I love the Lonely Planet books for many reasons. They are bound beautifully, they have lovely pictures and they are dense with all the facts you need to know about the subject concerned. The Vanlife Companion ticks all three boxes.
The three headings in the contents page set the reader up for the journey ahead. Under the first, ‘Welcome to Vanlife,’ there is information for those adventurers who are contemplating buying and setting up a vehicle. Then ten vanlifers are interviewed. Each has a different vehicle and all aspects of their lives are covered as they travel the highways and byways. At the end of each section the travellers are asked the same five questions regarding the conversion, the things they experienced during their travels, both good and unexpected, their further plans for the van and their three top tips for vanlife. Accompanying photographs add further depth to their stories.
And then there are the journeys themselves, the icing on the cake. Twelve countries and twenty routes are covered in the usual exacting detail which is a hallmark of Lonely Planet books. Two routes are in New Zealand, one in each island. Using the Southern Alps circuit as an example of how each route is described, there is a detailed map of the route, its starting point and each of the following fifteen points of interest marked. A description is given of what is to be found at each point, how long it might take to travel between each one as well as a short account of the history of the region around it. And, of course, the ubiquitous, glorious photos.
Other routes are in Australia, Nepal, West Africa, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Chile, Argentina and the USA. An index at the back of the book makes it easy to look up any particular route or place.
Did I mention that I love such books from Lonely Planet? They make great gifts too, if you can bear to part with them.
Reviewed by Lesley Vlietstra
The Vanlife Companion
by Lonely Planet