Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review: Lonely Planet Unpacked by Tony Wheeler and other Lonely Planet writers

This is a collection of stories billed as "travel disasters" and written by the folks who write or edit the Lonely Planet guides. I dived into this fully expecting some really funny but harrowing tales (well, only expecting funny because the authors clearly survived their disasters to later write about them) but found the comedy I was expecting to be sorely lacking. And for me, the non-lover of short stories, simply reading short essays about travel going wrong written with the literary equivalent of a straight face was not all that satisfying. The disasters ranged from a remotely occuring car accident to being robbed while in a foreign country and surrounded by unhelpful officials and they occurred all over the world, proving that there is no such thing as a disaster-proof trip. I suspect that these writers are very good at the travel writing they do for the Lonely Planet Guides, and none of the essays here were poorly written, but this collection left me disappointed. Personally I find that levity helps in the re-telling of any and all disaster situations and would definitely have helped here. So this wasn't my cup of tea but perhaps other armchair travelers will have a better experience.

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