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"Down to earth, accurate information for every budget, enthusiastically written." -- Travel and Leisure --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Simon Richmond's first gig for Lonely Planet was on the Kazakhstan chapter of their Central Asia guide. Having recently completed two books on adventure travel in Southeast Asia and South America, where he had, among other things, learnt to dive, hacked his way through dense jungles, paddled furiously along rapid rivers, climbed snow-covered, smoldering volcanoes and mountain-biked down perilously steep tracks, the British-born writer and photographer felt prepared to tackle a country more of interest to mountaineers and oil prospectors than your average backpacker or package tourist. A decade and a half earlier, Simon had honed his writing skills as a young journalist with 'Which?' before heading east to Tokyo with the vague idea that this hyper-kinetic city would be more inspiring than life insurance, tax thresholds, Euro MPs, and health food, all topics he'd researched for the UK consumer advice magazine. He spent two and a half years in Japan learning the language and working as an editor and writer for a major financial news organization on content that was drier than the Gobi, and only marginally more interesting. At the same time he travelled Japan (later co-writing an award-winning guidebook to the country, as well as to Tokyo) and Asia, scribbling notes and storing away ideas for travel features. He first came to live in Sydney in 1994 on a year-long working holiday visa and quickly found the local media snapping up those stories. Entranced by the country he moved back permanently in 1998 and joined Lonely Planet's merry band of authors a year later. Among the many titles he has since worked on his favourites include Russia & Belarus, Trans-Siberian Railway, Cape Town and the first - and only - edition of Istanbul to Kathmandu. His travel features have been published in newspapers and magazines around the world, including in the UK's Independent, Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph and Royal Geographical Society Magazine; and Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Australian Financial Review Magazine and Vogue Entertaining + Travel. He's presented a travel documentary on Japan for BBC's Radio 4 and his blogs on St Petersburg and traveling the Trans-Mongolian route through Russia, China and Mongolia can be read here. Sydney, his adopted home, is his favourite place. His travel tip is one he seldom follows himself: leave at least half of what you've packed at home!