What is “The Place to Be”?
The Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines “The Place to Be” as a place, where many people go and many exciting things happen. In general that is a great explanation. However, the word “exciting” has a different meaning for different people. Luckily there is “Lonely Planet’. The headquarters of the world wide largest travel guide publishing house is situated in Melbourne’s suburb Footscray, since although it is now owned by American Brad Kelley, Lonely Planet was founded by Melbourne couple Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 1972.
Wheeler? The name rings a bell when you live in Melbourne? Yes, indeed! Thanks to Maureen and Tony Wheeler and their financial generosity, Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre for Books, Literature and Ideas was opened in the city’s renowned State Library. Since 2010 the Wheeler Centre is a hub for writers and everyone who wants to become one or simply loves fiction, non-fiction and poetry. By the way, with the foundation of the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne wanted to show its commitment to become a UNESCO City of Literature, which it did!
Twelve Chapters and 240 travel destinations
Maybe it was because of that love for language and literature that Lonely Planet has now published a travel guide that will let all colourful meanings of the word “exciting” shine regarding travel destinations that deserve the title “The place to Be”. The guide introduces 240 exciting destinations to us readers that – as the authors promise – will leave us feeling awed, inspired, joyous, adventurous, serene, exhilarated, amused, alone, fulfilled, passionate, reflective and enlightened.
But instead to have our eyes or our sense of taste seduced by views or culinary joys of exotic cities and countries, we choose – inspired by “The Place to Be” – first of all the emotion we would like to be lost in during our holidays – either holidays during which we indeed catch a plane or holidays we go on in our thoughts nicely tucked in between sheets in our bed on a Sunday morning with a soy latte and a fresh croissant in our reach.
Emotions are the starting point for the destinations you choose
We can choose between twelve emotions. They are nicely grouped together in 12 chapters with 20 travel recommendations each, and already the first one made me instantly fall in love with the travel guide: Every chapter starts with a short, sometimes only 20 line long almost philosophical introduction that lends your mind wings and puts you in the right travel mindset.
Dr. Dacher Keltner, Professor for Psychology and co-founder of the “Great Good Science Centeres” at the university of California, for example explains the meaning of “awe” in the chapter with the corresponding title. He talks about awe “as the experience we have when we encounter things that are vast and … transcend our current understanding of the world.” In his opinion awe will “… lead people to be more altruistic, less entitled, more humble and aware of the strengths of others, and less stressed by challenges of daily living.”
A Buddhist Temple in Buthan or a tent on the Great Ocean Road
According to Keltner, you do not necessarily book an expensive trip and can experience the emotion while watching snow cranes flying over a Buddhist Temple in Buthan as well as when going camping in the Yarra Valley or at the Great Ocean Road as long as you are open and make time for it.
Other chapters of “The Place to Be” quote in their introduction authors and writers like Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Love Prey) or adventurer like Ed Stafford, the first who walked along the entire Amazon. After the introductions you’ll find the recommendations: from wild, breathtaking places like Nepal’s Upper Mustang Region to beautiful landscape in Bwindi Impenetrabel National Park, from modern cities with amusement parks in New York to ancient places and cultures like Mt Hagen in Papua New Guinea.
Australia is recommended 13 times
“The Place to Be” would not be an authentic Lonely Planet travel guide, would it not have captivating images and Insider tips regarding the best travel time and the best travel routes. If you happen to live in Australia, you are lucky. There are 13 places that the travel guide recommends:
Daintree National Park, Queensland (Awe), Noosa, Queensland (Serenity), Margaret River, Western Australia (Serenity), MONA, Tasmania (Passion), Kangaroo Island, South Australia (Joy), Uluru, Northern Territory (Enlightenment), The Red Centre, Northern Territory (Alone), Henley-On-Todd Regatta, Northern Territory (Amusement), Big Things Road Trip, Australia (Amusement), Melbourne (Inspiration), Sydney (Exhilaration), The Kimberley, Western Australia (Adventure), Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania (Adventure).
From California Redwoods to Cat Café in Melbourne: Traveling is exciting
Lonely Planet would like to show that “The Place to Be” is a reminder of how “powerful new places can be for the physical but also the mental well being. We as readers should be inspired to start thinking about our next travel – maybe even find a new motto for it: “Whether we go for a weekend or a year most of us travel to see unforgettable sights and enjoy new experiences. But, ultimately, we travel in search of a feeling. That feeling might be a sense of awe or wonder that we don’t receive in our daily routines, or it might be a cosseting feeling of calm.”
Whether it’s the California Redwoods or the Cat Café in Melbourne, peaceful oasis in frantic cities like Tokyo or places of calm and spirituality like in Myanmar – traveling is always a true experience. No matter if in reality or in your head. “The Place to Be” provides us with a brilliant opportunity for it. Definitely recommendable!
Words: Claudia Löber-Raab, firstname.lastname@example.org