The following is an excerpt from Lonely Planet’s new travel pictorial, Great Journeys, a visual journey through over 70 of the world’s most amazing routes from ancient trails to modern classic, all captured in stunning full-color images. Available from Lonely Planet now.
Why do we travel? To broaden our minds? To get away from ourselves and other people (or conversely to ‘find’ ourselves)? To undergo rites of passage before embarking on the next stage of our lives? To celebrate our union with the planet and all its peoples? Well often enough today, we travel simply because we can. Cheap and plentiful airfares have shrunk the globe, making it easier to jump on a plane and lie on a beach halfway across the world. The idea of the authentic, all-consuming ‘classic’ journey is something different though, isn’t it? Isn’t that what we really mean when we talk of travel broadening the mind? Aren’t we talking about those bygone days when we really were out of our comfort zones, when we lingered with travel?
The trips, voyages and expeditions collected here have little to do with tourism or travel in the modern sense. In fact quite a few are a product of the rise of civilization itself, when new lands were forged and new knowledge cultivated as a consequence, journeys undertaken at a time when, unlike now, most of the world was unknown and seemingly unknowable. That’s not to say that you won’t find a relaxing ocean-side drive mixed in as well. Each journey is epic – epic in scale, physicality, significance, or scenery, sometimes all at once.