Well, I’d forgotten all about that. But in yesterday’s mail, I got two copies of Travellers Vancouver & British Columbia. The cover credit still goes to the original writer but whaddaya know? That’s my name on the flyleaf. And somehow, it’s even more fun to flip through the images and say, “Hey, I took that picture!” Or, in some cases, to J, “Hey, you took that picture!”
We’ve done all of our previous work under my byline – J wasn’t physically present to sign the contracts and he shuns the spotlight, but his photos made the cut more often than mine for the Hawaii guide we have coming out under the same label. Next time, he’s signing the paperwork, too. It’s interesting to see what makes the cut – they’re not the photos I’d pick. That tells you how much I don’t know about commercial publishing.
And what do I think of the book? I have a love/leave relationship with guidebooks. I’m a big fan of them forÂ armchair reading and planning. And I do like to read the background sections while I’m traveling – the history and culture overviews tend to be useful if sometimes a bit shallow – they do help you get the big picture.
But it’s the big picture I like guidebooks for only. A lot of space is dedicated to restaurants, hotels, details details details, and that’s the stuff I like to get on the ground. I prefer locals, fellow travelers, and the web for advice. Guidebooks are imminently fallible and they’re out of date so quickly – the long production lead time ensures that the cafe you loved has moved or closed, the hotel rates skyrocketed, the airlines gone out of business… any number of things can change in the nine months it takes to create a guidebook.
So sure, you could go ahead and get this one if you’re off to BC. But don’t rely on it alone. Oh, and if you’re going to go, go in August or September, the best time of year on this part of the planet. And go to Nelson. And camp in Burton. And spend a day at the hot springs in Harrison. And and and… see what I mean?
Live advice. It’s got something on guidebooks.