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Small World broadens the mind with postcards and intelligence from everywhere at a time when the growth of international air travel has shrunk the definition of proximity and the internet has enabled the globalised media industry to bring distant events and places tantalisingly close.

Affluence has made Australians more mobile than ever. The notion of travel as a recreational pursuit of the wealthy is long past. Last year, a third of the national population travelled abroad, joining almost a billion tourists in the air, on the road, on board ships and trains.

The statistics are mind-boggling, but the full meaning of this in terms of global engagement is more perplexing. Will this extraordinary movement of people aid understanding or exacerbate tensions?

Some of Australia's best authors and journalists are featured, including an exclusive extract from Murray Bail's forthcoming novel The Voyage.

Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler revisits some of the most troubled regions in the world, taking in Kinshasa, Jerusalem and Haiti; Melissa Lucashenko has a strange holiday in Cambodia; Stephanie Green finds herself an unwitting witness to history while visiting Egypt; and Jane Goodall reflects on the recovery of Bucharest.

Mark Dapin reports on the perils of travelling as a journalist; Kate Veitch explores our changing relationship with travel and photography as smart phones replace cumbersome cameras; and Joanna Kujawa presents a history of wanderlust. Lesley Synge finds an earthly hell in an island paradise; Gayle Bryant reports from the frontlines of a terrorist attack on a luxury hotel; plus stories, poems and much more.

Small World opens a new window on how we live now.

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