Our latest title, Everyday Adventures, contains a series of fun challenges and activities to try in your hometown such as a zero budget day out and following your senses. We chatted with the illustrator Alice Bowsher on how she created the fun, doodle-style drawings that accompany each activity and the personal challenges that come with illustrating an entire book.
Tell us about the brief
The brief was to create illustrations that bring the Everyday Adventures tasks and challenges to life. I read through all of the challenges and came up with sketches for each whilst keeping it fun and simple!
How did you make a start?
I started by drawing quick sketches using a fine liner pen. I start all of my roughs this way as it's a quick and easy way to get ideas on paper. I only sketched one or two roughs for each task and once they were approved I painted them using brush and ink and then scanned them into Photoshop to neaten them up before sending the final image.
Were there any challenges?
It was an extremely smooth project actually – the only challenge was that there were so many illustrations. Organisation is not one of my strong points, so this project taught me the importance of having a good filing system... Very boring, but very important!
What’s the one item in your studio you can’t live without?
My books. I know that's not strictly one item but a collection of books counts as one item, right? My books are a great reference and often save me from getting stuck in an internet black hole watching hamsters eat tiny meals. My favourites (books – not hamsters) are currently The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, Brands with Character and A Smile In The Mind.
How did you get into illustrating books?
By accident! I've always liked drawing for myself but never really thought it could be a viable career choice. I thought I would work in fashion but ended up studying Fine Art at Bath Spa University. As soon as the course started I realised it wasn’t going to work out for me so I switched to Graphic Communication, where I muddled my way through type and font projects for a year until we started working on image-based work. I had a great tutor who spotted my drawings in the margins of pages and encouraged me to draw for projects and that's where it all started. I love illustrating books, they are always my favourite projects to work on.
The stupas strung with prayer flags, snow-streaked slopes of the mountains and thin air of the Kunzum La pass stole our breath away – literally, given the altitude of over 15,000ft – but it also stimulated our appetite.
Halfway through the slow, winding descent into Lahaul, India, our guide stopped his battered Land Rover at a mud-brick house topped with rusty sheets of corrugated steel. Filled with the scent of spices sizzling in ghee, this rustic abode doubled as a roadside restaurant – or, at least, the only place for miles around serving food to passersby.
The menu was familiar: dal, versions of which we’d eaten perhaps a dozen times on the Kinnaur-Spiti loop, a detour en route to our destination, Ladakh. Remarkably, the dish never palled on the palate – and this particular example, served as we sat on a threadbare sofa in the cook’s front room, remains arguably the best food experience of my travels to date.
Food = culture
‘Arguably’ is important in that sentence; ranking the best food experiences we’ve had on our adventures is a regular pastime in our house, as it is in the homes of many other people, I imagine. And with good reason. Food, as is often said, reflects culture – so no wonder it’s such an important part of a trip for anyone with a genuine interest in the people they meet and the places they go.
There’s even more to it than that, though: food also anchors itself in the mind in a way that other experiences do not, allowing us to recall a special meal in detail long after other events start to lose definition. (Perhaps this is because our most primal sense, smell – which combines with taste and touch to produce flavour – plays a major role in memory.)
Eating dal in India features on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist, a rundown of the world’s top 500 food experiences, so it’s not just me who has found greatness in this humble dish (globetrotting foodies from far and wide nominated their favourite experiences, which were ranked by a panel of experts).
You won’t find any of the world’s 50 best restaurants in the list, however terrific they are; in fact, in some ways, these experiences occupy the other end of a culinary spectrum that does not run from good to bad, but from formal to informal, stage-managed to spontaneous, and repeatable to unpredictable.
For all the flair and skill on display, there is, indeed there has to be, a uniformity about restaurants reaching for a Michelin star; without it, such a rating system could not exist. Few, if any, punters would pay the premium for haute cuisine without a guarantee of quality, which is what such awards represent.
And then, of course, there is the social dimension. You’re far less likely to chat with a stranger at the next table in a place where you reserved a seat weeks or months in advance, but you have plenty of opportunity for such casual interaction while queuing for a popular street stall or fabled food truck.
Grass-roots eating experiences like these often turn out to be the proving grounds for the Next Big Thing. They test dishes that sometimes catch on, evolve into staples of a local, regional or national cuisine, and are then transformed, deconstructed – or, if you’re cynical, merely repackaged – for the enjoyment of fine diners. Think of the upward mobility of tapas, ceviche, bibimbap.
Michelin acknowledges as much by awarding an increasing number of Bib Gourmands – accolades which recognise places selling good food at keen prices – to street stalls. And you can also see how one end of the spectrum influences the other in that hallowed haunt of foodies, San Sebastián.
Eating pinxtos in its backstreet bars is, in Lonely Planet’s estimation, the world’s best food experience. And you can bet your bottom dollar – or euro, perhaps – that these small, simple snacks are getting a molecular gastronomic makeover at Mugaritz and Arzak, both of which feature among the world’s top 50 restaurants.
I’d love to sample the bold creations on offer there, should I ever get sufficiently organised to snag a table and save enough cash to pay the bill. In the meantime, however, it’s heartening to know that the best food experiences are anything but exclusive. In fact, you might find one in the most democratic of surroundings – a locals’ favourite, a street corner or a roadside shack.
The fall edition of Lonely Planet Magazine (US) is now on news-stands nationwide! Find the perfect barbecued ribs in Memphis, make the most of $150 in Miami or venture to the likes of Borneo or Varanasi – all within 116 colorful pages.
Every issue of Lonely Planet magazine includes cut-out-and-keep destination guides to inspire and inform your next trip. Here you can download our latest selection, focused on the cities of Rome, Austin and Chicago, for free!
Savor the flavors of Rome
The Eternal City’s streets and piazzas teem with trattorias, ristorantes, pizzerias and wine bars. Eat and drink your way around Rome, and if you feel overwhelmed by the choices, make use of the menu decoder in this guide.
Good times in Austin
A big city with a small-town heart, the Texas capital is packed with great music, culinary prowess and a sociable streak that’s impossible to resist. Check out these places where Austinites go to unwind.
Food & drink in Chicago
There’s more to Chicago cuisine than hot dogs and deep-dish pizza. In fact, the Windy City is one of America’s best – if not the best – food cities right now. After you’ve had your fill of Chicago’s signature specialties, try out some of the city’s most exciting restaurants and bars.
UK resident? We also have a UK magazine. Learn more about it at lonelyplanet.com/magazine.
Our latest competition called for intrepid ramblers to share their epic hikes with us on Instagram. Entrants had the chance to win a bundle of goodies from Duluth Pack and Hydro Flask, as well as a copy of our new book, Epic Hikes of the World.
Five first-prize winners
Sunrise at Torres del Paine, Chile
Palisade Head, Minnesota, USA
Pacific Northwest, USA
Follow @lonelyplanet for more Instagram inspiration.
Tell us more… My family and I were in Venice celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday. It was my first time visiting in over 10 years and there was so much to see and rediscover. As it was a short weekend break, we decided to stay centrally in the San Marco district, in-between two of its most famous sites – the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco.
In a nutshell… Venice is a remarkable city, built on over 100 small islands within a lagoon in the Adriatic sea, in the north-eastern corner of Italy. There are no roads, only waterways and people have to get around on foot or by boat. You may have seen Venice a thousand times on a postcard, but the warren of streets, canals and marble facades never ceases to surprise you.
You’d be a muppet to miss… The stunning Piazza San Marco. It’s worth getting there early to soak up the sights before the crowds show up. There’s nothing quite like walking between the piazza columns, and gazing upon the domes of St Mark's Basilica for the first, or the hundredth time; the gold leaf glinting in the sunlight and the Campanile towering above you, where Galileo once stood peering through his telescope. If you’re there in the evening, the piazza fills with classical melodies as musicians take to the floor.
If you do one thing… Get lost! I know it’s a cliché but it really is the best way to explore Venice. It’s a maze of tight alleys and small bridges leading you back and forth over canals as gondolas glide beneath. I loved slowly meandering along the narrow passageways, browsing in shop windows. You can get wonderfully disorientated, but look up and helpful Venetians have put up various signs directing you to either the Rialto or Piazza San Marco – so you're never truly lost.
Fave activity… One of the highlights of our trip was taking a sunset gondola ride. It may seem like a very touristy thing to do, but it gives you a wonderful perspective of the city from the water that you can't get from walking. Venice really starts to make sense as you bob slowly along the canals, following watery routes traders and their goods have navigated for generations.
We floated under the magnificent Rialto Bridge whilst taking in the sights of the Grand Canal before heading into the warren of narrow waterways. The Gondoliers will regale you with the history of Venice and facts about their gondolas as you drift along – you may even be treated to a song or two!
Good grub? I went on a mission in search of cicchetti, traditional Venetian tapas while I was in Venice. I'd read about these tasty small snacks that locals tend to have mid-morning or in the early evening with a glass of local wine. They cost between €1- €2.50 each and are served throughout the day at traditional bacari (wine bars). Common examples are polpette (Italian meatballs) and baccalà (creamed cod) on bite-size crostini.
Watch the interview
Want more behind-the-scenes adventures? Find out what Associate Product Director Angela Tinson got up to on her recent trip to Nepal.
The September issue of Lonely Planet Magazine (UK) is out now! And it is packed with potential trip ideas and inspiration, including 40 bucket-list experiences, a Great Escape to Ibiza and the ultimate wildlife spectacle: East Africa’s Great Migration.
Get a slice of the action with our free mini-guides, available to download right here.
Best of County Kerry
For a taste of iconic Ireland, County Kerry has surf-pounded sea cliffs, emerald-green farmland and wild countryside. Also try out our day-trip guide to the Gap of Dunloe, exploring by bike, boat or horse-drawn cart.
Bars in Lisbon
Cobbled, red-tiled Lisbon is home to an ever-thriving bar scene: from rooftop bars to underground speakeasies, this list navigates the Portuguese capital’s best spots to enjoy a couple of drinks.
Tokyo: three ways
Tokyo’s futuristic streetscapes also contain historical alleys, raucous traditional festivals and lantern-lit yakitori (grilled chicken) stands of yore. See the best of the old city on our guided walk of Asakusa district.
Outdoors in the Florida Keys
Sandbar islands, turquoise water and deep green mangroves: the Florida Keys is ideally equipped for wonderful outdoor experiences. This guide picks out the best activities at the Sunshine State’s south tip.
Want more freebies? Check out last month’s mini-guides.
Find Lonely Planet Magazine in UK shops and newsagents, digitally on iTunes, Google Play and Zinio, or subscribe from anywhere at lonelyplanet.com/magazine.
US resident? We also have a US magazine. Learn more about it at lonelyplanet.com/usmagazine
Every month, we curate the best blog posts, videos and Instagrams from our Lonely Planet Pathfinders. This month we’ve got a double instalment of their best videos, as we feature our top picks from June and July.
‘Mauritius surprised me in so many ways; the island has so much more than just beautiful beaches to offer. From lush hiking routes that lead to hidden waterfalls, to fascinating tea plantations and fun rum distilleries, Mauritius blew me away!’
So many reasons to visit Mauritius - Dan Flying Solo
Why we like it: It’s great to see a destination challenging perspectives and Dan’s action-packed video certainly shows viewers just how much there is to do and see in Mauritius beyond the beaches. Dan has creatively pieced together a wide variety of footage in this montage (we can only imagine the reels of footage he returned home with!) creating one fast-paced, exciting look at this inviting island.
‘It’s about the journey, not the destination – a saying that has never rung truer for me than when I was travelling through Vietnam. My trusty road warrior Charlie and I embarked on a 5500km drive through the country, covering its lush countryside, iconic sights and lively cities. We had the ride of a lifetime.’
The great ride, Vietnam - Mark Hadj Hamou
Why we like it: From big landscapes and sweeping drone footage to a timelapse of the bustling cityscape, this video paints a vivid picture of Vietnam. Mark has also found some exciting creative ways to transition from segment to segment, such as the animated Vietnamese dong note coming alive (at 01:36) which helps guide the viewer through each part of his trip.
Keep your eyes peeled on our Thorn Tree forum where we’ll post the next submission call-out. Find out what else our Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to by checking out the Pathfinders video playlist and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
We at Lonely Planet love that our fans and followers are as itchy-footed as we are – and often jaw-droppingly well travelled. So what to do once the latest jaunt is over? Share it with your fellow community of globetrotters of course!
Here are some of the best stories from our Trips app to inspire your next adventure.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Need to see it to believe it? See Lauren’s Trip.
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
Driving around 500km from New Delhi, Ashray Sachdeva discovers a lesser-known highlight of India.
Intrigued? See Ashray’s Trip.
Road trip in Romania
Providing a step-by-step guide to exploring Romania by car, Jorge Oliveira packed a lot in to his trip!
Ready to get behind the wheel? See Jorge’s Trip.
Mexico: in the footsteps of the Maya
The Yucatán Peninsula is packed with historical sites and pristine beaches. Kevin Willems shares his favourite bits.
Want to retrace his steps? See Kevin’s Trip.
From Whitehorse, YT to Vancouver, BC
Hot springs, lake views, bear spotting… Matt Stone recalls an RV road trip in Canada.
Love getting into the wild? See Matt’s Trip.
Road-tripping around Tunisia’s Cap Bon
Lonely Planet’s destination editor for the Middle East and North Africa Lauren Keith is just back from a stint authoring in Tunisia – here’s what she got up to.
Want a sneak peek at the life of a travel writer? See Lauren’s Trip.
Hiking in Greenland
A hike in Greenland reveals glaciers, fjords and phenomenal scenery to Michael Kragelund.
Think ice looks nice? See Michael’s Trip.
Exploring Brazil: Região dos Lagos
There’s more to Rio’s beaches than Copacabana. Caroline Feital investigates...
Like sun, sea and sand? See Caroline’s Trip.
Want to get involved? Explore every day with Trips by Lonely Planet. Share your trip with us on Twitter with the hashtag #lptrips.
Our Insta-savvy Pathfinders truly outdid themselves in the month of July, schooling us all in the art of expertly framing and capturing all manner of dramatic vistas in every corner of the globe. From the misty mountains of the Andes to the balloon-strewn horizon of Cappadocia, here are the Instagrams that had us at hello.
'Whilst trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, on the fourth day we had already reached 3700m. It made me feel quite sick, and I struggled to sleep that night. Although this made the ascent really difficult, the night also brought maybe the best views of the whole circuit – full moon, Annapurna and the temples of the small town of Ghyaru. It was a tough night, but that didn't stop me from capturing the moment.' – Javi, @javilorbada
Why we like it: Apart from the incredible sense of perspective that Javi has captured in this frame, the unusual lighting adds lashings of drama. The mountaintops shrouded in cloud and the vibrant blue roof split the image into thirds, with the top section filled beautifully by a perfect, starry sky. This is a skilful composition and unique snapshot of a well-trodden hiking circuit.
Machu Picchu, Peru
'I woke up early to capture Machu Picchu in the morning before the ancient citadel became too crowded with tourists. I hiked to the viewing platform, set up my shot of the majestic Machu Picchu shrouded in mist, and just as I was about to take the photo, a curious local llama pops out of nowhere!' – Eddie, @portmanteau_press
Why we like it: What's not to like!? This llama's expression more than conveys his irreverent intrusion into Eddie's otherwise perfect capture of the world-renowned Machu Picchu. Despite presumably having only a few seconds to grab this shot, Eddie has managed to achieve razor-sharp focus on both the Incan ruins and the woolly star of the show himself. This is a great example of a photobomb gone right!
'Cappadocia is famous for its stunning mornings, and is one of the best hot-air ballooning destinations in the world. During my one-month stay in this beautiful region, I was able to enjoy several unforgettable morning moments, while trying to find the most special hidden spots, away from the crowds.' – Joao, @joaoleitaoviagens
Why we like it: Fairytale landscapes, a skyline dotted with brightly-hued balloons and dramatic sunrises – Cappadocia has all the ingredients for Instagram gold. However, Joao has managed to take his capture to the next level, expertly framed by lush foliage and with the rising sun adding a romantic, golden hue.
'Multnomah Falls is a beautiful waterfall in the state of Oregon. Located just a short hike from the parking lot, this waterfall is recognizable thanks to the signature bridge that crosses in front of it.' – Nick, @berealtravel
Why we like it: Nick's image is beautifully framed – simple, but effective. His use of slow shutter-speed to capture the soft flow of the cascading water draws the eye directly through the centre of the shot, all brought into focus by the gathering onlookers on the bridge, who also add a sense of scale to the overall composition.
'Jodhpur – the Blue City. We spotted a vantage point from our guest house that looked like the perfect spot to watch the sunset. After hours of searching and getting lost in a maze of alleyways, gravel, dirt and rocks climbing up the cliffside, we finally made it to the perfect point, and what a sight it was: a 360° view of Jodhpur as the sun started to set and the sky turned golden. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end my time in India.' – Mark, @pr4w
Why we like it: Mark's clever use of light and colour in this image has a truly magical effect. A confluence of blue hues, this rooftop scene is unmistakably Jodhpur, but somehow seen through fresh eyes. The setting sun framed in the rough centre of the image creates a hazy focal point, set against the sharply focused buildings and figure in the foreground.
Follow @lonelyplanet for more Instagram inspiration.
The wind in your hair, the ocean stretching out before you, the sound of an enormous engine chugging away in the background… Cruising can be a divisive travel style; it is undeniably an efficient and cost-effective way to visit numerous destinations, but can equally be criticised for not allowing for an authentic enough experience of each.
In order to help cruise-goers get the most out of the destinations they visit en route, our newest series, Cruise Ports, comprises a range of handbooks for popular cruising itineraries that get straight to the heart of a destination and its attractions for perfect days on shore.
To celebrate, we’ll be hosting a Twitter chat dedicated to discussing all things cruise-related. There’ll be inspiration, ideas and stories about cruising the world’s oceans, rivers and seas – bring your best ones, and meet us on Twitter at 16:30 BST/ 8:30 PDT on Wednesday 15 August. See you there!
The best tweeter will win themselves a copy of the Cruise Ports handbook of their choice.
How do I take part?
1. Follow @lonelyplanet and the hashtag #lpchat on Twitter on Wednesday 15 August at 16:30 BST / 8:30 PDT.
2. Questions will be ordered Q1, Q2, Q3 etc. To answer Q1, begin your tweet with A1. For Q2, A2 and so on.
3. Add #lpchat to all of your tweets during the Twitter chat, so others (including @lonelyplanet) can see what you’re saying
4. Bring your best travel tips, pics and ideas!
Meet our co-hosts
Caz of ytravelblog.com
Caz travels the world with her husband Craig and two young girls, seeking adventure and new experiences every day. The family have experienced cruising in the Western Caribbean, Mexico, and the Pacific Islands on different cruise lines.
Jayne of girltweetsworld.com
Jayne blogs about all things affordable luxury travel. Jayne's first cruise experience was in the South Pacific, where she visited Castaway islands in New Caledonia and snorkelled some of the most pristine reef she'd ever seen. More recently Jayne cruised around Russia and Scandinavia, enjoying history, art and more than a few cinnamon buns!
Abi of insidethetravellab.com
Abi shares her tales of thoughtful, luxury travelling, now with a young daughter in tow, through her successful blog. As an avid fan of small ship cruises, Abi has glided through the waters of Alaska, Vietnam and the Galapagos in search of adventure and a comfy place to sleep. She knows first-hand how different it is to see the world from the waves – and what to do should seasickness appear…
Terms & Conditions: Entrants must be 13 years old or over. Judges’ decision is final. Promoter: Lonely Planet Publications Ltd of 240 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NW. The winner will be notified via direct message on Twitter. The winner must claim their prize and provide an address for delivery within seven days of being notified, otherwise the judges may select another winner. Prize: one copy of a Cruise Ports series book at £14.99/$19.99