Lonely Planet’s “Explore Every Day” motto guides everything the company does. “We want people to think of Lonely Planet on a regular basis, for local adventures, not just when planning a major international trip,” said Britney Alvarez, the company’s trade marketing manager for the US. “We want to be part of their lifestyle, a lifestyle that is exploratory and helps them have enriching experiences every day.
This philosophy is the inspiration for books such as Secret Marvels of the World. Just out this month, it’s a beautiful coffee-table-size hardcover, packed with photos, illustrations, and narratives about incredible, mostly little-known places to visit, that makes for a good armchair adventure. One of these is Chicken, Alaska, a faraway place that hosts an annual music festival and features a saloon with a working cannon. In the words of writer Etain O’Carroll, “It’s a weird and wonderful place, populated by oddballs and eccentrics, and ideal for kayaking down isolated rivers where your only company are moose and bears.” The photo of El Tio—the ribbon-strewn guardian of the Cerro Rico mine in Bolivia—is particularly heart-stopping.
Of course, the book also has the kind of practical info you’d expect from Lonely Planet should a reader want to make a trip to any of the showcased sights—included are longitude and latitude for every place mentioned, travel directions and tips, and compelling stories from travelers who’ve visited.
Lonely Planet's Atlas of Adventure, due out in September, is another inspiration book in a similar vein. It’s an alphabetical and photographic tour of the world—from Albania to Zambia—highlighting the amazing activities travelers can undertake in each country, everything from surfing to snowboarding to cave exploration.
Also out this month is Epic Drives of the World, the sister-book to last year’s Epic Bike Rides of the World. These are eight-by-10-in. illustrated hardcovers designed to inspire conversations as much as road trips. “If you want to take a road or bike trip but are not sure where to start or end it, this is the place to start," said managing director of publishing, Piers Pickard. "The beautiful photography will give you a menu of options to choose from. The first-person narrative will let you know if a certain trip is the one for you. And the map and practical information at the end of each feature will start you on the road to planning your chosen trip.” The book includes 12 drives in the United States, as well as many others across the planet.
For the Lonely Planet Kids imprint, the company has adapted the slogan slightly, challenging kids: “Come explore. Let's start an adventure!” The children’s books include kids’ versions of Lonely Planet bestsellers such as The Travel Book, but also activity books, and nonfiction works such as How Animals Build, in which kids can learn about naked-mole-rat burrows and the complex architecture of a termitarium. Also coming this fall, in October, is City Trails—Washington D.C., a visual tour of the city packed with facts about the Capitol, the nation, and U.S. history.
“The challenge to ‘explore every day’ comes a lot more easily to kids—the explorer mind-set is how kids generally engage with the world most of the time. So we see our job as fanning the flames of their natural curiosity,” said Pickard.
The inspiration books have enabled Lonely Planet to move well beyond travel guides. “We are increasingly publishing into the gift space,” said Pickard. “Books like National Parks of America, Street Art, and Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour are books that can be pulled off the shelf every weekend as inspiration.” Whether they’re for kids or adults, Lonely Planet has plenty of books to spark travelers’ imaginations.