‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’ – Henry Miller.
In 1978, an unemployed teacher who goes under the name of William Least Heat-Moon travelled around America in a green Ford van, sticking wherever possible to the back roads, and always on the lookout for bizarrely named places. He chatted with and photographed a succession of ordinary people that he ran into in the course of his travels, making Blue Highways an exploration into the heart of America rather than a simple travelogue.
Following the publication of Blue Highways, Least Heat-Moon spent extended periods of time during the 1980s in Chase County, Kansas, a dot in the geographical centre of the US. Investigating it from every angle, he produced an uncategorisable non-fiction book that is twice the length of its predecessor.
THE LONELY PLANET GUIDE TO EXPERIMENTAL TRAVEL
What do you do when it sometimes seems as though every corner of the world has been colonised by tourists? The answer is experimental tourism, where instead of travelling to radically different places, the idea is to visit other places and experience them in a radically different way.
In 1990, a French scriptwriter named Joel Henry founded the Laboratory of Experimental Tourism (Latourex), all members of which were given the honorary title of Secretary-General. Influenced by Dada and Surrealism, suggested experimental tourist practices include taking photos in the opposite direction from iconic landmarks, and travelling using vintage guidebooks.
Online at http://www.atlasobscura.com, this website is a treasure trove of unusual, interesting, oddball or macabre destinations around the world. The number of Australian attractions has recently multiplied, and fortunately it now extends far beyond our extensive trove of ‘big things.’