Since 1888, National Geographic has reminded readers that it truly is a small world afterall. The rapid spread of Coronavirus is a reminder of how closely linked we all truly are and while the world may feel closed today, that won’t be the case forever. One of National Geographic’s recent book releases, Epic Journeys: 245 Life-Changing Adventures, was a nice reminder of the diverse locations and cultures that are out there waiting to greet you when it’s safe to travel again.
If you’re like me, you’re already dreaming up your next vacation. Whether it’s months or years away, I always find it helpful to have a trip somewhere on the horizon to look forward to. Epic Journeys divides the world into seven regions and offers itineraries, must-see experiences, and resources to help you plan your next adventure. Maybe you don’t know where you want to go yet, which is where reading the book cover-to-cover comes in handy.
As a Disney fan, I have a dream of visiting all of the Disney Parks around the world. You won’t find them in this book, but you will find some nearby places that could help you add-on some local culture to your trip. Heading to Disneyland? Take a look at Baja California (page 328) or a road trip to Yosemite (page 332) along historic State Route 1. Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Everglades National Park (page 340) ranks second on Nat Geo’s “Top 10 Adventures in National Parks” list.
What about a dream vacation to Europe to visit Disneyland Paris? You might want to spend a day or two in the city of love before or after hitting the parks, but you could also get off the beaten path with a hike through provence (page 132) or visit three countries at once (France, Italy, Switzerland) on a hiking tour of Mont Blanc (page 134), number five on the list of “Top 10 Adventures for Hiking Through Europe.”
Asia has three Disney destinations to choose from. Planning an escape to Tokyo Disneyland? You could go spelunking in Tokyo’s hidden caves (page 224), visit the island nation’s iconic mountains, Mount Fuji and the Japanese Alps (page 190), or take the high speed Shinkansen train to explore Kyoto and Osaka (page 228). Going to Hong Kong Disneyland? There’s a whole section on the island city (page 258) and you can also consider nearby Guangdong, the “Silicon Valley of southeastern China with some incredible sights to see (page 194). It’s a bit of a distance, but the Great Wall of China in Beijing is four hours away from Shanghai Disneyland by high speed train and is number one on the list of the “Top 10 Adventures to See Places Before They Disappear.”
Maybe you want to see the real-life places that inspired some of your favorite Disney films and theme parks. Borneo is described as a “Real-world Zootopia” and is also home to the tarsier, “Looking like something out of Star Wars.” Visit the home of Cuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove in Peru (page 30), chart your own African safari through several countries (pages 86-103), bike and hike through Lilo’s Hawaii (page 296), or visit the Enchanted Forest from Frozen 2 in Iceland (page 118). Or maybe you just want to see Europe in the most Walt Disney way possible by choosing a destination on the “Top 10 Adventures for Train Trips Across Europe” list (page 130).
We may not be traveling any great distances in the immediate future, but this is all temporary and there’s no better way to feel that then by starting to plan your next great vacation. Epic Journeys: 245 Life-Changing Adventures is a great resource guide to help you choose a destination and discover the incredible things you can do there. It provides great tips to ensure you have the best weather and least amount of crowds during your visit and even provides some online resources, which occasionally include National Geographic Expeditions, their own guided tours through some of the world’s most exotic destinations.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.