. You're a fine, fine city!).

And that's what I like about this book. It includes days in cities for the wanderer, the thrill seeker, the adventurer or the just plain curious, yet it manages to make it all sound so sexy.

And the convenience factor makes it possible for you to jump into a city and get a sense of what it's about in a short amount of time (Important if you are going to follow the instructions of the previous book).

This is a book that you plan trips around and of course, your wardrobe.

Don't Let the World Pass You By! 52 Reasons to Have a Passport
Lonely Planet

Okay, you probably have a passport, but consider this - how long has it been since you went somewhere not for work or for a vacation, but to really have an adventure - just for you?

This is one of those books that will pump you up about traveling and allay any fears that you may have going to other countries or locales where they speak another language or live a different lifestyle (Don't laugh. I know a lot of people who don't travel for these reasons).

For 8 years, I didn't take a vacation because I worked in an office by myself and so, if I wasn't there, who would do the work? I claimed that I didn't have the money, I couldn't take the time, etc. I'm sure you've heard it all before...

But I vowed never to do that again. As soon as I left that job, I've traveled more in the last three years than I did for all the years I worked away at my desk.

Sad, I know, but I'm different now. In fact, so much so that I could honestly leave tomorrow on a trip if I had to (I know. A long way, baby).

This book does everything to dispel cultural stereotypes and beliefs about certain countries and gives advice from people that have actually been there and done that. Sure, there is passport history and trivia, but what I imagine will hit you most about it is that the recommendations the authors make will have you wondering what SPF count you'll need in Borneo and thanks to the travel websites and organizations lists, you'll be calling a travel agent and heading out to your local passport office first thing Monday morning.

The Career Break Book: Swap Your Briefcase for a Passport and Live Your Dream
Lonely Planet

Recently, I told my Mom about a free talk on Egypt downtown and she came back with an armful of brochures, a DVD and a lengthy phone call about how to get around on donkey and/or camel.

I truly believe that travel broadens your knowledge and personality and that a single trip can change your life. Is there somewhere you've always wanted to go, but thought, it's too far, too expensive or too unrealistic?

I'm here to tell you that it's not. Or at least, this book is and I agree.

It covers every practicality to leaving home, traveling, volunteering, working and studying abroad and even covers coming home. While the book allows you to dream your biggest dreams, it certainly does not keep you thinking that there are not things you have to do, to prepare for or think about.

And what's great about this book is that it allows those who have wanted to pack it all in - for just a little while - and trek to the Andes or make authentic tangine in Morocco - and then come back to regular life.

This is for those who want to go somewhere and do something, but not give up everything they've worked so hard to create, or give in to a mere fantasy.

Other words, this is a book for all of us.

But be careful. It may just change you're life.

Stephanie Dickison

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