The History of Travel Guidebooks

Posted by Chika On 1:47 PM 0 comments

Tony and Maureen 1973

I don't quite understand the posting policy of Publisher's Weekly, but it seems that some of their articles are posted on their website, while large parts of their site are off limits, unless you a paid subscriber, and Publisher's Weekly ain't cheap.

And so I was pleasantly surprised to find this PW article today about the history of travel guidebook publishing, with mentions of Bill Dalton and his adventurous days selling his Indonesia Handbook at the freak festival. It's the same orange guide I used on my first trip to Bali in 1979, or perhaps the first formal guide rather than a collection of notes, typed, and stapled.

Travel has changed radically since the days of the Victorian Grand Tour, when the privileged classes would pack their steamer trunks for European journeys that could stretch into years while the common folk contented themselves with a trip to the shore or to a town with a springs. Travel in our time has become much more democratic, global and fast. Two decades ago, says travel writer Rick Steves, Eurailpasses were guarded as carefully as passports. "People would do 17 countries. Now, it's the south of France, or Portugal, or the heel of Italy. People are more focused."

And taking shorter trips, says Avalon Travel publisher Bill Newlin. "They are valuing time over money, looking for ways to make educated decisions. People want to find something new, have stories to tell, but what that means has changed." Newlin and Steves are just the latest in a long line of travel book folk who have tried to keep up with the changing whims of travelers. The much-cherished Baedeker guides of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are collectors' items today, valued for the excellence of the writing and the romance that still clings to a world of empires and hat boxes. But the books themselves are obsolete in a world of cell service and time-shares. "The unknown is harder to find today," says Newlin, "but the craving for adventure survives." As does the determination of travel book publishers to remain relevant.

Indeed, all the major travel lines today—Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Moon, Insight, Rick Steves, Michelin—started in response to a perceived need in the marketplace. Even Karl Baedeker felt that there were no books available at the time that filled the traveler's need in the precise way he saw it. Not a single publisher watching over today's once eponymous (for the most part) imprints said that the spirit of the founder had changed, though the scope and breadth of the offerings are far different from what they used to be.

Let's Go has more than 50 titles covering six continents; Rough Guides takes in more than 200 destinations. Fodor's lines encompass more than 14 different series, and Frommer's titles number more than 330. Michelin now offers about 200 different guidebook titles, while Lonely Planet's number exceeds 600.

When Eugene Fodor brought out his first book, in 1936, Baedeker's (published in Germany), Murray's Hand-Books (London), Michelin Guides (France) and Hachette's Blue Guides (also France) were preeminent. Baedeker's had a venerable place in the annals of travel, but Fodor perceived new needs for the tourists of his era: he wanted them to have up-to-date, practical information and to understand what he called "the human side" of the places they visited. He researched his first book, 1936... On the Continent, while working for a steamship line and writing freelance travel articles.

In the introduction Fodor reminded his readers that the rewards of travel derive from the interactions with people in the visited locales. "We have proceeded on the assumption that your thirst for historical knowledge is nothing like so great as your thirst for the beer of Pilsen or the slivovitsa of Belgrade," he wrote. In 1950 Fodor took his guides to the David McKay Company and published books on France, Switzerland and Italy. His guide to Great Britain and Ireland, compiled in a single book, evoked loud protests from the Irish and were subsequently issued as two distinct titles.

In large measure attracted by the Fodor franchise, Random House bought David McKay in 1986 and undertook a major overhaul of the guides. Despite considerable diversification, the books haven't deviated from Fodor's vision, says Fodor's publisher Tim Jarrell. "The experience of travel has changed, but why people travel and the motivation is still the same."

Fodor's dominated the travel market for roughly a decade, until an ex-OSS employee named Temple Fielding entered the arena in 1948 with a hardcover guide to Europe. A bit more high-tone than Fodor's, Fielding's Travel Guide to Europe had become, by the time a profile of the author appeared in Time magazine in 1969, a 1,485-page, 909,000-word primer weighing just over two pounds. The company existed as recently as 1997—Robert Young Pelton, author of Fielding's The World's Most Dangerous Places, bought the company name from Morrow in 1993 and published traditional guides for a while—but Pelton's books are now published by HarperCollins and few Fielding guides are still in print.

In 1957, Arthur Frommer, a young lawyer in the U.S. Army, wrote a slim travel guide for American GIs in Europe, then produced a civilian version that caught the popular imagination of the era: Europe on $5 a Day. The book ranked sights in order of importance and included budget travel suggestions. "Arthur showed that everyone could travel and had the right to travel," says Michael Spring, the publisher of Frommer's Travel Guides, now published by Wiley. "We've gone from one book to over 320 books, but the vision hasn't changed."

Frommer's idea was that by traveling cheap you'd get inside the culture. "You'd stay at a B&B and talk to the owners at the breakfast table and meet the other guests," says Spring. By 2004 Frommer's signature guide to Europe was up to "starting" at $85 a day, while the 2006 Paris guide starts at $90.

Frommer continued to self-publish his guides while practicing law and in 1977 he sold the business to S&S. Through a series of subsequent sales the books ended up at Wiley. By the time Spring came in as publisher, in the early '90s, "the books were safe, geriatric, schoolmarmy, for a generation that hadn't traveled much," he says. "We started from scratch and wrote for the active, curious savvy traveler." Some of these travelers happened to be well-heeled. "It's our feeling that money shouldn't be held against you. The issue in traveling isn't how expensive, but how special," Spring says.

As travel became easier—planes faster, fares cheaper—students started thronging charter flights to get a taste of Europe during summer vacations. The guides on the market, which were aimed at a middle-class crowd, didn't address their needs. Over the next decade, several young entrepreneurs—hippie idealists—wrote guides for this young, curious (and underfinanced) group.

The first to appear was Let's Go Europe, in 1960. The original was a mimeographed pamphlet put together by students at Harvard Student Agencies and handed out gratis to those who booked charter flights to Europe. Two years later the guide had grown to 124 pages and carried a $1 price tag. "The budget advice available at the time was staid," says Tom Mercer, editorial and marketing manager for Let's Go at St. Martin's, which has published the series since 1982. "The authors of Let's Go were the audience themselves, young, adventurous Americans starting to sow their oats."

Publisher's Weekly Link

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The Beatles

Posted by Chika On 4:33 PM 0 comments

The Beatles Hard Day's Night 1964

I was a pretty young kid when I first heard the Beatles on the radio station in Omaha in 1964, but it still stands out. The radio DJ came on and said something "we've got a new rock group from England called the Beatles, and we're now going to play four tunes from them, and invite listerners to call and vote their favorites: "She Loves You," "I Wanna Hold your Hand," "Please Be True" and another.

Anyone remember?

This was the launch of the Beatles. I watched the Beatles the following two weeks on Sunday evenings Ed Sullivan show, and it's true. The Beatles changed everything.

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The Future of Airline Travel

Posted by Chika On 3:38 PM 0 comments

New Airline Strategy for Transporting Bodies

International Airlines have just come up with a new method to pack more bodies into their aluminum coffins: strap bodies into vertical body bags, or perhaps the human horizontal body hotels in Tokyo? I have another suggestion. Six passenger levels based on how much you can afford. Body bags (cheap) to full-beds (pretty penny). Why must the budget-minded suffer while the ultra-rich get unreacheable perks? Let's have some mid-choices.

Some airlines are already doing this, such as ANA, EVA, and a few others to Asia, that offer some great deals on mid-level travel with comfort at mid-level prices. That's the solution.

One Day, That Economy Ticket May Buy You a Place to Stand
Chris Elliott
April 25, 2006


The airlines have come up with a new answer to an old question: How many passengers can be squeezed into economy class?

Airbus has been quietly pitching the standing-room-only option to Asian carriers, though none have agreed to it yet. Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, according to experts who have seen a proposal.

But even short of that option, carriers have been slipping another row or two of seats into coach by exploiting stronger, lighter materials developed by seat manufacturers that allow for slimmer seatbacks. The thinner seats theoretically could be used to give passengers more legroom but, in practice, the airlines have been keeping the amount of space between rows the same, to accommodate additional rows.

The result is an additional 6 seats on a typical Boeing 737, for a total of 156, and as many as 12 new seats on a Boeing 757, for a total of 200.

That such things are even being considered is a result of several factors. High fuel costs, for example, are making it difficult for carriers to turn a profit. The new seat technology alone, when used to add more places for passengers, can add millions in additional annual revenue. The new designs also reduce a seat's weight by up to 15 pounds, helping to hold down fuel consumption. A typical seat in economy class now weighs 74 to 82 pounds.

"There is clearly pressure on carriers to make the total passenger count as efficient as possible," said Howard Guy, a director for Design Q, a seating design consultant in England. "After all, the fewer seats that are put on board, the more expensive the seat price becomes. It's basic math."

Even as the airlines are slimming the seatbacks in coach, they are installing seats as thick and heavy as ever in first and business class — and going to great lengths to promote them. That is because each passenger in such a seat can generate several times the revenue of a coach traveler.

At the front of the cabin, the emphasis is on comfort and amenities like sophisticated entertainment systems. Some of the new seats even feature in-seat electronic massagers. And, of course, the airlines have installed lie-flat seats for their premium passengers on international routes.

Seating specialists say that all the publicity airlines devote to their premium seats diverts attention from what is happening in the back of the plane. In the main cabin, they say, manufacturers are under intense pressure to create more efficient seats.

"We make the seats thinner," said Alexander Pozzi, the director for research and development at Weber Aircraft, a seat manufacturer in Gainesville, Tex. "The airlines keep pitching them closer and closer together. We just try to make them as comfortable as we can."

There is one bit of good news in the thinner seats for coach class: They offer slightly more room between the armrests because the electronics are being moved to the seatbacks.

One of the first to use the thinner seats in coach was American Airlines, which refitted its economy-class section seven years ago with an early version made by the German manufacturer Recaro.

"Those seats were indeed thinner than the ones they replaced, allowing more knee and legroom," Tim Smith, a spokesman for American, said. American actually removed two rows in coach, adding about two inches of legroom, when it installed the new seats. It promoted the change with a campaign called "More Room Throughout Coach."

But two years later, to cut costs, American slid the seats closer together and ended its "More Room" program without fanfare. When the changes were completed last year, American said its "density modification program" had added five more seats to the economy-class section of its MD-80 narrow-body aircraft and brought the total seat count to 120 in the back of the plane. A document on an internal American Airlines Web site, which was briefly accessible to the public last week, estimated that the program would generate an additional $60 million a year for its MD-80 fleet

New York Times

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American Travelers Perception

Posted by Chika On 11:10 AM 0 comments

American Travelers in Patpong

Once again, the old and tired cliche about American travelers abroad has been brought up with several articles in magazines and on the web. The familiar story is that Americans abroad are a boorish lot, given to bad fashion and yelling across the restaurant. Yeah, well, who cares?

I don't. Americans are a very, very friendly group of people who yell and scream at almost anything, and welcome anybody and everybody into their party. It's America, and it's a celebration of life. American tourists are well loved throughout the world, and rank among the favorite nations along with Australia, New Zealand, and some other places on the European continent. And most people around this planet can easily tell the difference between an American tourist and the present political policies of the American government. In other words, nobody blames me for the idiocy of George Bush or his personal vendetta against Iraq.

Erik Olsen at Gadling has more:

Lots of folks are atwitter over the release of the "World Citizens Guide" - which we posted about - that seeks to help reduce the amount of ugliness Americans export within themselves when they head abroad. Only you can know exactly what your "AUE" (American Ugliness Export) quotient is, but my guess, esp. if you like fast food and Hawaiian shirts, is that it's pretty high.

The guide was underwritten/assembled by the Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), a non-profit group funded by big American companies, who are saying the anti-Americanism is bad for business. It features some 16 etiquette tips on how Americans can help the country by not fulfilling stereotypes of themselves as brash, loud, annoying, fat, stupid, bossy philistines. Ed Gomez over at SF Gate examines the subject and finds many of these stereotypes sadly accurate. While, over at the UK Telegraph, Philip Sherwell probably has the best take on the subject, as he makes the point that it's not really American tourists who are the problem, it's more often the perceptions of American policy...although loud fat Americans don't help themselves much either.

So let me put the question out there? Are we fat, loud, bossy, annoying, etc.? Or is it just that people like to pick on the big guy? Or more, are people in general becoming more like us? I mean, have you ever seen German travelers? Let's get the debate started.

Gadling Link

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The Forgotten Book Advance

Posted by Chika On 10:28 AM 0 comments

Alice Dines

Did your publisher somehow miss a scheduled advance payment on your latest book? It happens more often than you might imagine, thanks to poor bookkeeping or selected memory. Writers must keep track of their contracts and payment schedules, and remind their publishers of their obligations, as shown today by an insightful article by Angela Hoy.

Dear Angela:

I think you have a great service, and now, as a fellow writer, I am asking your help.

I have a book contract. However, while I received the first part of my advance, I did not receive the second half. Nevertheless, the book is already for sale. Now, I have another manuscript that I submitted to the publisher, and he said it was too long, but, that he liked the writing and the work, so he broke it up into two works. He has indicated the second will be coming out on his next list. I am gratified to have such a reception, but, the second work has no written contract, I have not been paid the second part of my advance on the first, and there has been no discussion about money on the second. I do not know what to do. I know I need an agent, but, I am in a bind. My work is already sold! However, I need money to live as well! I have no "new" work to present to an agent.

Sincerely, D.

You need to immediately remind the publisher that you're still waiting for the second half of your advance. But, check your contract first to ensure there's not some clause in there you're not aware of.

From your note, it appears you haven't bugged him about the second half yet. Don't be afraid to. He may be unaware it hasn't gone out or he may simply have forgotten.

The fact that he hasn't even given you a contract on the new book, however, is quite troubling. Even if you have a relationship with a publisher, you should never, ever work without a contract. This, coupled with the missing second half of your advance, could either spell ignorance or laziness on behalf of the publisher, or it could mean he's purposely trying to rip you off.

Writers Weekly Link

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Stolen Books

Posted by Chika On 10:23 AM 0 comments

Alice with Question

Something to contemplate. I've seen photocopies of my books on the sidewalks of Saigon and Bangkok, and while not a serious problem, book authors and other travel writers need to be aware of the problem of piracy and how to combat the challenge.

What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content

Having been the target of copyright thieves, and working with writers, authors, and photographers on copyright protection and laws for over 25 years, I thought I’d talk a little about what to do when someone steals your content.

First, you noticed that I didn’t say “if” someone steals your content. That was on purpose. With the glut of information on the Internet, it’s now a matter of “when” not “if”.

The first step in learning about what you can do when someone steals your content is to know that it will happen, so the more prepared and informed you are, the better your chances of prevention and having a plan in place when they steal.

As the number of websites and blogs grow, especially splogs, the demand for content puts more pressure on website administrators, who may resort to stealing content in order to fill space on their sites and attract traffic. Website hijacking, as such an example, is on the rise. This is the blatant use of part or all of your site’s content on another site without permission. This is also a copyright violation and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

Lorelle Link

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Still the Freaky Goa

Posted by Chika On 9:36 AM 0 comments

Puri Sunrise by Carl Parkes

It's been a helluva long time since I visited Goa, but I've been hearing depressing stories for many years, that Goa had gone upscale and was now populated with group tourists who all stayed in five-star hotels. Good news this week from the travel section of the New York Times, which claims that hippie culture is alive and well in the former Portuguese colony. But only the Times could write a three-page article about Goa and never mentioned weed or mushrooms.

There ain't nothing like this in the real world. Come to Goa. Change your mind. Change your way. It's hard to imagine a better jingle for this sandy strip of India's western coast, a venerable Catholic-Hindu enclave where American hippies came to turn on, tune in and drop out in the late 1960's, and where globe-trotting spiritual seekers, party kids, flag-wavers of the counterculture and refugees from the real world have fled ever since.

It's a place where the palm trees bear a strange fruit —fliers for crystal therapy, Ayurvedic healing and rave parties — and every road seems to lead to an organic restaurant or massage clinic. At the yoga centers, postures are manipulated by top Indian and international instructors. In clubs, where trance music is the favored genre, D.J.'s carrying myriad passports provide the mix. Bodies receive needle-inked adornments at skin-art parlors; minds seek enlightenment, or at least expansion, at many meditation clinics.

New York Times Link

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Angkor Beer

Can you believe the travel section of this week's New York Times? Two articles about Asia, when they typically only do about one article per month. This story provides a sharp contrast to another story they published a few months ago about Sihanoukville, where the author apparently spent his vacation at some five-star resort and perhaps took a quick drive around the district.

This week's story is almost the complete opposite, though a better comparison would have been Sihanoukville to Ko Phangan.

THE "largest and wildest" full-moon party, promised the yellow flier taped to a phone booth on Khaosan Road in Bangkok. Another installment of Thailand's girls-gone-wild bacchanal on the island of Ko Phangan? Or its bigger brother, Ko Samui? Or maybe it was the newcomer Ko Phi Phi, a remote island that is luring younger partygoers in the post-tsunami boom.

Not quite. This particular moonlight spectacle, in fact, wouldn't even be in Thailand, but across the border, in Cambodia's budding seaside town, Sihanoukville. It is "just nine-and-a-half hours from Bangkok," according to the flier, the work of Cambodian entrepreneurs hoping to turn Sihanoukville into the latest party hot spot.

Like bohemians colonizing a sketchy up-and-coming neighborhood, European and Australian backpackers have been blazing trails through Cambodia steadily since the mid-1990's. Although the last of the Khmer Rouge traded their machetes for plowshares only eight years ago, this nation of 13 million is fast becoming a companion destination to Thailand — that is, another seemingly safe haven of lush landscapes and warm embraces for Westerners.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on the low-key but alluring beaches of Sihanoukville, where development is being modeled after Thailand's resorts. Along the touristy strip of sand known as Serendipity, several restaurants brazenly advertise "happy" pizza and "happy" pancakes, seasoned with a certain illicit herb. Nearby, Victory Hill is trying to become Cambodia's version of Soi Cowboy, one of Bangkok's more garish red-light districts.

New York Times Link

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Real Job Posting

Posted by Chika On 4:56 PM 0 comments

Engrish dot com

I think this job posting is real. But I'm not sure, so be careful and cautious. This is a real-world job, and not another travel writing pitch. Most websites looking for travel writing are just collecting fodder for their site, to then sell to advertisers for monthly payments. Don't fall for it-They say they will give away some fabulous cruise to Norway or Tahiti or Bermuda, so do send in your 2000 word travel essay about the most fabulous place you've ever stayed. They want all rights.

To sell more ads.

"do you wanna be a travel writer scam." Skip phonies. Buy a few books about being a travel writer. Write a dozen travel pieces, end them to 100 newspapers. That's all you need to do. A few newspapers will purchase your travel story for $150, and then the editor will remember your name, and that person will buy more of your stories in the future. Yes, it's that simple. Write a good story and mail it out to 100 newspapers.

Director of Internet Sales and Marketing
Publication or Company Chronicle Books
Industry Book Publishing
Salary
Benefits
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location San Francisco, CA USA


Job Requirements

The primary purpose of this position is to set and execute a strategic plan to increase Chronicle Books direct website sales and website outreach to end consumers to promote the website, the Chronicle Books brand and all Chronicle Books’ titles.

This position will also act as the primary strategic thinker and planner for how the company can use the web and other technology to increase sales and brand awareness.

This individual needs a thorough understanding of ecommerce sales, an understanding of the web and the technologies associated with it, and an ability to create and execute plans for growth.

WEB SALES

Oversee the plans and execution of our website sales to increase visitors, increase sales and build brand awareness and loyalty
· Oversee the Web order fulfillment system and the customer service process; make changes when necessary
· Create and implement programs and the calendar for all Web promotions to increase sales and increase visitors to site
· Develop ways to convert existing traffic to buyers.
· Monthly report to the company on site sales, site visitation, promotions and strategic plans
· Create and implement user surveys as needed
· Work with the Direct Sales task force to drive sales through the site

CONTENT

Oversee the overall creative direction of the site
· Work directly with website manager on the editorial calendar for books to be featured, promotions offered and ensure web is updated in a timely manner
· Ensure that content of site aligns properly with promotions and ideas surrounding ecommerce initiatives
· Design mini sites as needed for most important titles.
· Delegate and approve the creation of content for all three site “home pages” (books, kids, gifts)
· When necessary, oversee redesign of entire site or special areas.

ONLINE MARKETING

· Advocate, educate, and implement all online marketing strategies for the company. This person is the resident expert on all online and mobile marketing opportunities. Stay on top of market trends and find ways to implement them into our operations here.
· Work with marketing and publicity to create plans for all key titles, and for online marketing of Chronicle in general.

DEVELOPMENT

· Oversee the technical evolution of the site, add (or commission to have added) new functionality as needed.

DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER

· Partner with direct to consumer team to find ways to use the website as a way to increase sales and outreach to new consumers directly. This includes working on ways to use site for selling to end consumers, corporations, organizations, and through the Metreon retail store
· Oversee all web only promotions through these venues; including marketing collateral which is created
· Find creative ways to use the web to expand our current reach to direct consumers.

OTHER

Work directly with in house staff in operations, production, sales and marketing on how CB can use website as a tool to improve internal processes and communication

MANAGEMENT

· Supervise Website Manager

Prerequisites:

Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and some Flash. Experience managing an ecommerce site. Experience with Web marketing a must (banner ad campaigns, email newsletters, and Web promotions). Knowledge of Google AdWords a plus. Publishing experience a plus.

Must have experience managing a team with various abilities (from creative to technical). While it isn’t necessary for this person to be a programmer per se, it is essential for her/him to be well versed in what different technology can offer and how to manage a programmer to deliver. A keen eye for design is essential to keep in pace with the visual integrity of our books.

Most importantly, must have knowledge of and interest in our eclectic list, and be versatile enough to create Web marketing plans for everything from the kooki
About Our Company Chronicle Books, a San Francisco based publisher, was founded in 1966 and over the years has developed a reputation for award-winning, innovative books. The company continues to challenge conventional publishing wisdom, setting trends in both subject and format, maintaining a list that includes illustrated titles in design, art, architecture, photography, food, lifestyle and pop culture, as well as much-admired books for children and ancillary products through its gift division. Chronicle Books boasts best-selling titles that include The Beatles Anthology, Sylvia Long’s Hush Little Baby, The 52-Deck series, Olive, the Other Reindeer and The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook series. Chronicle Books’ objective is to create and distribute exceptional publishing that’s instantly recognizable for its spirit, creativity, and value.

Contact Ms. Renee Banks
Email Address jobs@chroniclebooks.com
Address 85 2nd street
6th floor
San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

Phone 415.537.4200
Fax 415.537.4450
Special Instructions Please include a cover letter with resume.

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Humor? From Gadling?

Posted by Chika On 9:40 AM 0 comments

Japanese Fans by Carl Parkes

The good folks at Gadling have gone all out today, with some half-dozen hilarious posts in honor of April Fools Day. I sense from these posts, that the fabulously paid Gadling authors are mostly frustrated humor writers, who would rather be working the opening monologue for Conan O'Brien, than ragging on about esoteric travel trivia. Fine work, and too bad this sort of opportunity only comes up once a year.

Fans of our America’s 43rd president will finally have something to rejoice about later this month when the new Bushland presidential theme park opens. Built atop the breeding grounds of the endangered Texas blind salamander, Bushland embraces the life and accomplishments of George W.

This wonderful family getaway has something for all ages; the Michael Moore Harpoon Toss, the Cheney Shooting Range, the Deficit Roller Coaster (which only goes up), and the Karl Rove Spinner (the opening of the Karl Rove Steamboat Cruise has been postponed until problematic leaks are fixed).

Gadling: Bushland to Open

From the same people who have brought you volumes about single topic esoterica, comes the newest, perhaps most important book: Foot Odor: The Complete History.

Author Mark Farklansky, whose books about Flour and Glue revealed the untold stories of these common products, has really outdone himself here with a mesmerizing account of where foot odor came from and its impact on world history.

Gadling: Foot Odor, A History

Pangaea is one of the more difficult places to reach on this planet, but also one of the most rewarding. I was therefore pleased to discover that Old World Travels has just announced a two-week tour of this fascinating region which leaves later this month. An April trip is perfect timing because springtime in Pangaea is indeed wonderful. Plants and animals are slowly blossoming to life and every day seems so very fresh and new. I’ve never been myself, but this is indeed the Old Country from where my ancestors, in one form or another, originally heralded.

Gadling: Springtime in Pangaea

Here's an odd one: The Nepalese government wants to make it easier, much easier, for people to climb towering Mount Everest. Turns out they are planning to build a working, electric escalator that will carry people from base camp to the summit in less than an hour. The engineering effort is being put in the hands of the Japanese, in a serious political snub to the Chinese who had also bid on the project. The proposed escalator will be approximately fifteen miles long and will rise and fall with the jagged gradations of the mountain. It will move approximately five miles an hour and will offer superb views of the surrounding Himalayas. There will be rest stops, as well, built into the structure, that will allow riders to stop for tea or snacks. For children who grow easily bored by gaping mountain vistas, they are planning to offer portable DVD players and a wide selection of films.

Gadling: Nepalese Plan Everescalator

Mark Burnett Productions has just announced a new travel themed reality show to be carried by FOX next season. The concept, tentatively titled Long Pigs, combines the successful themes of two other hit reality shows; Survivor and The Surreal Life. Long Pigs stars a cast of B-level celebrities who have to share a yurt in the barren Gobi desert with a tribe of Korowai cannibals from southeastern Papua for 40 days.

The cast will have to rely on finely honed outdoor skills to survive as the only food provided are salt and pepper, a barrel of wine reduction basting sauce, and a three day’s supply of Fig Newtons (the show is sponsored by the cookie company

Gadling: New Mark Burnett Reality Show

If you enjoy the outdoors and getting back to nature, you’re going to be downright feral over one of the hottest new trends in adventure travel. Forget expensive Gortex and metal ice axes, we’re talking pre-bronze age here. Yes, everyone is abuzz about the new hunter-gatherer parks that are sprouting up around the country, as well as in other parts of the world.

Gadling: Hunter-Gatherer Parks

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