Secret Journeys of a Lifetime is an impressive volume, beautifully illustrated as one would expect from a book with the National Geographic imprint. I thought I was reasonably well travelled, but I had only visited, or indeed known of the existence of a small number of the incredible places covered in this book.
For the armchair traveller, just browsing through is a very rewarding experience, but for anyone who is prepared to travel to far flung places it is a great source of inspiration. The book is split into nine separate sections eg Spiritual Havens, the Road Less Travelled and City Secrets. Every so often there are useful top ten lists covering various topics such as Roman Sites or Islands Within Cities. Strangely there is no index of these top ten lists which seem to be just scattered throughout the book.
The format is that for each of about 200 of the chosen sites there is a page devoted which includes a picture, some description and a useful summary of when to go, how to find it, planning and websites which can be consulted. The other 300 odd sites are included in the top ten lists and just include a very brief description and a few words on planning.
Since the publishers have chosen to group these places in the way described above, there is, of necessity, no geographic grouping which may have been more useful. However, where, within one of the ten sections, places are geographically close together these are grouped. For example, in Last Wildernesses, there are five sites in the USA and these are described consecutively. If visiting an area, the easiest way to locate places in the book is to look through the index at the back. eg if you look up Wales in the Index, the 11 references to Wales in the book are listed.
So to summarise, this is a book which looks and feels quality and which nearly anyone would be pleased to receive as a gift. On a practical level it is a great source of ideas for the traveller and a pleasure to read for the armchair traveller.