Lonely Planet

I called it to the local library this afternoon seeking something in particular – not so much a specific book as a type of book. And what may that type of book be? A travel guide. You know, like Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, DK and Michelin (close, but not the restaurant guides).

But why, I don’t hear you ask? Because I need a holiday and I have too much annual leave accumulated (close to 10 weeks now).

I’ve never been big on the idea of travelling overseas. As a young adult I opted to study and get full time work rather than travel. Then kids came along (bless ’em) and a bigger mortgage and bigger responsibilities, and more demands on my time/money/energy/resources/brain.

Even up to 10 years ago, if asked if I wanted to travel overseas I’d reply “no” or “better to see Australia first” or “keep your money local” etc.

But in those last 10 years I’ve thought that it may be nice to travel overseas a little. Many places hold no interest or attraction to me, but there are a few places I’d like to see – France (Paris and Provence), Scotland, Ireland, parts of Greece, Spain (and particularly one of the caminos), Canada, Israel, New Zealand. OK, maybe there are plenty of places I’d like to see.

I’ve had a few trips overseas – two to New Zealand 20+ years ago for work (and that meant mainly working and little time for sightseeing). I also had a work trip to the US about 10 years ago where I flew into LA, swapped to another flight to Minneapolis and then spent a week in south western Minnesota where my luggage arrived 3 days after I did! And again little time for sightseeing apart from buying underpants, shirts and a toothbrush in a Walmart. But in terms of overseas holidays there was a cruise to/around New Zealand around 5 years ago and that was good.

So what travel guides did I borrow? Lonely Planet – and based on two countries – Ireland and Canada.

I’m thinking that a driving holiday could comfortably fit inside a three week break. And preferably in a country where they speak English (how presumptuous and arrogant that sounds, but three weeks isn’t long enough to me to try to get my head around foreign phrases), and with plenty of things to photograph, scenery to look at, shops to browse. Given the relatively short time frame I need somewhere that has a lot packed into a small area (no, not like New York or Beijing). The concepts I have in mind are either a two to three week touring holiday around Ireland (and some of the centre bits as well), or a two week trip from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies (seeing Banff and Lake Louise) and perhaps onto Calgary and then either return to Vancouver or otherwise catch a flight east to either Halifax or Charlottetown and have a look around Prince Edward Island.