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     Volume 4 Issue 51 | June 17, 2005 |

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Book Review

A walk on the weird side

The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel
Part philosophy, part travel guide to a new way of travelling and at times surreal, this user-friendly, tongue-in-cheek book includes practical experiments to follow, both while travelling and when at home. It doubles as a manual for the intrepid traveller and a mirthful read for the armchair adventurer.

What is experimental travel?
Experimental travel is a new way of thinking about travel, pioneered by Joel Henry, founder of the Laboratory of Experimental Tourism (Latourex) in Strasbourg. Applying seemingly random constraints to out travel plans, experimental travel introduces a new kind of prescriptiveness. It may involve forced exploration of the suburbs of a city rather than the classic tourist sights, it may involve travelling without going anywhere- whatever the 'experiment', you can guarantee that it will turn the standard concept of ravel on its head and give the traveller a unique and unusual experience.

What does it all mean?
*Travel is not just about the places we visit; it is also about the way we interact with those places and the people who inhibit them.
*Journeys can be emotional as well as physical.
*Experience is as much about perception as reality.
*Putting constraints on a journey can sometimes lead to a different kind of freedom, the freedom from predictable problems and concerns.
*Doing something backwards, sideways or upside down can give you a new and interesting perspective on a standard activity- think about going from A-Z instead of A to B.

About the book
The book is designed like a manual, with a tongue-in-cheek, scientific approach. Each experiment has a hypothesis, i.e. what you should achieve by doing the experiment, and method, i.e. how you do the experiment, followed by an experiment traveller's actual experience. Introductory notes give each experiment some context- some experiments have roots in other schools of tough such as philosophy, literature etc, others may be based on games such as Monopoly or sardines.

What experiments are in the book?
Includes 60 practical do-it-yourself experiments:
*Airport Travel- spend 24 hours in an airport without flying anywhere. Use the facilities, watch the travellers, and get friendly (but not too friendly) with the planes.
*Budget Travel- not enough time? Not enough money? Go there anyway and experience travel when you're really on a budget.
*Expedition to K2- open your street directory at a random page, locate the grid reference "K2", and go there. It could be a swamp, a sewer, or a large mountain. It doesn't matter- you have to go there anyway.
*Monopoly Travel- armed with a local version of the board game Monopoly, explore the city at the whim of the dice roll. Will it turn into a shopping spree, or a tour of the local utilities, or will you end up in jail?

Source: Lonelyplanet

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