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Book Review: Make the Most of Your Time on Earth by Rough Guides

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It may be March but the year is still young, especially for planning your next big foreign adventure. With that in mind, check out Make the Most of Your Time on Earth: A Rough Guide to the World, the newish guide to (you guessed it) our home planet.

The book contains "1000 ultimate travel experiences" gathered by Rough Guide writers over the 25 years the travel series has been published. Any "best of" compendium (travel or otherwise) can get tiresome after awhile, but this mammoth book has a couple important things going for it: First, the title is pretty awesome. Anything so audacious deserves some serious attention. Second, the book is filled with big, alluring photos, from the incredibly green waters off a Greek island to the Taj by moonlight.

The world is broken up into logical enough sections — Scandinavia, South America, the Polar Regions — with each travel experience lightly described in several paragraphs. The writing varies in style and quality (description of a truffle: "Part nutty, part mushroomy, part sweaty sock, the subtle but insistent flavour of this subterranean fungus nevertheless inspires something approaching gastronomic hysteria among its army of admirers"), but that's not why you're reading.

Instead, daydream of riding among the "fabulously ornate stations" of the Moscow metro, snorkeling in a huge "fissure crack" near Iceland, or traveling across the Sahara by motorbike. Stumble across someplace you have already been — the waterways of Xochimilco in Mexico City, for example — and smile to yourself. Or satisfy your thirst for quirky factoids of geography, language and culture, especially in the "Miscellany" pages.

But most of all, be awed by the immense variety of the world outside of your everyday life — and start making those travel plans more definite.

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About Edward B. Colby