I love planning trips. Specifically, I love perusing available guidebooks, plotting with a friend on paper napkins over a latte and scone, and the thrill of booking a room at a hotel recommended by only a 90s-looking website. I’m heading to my 15th country this year, and I today took the first step of making things seem more real: I bought a guidebook.
I have such fond memories of pouring through the guidebooks I took to Europe years ago. I ripped them up, marked them up, stuffed them in purse pockets, and squeezed every last restaurant recommendation and museum-hours list out of them.
It also happens that whenever I think of guidebooks, I think of this bit from the genius Bill Bryson and his book Neither Here Nor There:
“I had with me two incredibly useless guidebooks to Italy, so useless that I’m not even going to dignify them by revealing their titles here, except to say that one of them should have been called Let’s Go Get Another Guidebook and the other was Fodor’s (I was lying a minute ago). Neither of them so much hinted that Capri town was miles away up a vertical mountainside. They both made it sound as if all you had to do was spring off the ferry and there you were. But from the quayside, Capri town looked to be somewhere up in the clouds.”