Do you really need a guidebook?
My first ever guidebook was the Lonely Planet on India. I bought it back in 1995 prior to a round-the-world trip with a friend of mine. Little did I know that I would never make it around the world, or that I would leave my LP behind in one of the first hotels on the journey.
But nevermind. I still managed to discover India, and who knows what experiences I would have had if that holy travel bible hadn’t gone missing… Maybe I wouldn’t have made it to the Taj Mahal that foggy morning where I met my husband to be?
Who knows, maybe there’s a paragraph in the Lonely Planet warning single girl travellers against roaming the streets of Agra at day break? Either way, I choose to think that destiny had a say when my guide book decided to continue its life without me.
This has caused me to think of all the other Lonely Planets out there. The company sells a whopping SIX MILLION books each year! Imagine the incredible places these books have been to, the fascinating people who’ve flicked through them, the doors they have opened and the memories they have caused.
Every so often I come across other LP users, and it’s almost like meeting a long forgotten family member. We nod at each other, exchange glances, and may even strike up a conversation. This happened for instance, with this backpacker couple in Luang Prabang, Laos:
I know there are others out there. Guide books that is. But I’m still a LP kinda girl. I’ve tried to grow accustomed to the Rough Guide, Fodors, Footprint and Louis Vuitton, but my heart belongs to Lonely Planet. I suppose there’s still a trace of that first love and fascination when I travelled outside of Europe for the very first time. This is not to say we haven’t had our ups and downs. It’s been a bumpy ride at times, and there have been unfaithful moments. The disappointments have been their guidebooks on Norway and Cuba. Both small countries, where they have let me down simply because they published what seems to be the unbiased opinion of one author.
However, I forgive and forget and continue to update my bookshelf with brand new editions.