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Take a journey to nowhere? Delve into the pages of Full Circle by Luis Sepulveda (Lonely Planet, pounds 5.99). The first page describes how, as a boy, Sepulveda was given the said ticket by his freedom-fighting and practical-joking grandfather and ends up joining the Young Communists in Chile. After his incarceration in a miserable Chilean prison he finally comes to the end of that journey - and the beginning of another into exile - after Amnesty International gains his release. The book describes Sepulveda's travels through South America and back full circle to the promise he made to his grandfather at the start.

Spend one night in Paris? Travel on a Friday or Saturday night from London or Ashford with Virgin StarTrain Holidays (01273 748482). For pounds 99, you catch the last evening Eurostar to the French capital, go clubbing at Le Locomotive (with admission and the first drink free), go to an all- night restaurant for soup or breakfast, and then return to Gare du Nord in time for the first morning train home. The StarTrain brochure includes a complete Eurostar timetable, but says: "We publish this because we know that some people will be interested. Other pages are more exciting."

Learn how to mend a bike? Sign up for summer work with Cycling for Softies, which requires "French-speaking, non-smoking assistants" to work on its programme of cycling holidays. According to Summer Jobs Abroad '97 (Vacation Work, pounds 7.99) - the source of this and thousands of other vacancies - full training in bicycle maintenance is given.

Write your way around the world? Be a student at a UK college, and tell us about your town or city. The Independent has joined forces with BT Chargecard, Campus Travel and Rough Guides to offer five spectacular prizes that could take you anywhere from the Sorbonne to Surfer's Paradise in Australia. To enter, see The Long Weekend this coming Saturday, 8 February.

Rhiannon Batten

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