Open Letter to Lonely Planet
Folks can debate about who puts out the best guidebooks. A lot of people brag about not using guidebooks at all, but the fact is it can be really helpful to have information in a format you’re familiar with. These days, I feel fairly confident traveling. But I wish I had a Lonely Planet for regular life – when I’m not traveling. Hence, the somewhat embarrassing letter below. What can I say? Sometimes, the planet isn’t the only one that’s lonely!
Lonely Planet Head Office
Locked Bag 1,
August 30, 2007
Dear Editors at Lonely Planet,
I wonder if you could be so kind as to help me out with a problem. In two weeks, I am set to take off to China. The plan is that I will teach English for six months and then spend a few months traveling. But just last week, a bloke I’ve had a crush on for ages asked me out to dinner. (Why he had to wait until now, when I’m moving to the other side of the world, I don’t know.) I still need to pack, finish organizing my visa, etc. But instead I’m distracted by worrying about the upcoming date.
I believe that one of the reasons for my misplaced angst is that I have your useful book to guide me in China. Yet I have no such guidance for dinner on Tuesday night. Therefore, it would really help me out if you’d publish the following:
I’m sure your staff all over the world could offer useful insights and expertise. The information I need would fit easily in your standard format.
- History- what do I need to know about this guy?
- Orientation – I always feel disoriented when I’m around him. Help.
- Eating - I’m supposed to pick the restaurant. What do I do? Elegant and romantic (and thus probably pricey), or cheap and filling. I need your listings with options in all price ranges.
- Sleeping – Well, the question is obvious, isn’t it? As above, how cheap should I be?
- Getting Around – see Sleeping
Of course the information in your appendices and directories would be helpful as well:
- Conversation Essentials
- Legal Matters (in case things don’t go well…)
I suppose that it is unlikely that you can put this book together before my date on Tuesday. However, since it is quite likely that five years will go by before I get another date, I can hope that the book will be ready for me by then.
Thank you for your consideration and understanding. After all, it is a lonely planet.
Epilogue: To the best of my knowledge this book still does not exist. Tuesday night went well and I even got to enjoy a second date. This was followed by me making a fool of myself by trying to spark a relationship from the other side of the planet and him inviting an ex-girlfriend to move in with him. Ah, life!