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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Destination Earth: A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler is a nonfiction travel reference guide written by Nicos Hadjicostis. Bored with his everyday life, the author set off to discover the world, a continuous voyage that took him 6.5 years to complete and allowed him to discover the peoples and experience the cultures of 70 countries on six continents. This journey was to be a learning experience for Hadjicostis, who had no way of knowing quite how intensive and illuminating becoming a world-traveler could be. While carefully planning his routes, both in-country and in preparation for the next destination, Hadjicostis worked a flexibility into his travel scheme, allowing for both the serendipitous and the mundane. Extra time would be allotted, as necessary, to further study places of significance or take opportunities to interact with the native people he was visiting in a fuller capacity. Other situations demanded times of rest, a day or more depending upon the intensity of the journey at that point. His experiences as a world-traveler showed him a world that could be seen as simply one large country comprising the entire earth and its occupants, as well as an infinitely varied cosmos where all of the marvels of the universe would be revealed to the patient and intrepid explorer.
Hadjicostis includes a sample Around-The-World Journey plan based upon his experiences and philosophy in his first Addendum. He sets out the factors that he based his decisions on in selecting the countries to be highlighted, including geographical features, size, history and culture. He uses those factors to describe a sample exploration of Europe based on the core countries selected, as well as selected portions of other countries to be included as well. Natural wonders, events and festivals are also included in the planning stages. His second addendum, A Glimpse into the Actual Days of a World-Traveler, illustrates how a long-term traveler’s time is spent on “actual travel, the day-to-day and long-term planning, study, errands and rest stops.”
I’ve long been a dedicated armchair traveler and was intrigued by Nicos Hadjicostis’ challenge to take that interest in world travel and turn it into something infinitely more personal, alive and vital. Destination Earth does just that. I particularly enjoyed the interspersed nature of his book which alternates his main narrative with a selection of essays on particular places or his experiences on the road. His premise, that “we are all extraterrestrials on earth” is an attractive and compelling one, and his accounts of how he interacted with the land, its peoples and their cultures are fascinating. The author also offers plenty of practical advice and knowledge for those who would shrug off the armchairs and vicarious experiences of other places via documentaries and travel books and experience the thrill of the unknown for themselves. His narrative is beautifully written, and his subject, the world, lovingly explored and shared with the reader. Destination Earth: A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler is most highly recommended.