The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel.
Experimantal Travel100
This is a book that might help you see the world in new ways.

If you’re not sure what Experimental Travel is, the book begins with a short description and a history. In brief Experimental Travel is described as a playful way of travelling, where the journey’s methodology is clear, but the destination is unknown.

This may be an unfamiliar description of travel, and perhaps one which you struggle immediately to see the value of. However I think that the definition best describes the nature of our lives. We can’t know the destinations we will pass through, but we can control the way in which we travel. Thus the book is at first glance an interesting distraction from mundane travel by habit, and also provides insights that may be valuable at a much deeper level.

The body of the book comprises 40 such playful ways of taking a journey. Each is described by a hypothesis, apparatus required and the method supported by short introductory notes. These are sufficient for you to set off on a journey and have a go. In addition each of the 40 ways has what are described as Laboratory Results. In a nutshell these are reports of the experience of travellers who have followed the instructions.

The suggestions for experiments range from quite simple exercises, to those which would require a fair degree of preparation, Each invites you to see your world through new eyes by in some way switching your perspective. For example suggestion 18 ‘Expedition to K2’ invites you not to climb the Himalayan peak, but to see a new aspect of your home town by visiting and exploring map grid square K2. Suggestion 39 ’12 Travel’ invites you to travel noting the number 12. Catch bus number 12, get off at the 12th stop, walk across 12 junctions before examining building number 12, for example Or perhaps suggestion 15 ‘Dog’s Leg Travel’ If you don’t normally walk a dog, take one for a walk and be led by what interests the dog.

You get the idea. It’s simple, but as the Laboratory Results and your own experience will soon reveal, it’s a very powerful idea. Not convinced? Just try spending the next ten minutes walking around the room you are currently in, looking for every green object. I guarantee you’ll find far more than you expected and will learn something new about your room, a room you’ve probably seen many times, but never really seen.

This is a great book full of ideas that can make journeys a whole lot more interesting, even journeys you have to make every day, and the ideas will have an impact much more broadly on your outlook and the ways in which you see and see differently.

Many thanks to Martine Vanremoortele who introduced me to this book.

Steve Unwin
January 2006