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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

A Year of Adventures

The Lonely Planet publications have always tended to be the “Somewhere on a $1 a day” guide, though $1 a day has been superseded to about $50 a day in these oil-price escalating times.
A Year of Adventures, A guide to what, where and when to do it (ISBN 9-7817-4104-8, Lonely Planet 2006) is well thought out in the fact that it is split into weeks (48) plus four ‘bonus weeks’ that are not dependent upon time or climatic differences.
It begins on week number 1 in January in Queenstown New Zealand where the reader is prompted to consider a jump at the home of bungy jumps. If you miss that one, then you still have a few days left in the week to go to Lake Placid in the USA for some bobsledding or gorilla tracking in Bwindi in Uganda or even go to the Paris-Dakar rally.
Since each month is arbitrarily given four weeks, the bonus weeks are themed, and page 106 suggests you try the ‘Seven summits’ from seven continents. Fortunately my winter woollies have holes in them, so I’m not tempted to go.
At the back of the book there are two indices, one a list of activities and the other an index of places. Studying these begins to show the slant put on the book by the Lonely Planet. For example, there are 34 opportunities for you to go cycling. That’s about 33 and a half too many for this reader. In the same vein there is diving with 14 places and dog-sledding with six. Unfortunately my SCUBA gear sank and I ran out of my last tin of Pal.
So what else could I do? The book suggests there are 52 places I can go hiking, plus a few more under the heading of trekking. And while I have the boots on there are 16 places I can go rock climbing. All getting far too physical for me.
The Index of places looked safer, so I perused Thailand, but there were only four pursuits mentioned for the Kingdom. I could go diving, hiking, rock climbing or running. No thank you. At least in Venezuela I could go bird watching, but unfortunately you have to take a 12.5 km cable ride to get there.
The back cover promise was that the book was an inspirational planning tool to take me around the world in search of adventure. Honestly, with the Night Market calling, how many more adventures could I take? And it is warm (even though the beer is cold) and I don’t have to climb mountains or buy all sorts of adventure gear.
I was left wondering if this was a wonderful book that had no market. It all seemed too up-market for the backpack set, but was a little too physical for the better-off set. Beautifully published and illustrated and well thought out, but would the target market pay B. 725 for it? Somehow I doubt it. However, it was interesting to see what the world has to offer the young and fit, but not my book.