Atlas Obscura Is a Must-Have for Every Botanist-Traveler

By their very nature, the vast majority of travel guides are dry books filled with boring (but useful) information. Atlas Obscura: A Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders , a new book created by the creators of the website of the same name avoids this approach as it is a travel book that serves more as a travel inspiration rather than a guide to how to behave one day. you get there.

This is part of the Lifehacker book review series . Not all life hacks can be described on a blog, so we decided to look at some of our favorite life changing books to dive deeper into the most important topics in life.

Atlas Obscura is a website founded by writers Joshua Foer and Dylan Turas. Since its launch, the site has grown into a huge repository of weird and wonderful places around the world, created by users. Personally, this site has long been my first destination after booking a vacation and took me to an abandoned amusement park , a cat art museum, and ( more than one ) DIY castle . This book has collected the best of these passages, but provided a little more context for each.

Who is this book for?

Atlas Obscura is for everyone who loves to travel, wants to travel and who generally enjoys it when they travel off the beaten path. If the idea of ​​visiting something called the Gate of Hell in Turkmenistan, or the eternal thunderstorm in Venezuela seems more interesting to you than the tourist trap museum three blocks from the chain hotel that houses Applebee’s, then Atlas Obscura is the travel guide you’ve been looking for for so long.

The book is for people who prefer to live like a local, travel , seek new cultures on vacation, or simply prefer the strangeness of history to traditional book pursuits. Even if you can’t travel, Atlas Obscura is a window to places you never knew existed.

What do you get

Atlas Obscura is a travelbook equivalent to a cabinet of curiosities that proves that no matter how much we think we know about the world, there are many places and ideas that surprise us. It is a window to places you have never heard of, possibly to countries you never knew existed. The book is filled with hundreds of records of various strange places around the world, from haunted artifacts in Connecticut to the world’s largest escalator in China (which is also dragon-shaped).

The book is divided by country and region, then the best places in each region are given a short entry describing why they are worth visiting. Each entry includes several paragraphs about the history of the point of interest and destinations, and then moves on to the next. It mimics what you find on the website, but is organized cleanly and contains additional detail when it makes sense. For example, there is a sidebar about the various automatic machines in history next to the entry for the Silver Swan , a life-size clockwork machine that is in the Boes Museum in England. This continues throughout the book, adding flavor and visuals as needed. Atlas Obscura is a book with fantastic designs, vibrant graphics, full color photographs and a ton of information crammed into it.

One trick you won’t succeed

One of the best tricks you’ll learn here is the tiny bit of text at the end of most entries: directions. If getting to a place is even remotely difficult, Atlas Obscura will tell you how to get there. It also does not mean using Google Maps, it means finding the best mode of transportation for each location. For example, at the entrance to the Wagah border ceremony in India, you will learn that you can take a round trip taxi from Amritsar and the driver will wait while you attend the ceremony. To enter the Ponte City Apartments Johannesburg, they recommend visiting Dlala Nies, the community center at the foot of the tower, for a full guided tour. If you want to visit the Polish Crooked Forest , it is best to take the train that departs from Szczecin.

The main trick here is that the further you stray off the beaten path, the more you learn about how to get around in general. The best way to get from point A to point B is different for each city, and the further you go on the beaten track, the more you need to understand the infrastructure of the city.

Our opinion

Since you can’t package an entire website as massive as Atlas Obscura into a book, the print version works both as “best of” and as a source of inspiration. This is the perfect coffee table book. You can take it, open a random page and suddenly find yourself in a new place. There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself looking for airfare for your next vacation, dreaming of a country you didn’t hear about 10 minutes ago, or wondering how the hell you missed out on the fact that there is a Rabbit Museum. a few blocks from your home.

Atlas Obscura reminds you that your hometown is likely filled with wonderful places that you never bothered to visit. Not every vacation can be spent in a distant country or overseas. Sometimes all you have the time or money for is a quick overnight ride. Atlas Obscura provides as much inspiration for the quest for oddities as it does all over the world.

For me, this book is a great source of inspiration for thinking about where to go next. Although the book is organized by region, it is so easy to open it on a random page that I cannot imagine reading it in a linear fashion. Fortunately, the authors don’t overdo it with the recordings. They know how much to write and how many images to use, so when you arrive in the real world one day, you won’t feel like they messed things up. This is a balance that is difficult to achieve and is often violated by other guidebooks.

The Atlas Obscura website is my favorite place to look after I arrive at my destination. Atlas Obscura is now my favorite place to find inspiration in where to turn to first.


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