Favourite (Travel) Books chosen by Travel Bloggers
Many of us do dream a lot about the upcoming trip, anything near or further away. Why not taking a trip in your bed or living room by escaping the real world with a great book with vivid descriptions and fantasies come true? For this reason I asked a couple great travel bloggers to share their favourite (travel) books.
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
by Kristin Newman is one of my favourite travel based memoirs, and is based around how she juggled a job as a screenwriter in LA, whilst looking for love on the road during her off-season, travelling to South America, Australia, Russia and beyond. Her tone is incredibly quirky, and it’s a fun, entertaining account of one woman’s journey around the world!
Kami from My Wanderlust
I know I’m supposed to pick just one book but I can’t decide – I’m a huge fan of Robert Kaplan’s stories about the Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East. Technically they are about travels but they also have a huge background of history and politics of these troublesome regions, some of the most fascinating places in the world. Now I’m a huge fan of these destinations and that’s thanks to the Kaplan’s books that helped me understand and fall in love with these still unknown places. So if you want to discover Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East be sure to check “Balkan Ghosts” and “Eastward to Tartary” – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
Ivana from Nomad is Beautiful
One of the books that inspired me a lot to have more courage to explore remote areas is Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia by Louisa Waugh.
It’s an autobiographical story of a British journalist who after teaching English in the capital of Mongolia moved to the remote village of Tsengel where she remained for one year. I love the book not only because Mongolia is my dream destination #1, but also because of the authentic and vivid stories written in a very descriptive way. The author avoids self-centered way of depicting the plot despite the fact she describes the story from a first person perspective. A good travel book is a book that makes you a silent observer right in the hotspot and thanks to Louisa Waugh I could travel afar while listening to her stories.
Tom from Tune up & Travel
20,000 Miles South by Frank and Helen Schreider.
In the 1950’s, Frank, Helen and their German shepherd “Dinah” drove a WWII Jeep that Frank converted into an amphibious vehicle all the way from the Arctic Circle in Alaska to the very bottom tip of South America. This was before the Pan-American Highway was built too! There were run-ins with murderous tribes on the San Blas Islands, diplomatic stand-offs with immigrations officers in less-friendly countries and hacking through the jungle when roads were unfinished. Truly an amazing story that will leave you with a thirst for adventure!
Trisha from P.S. I’m on my way
The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Before he was Che, he was Ernesto first. Most of us know him as the guerrilla with a deeply profound and radicalized political view but the 24-year old Ernesto who quit his job to travel South America, with a motorcycle was different. From Buenos Aires, to the Andes, into Chile, to Peru, Colombia, and finally, Caracas, Ernesto’s story is full of life and dreams. His notes on this book was so graphical that I could imagine myself paving the roads he took, feeling his sentiments towards a particular issue, understanding that everyday, he is yearning for more adventure. This is also the period where his political interests triggered and you will notice the transition of his life in the last chapters of this book. His words are fresh and convincing. It made me say, “one day, I will travel like him.” At present, I am travelling South America for two years now, not with a motorcycle but somehow similar to his story.
Raphael from A Journey of Wonders
Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah by Richard Burton. It’s the story of a Western Man who defied the laws of Saudi Arabia that restrict the entrance to non-Muslims and how his journey brought enlightenment to the people of the region. It’s one of the best sources for cultural and adventure travel (my niche). Reading it became an adventure all by itself!
Noel from Travel Photo Discovery
I recently finished reading a wonderful travel book called Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter circa 1962 and set in the Italian coastline of Cinque Terre along with Hollywood intrigue and a famous American classic filmed in Italy. It is a fascinating read, unpredictable, witty and full of surprises along with a fantastic storyline set in the gorgeous Cinque Terre area. It is a romantic story with famous actors, heartbreaking events all tied into a brilliant novel. It is a must read for those that love Italy and the early film industry as it relates to Hollywood.
Alejandro from Mi viaje por el mundo
A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East
“Beware, you run a grave risk of dying in 1993 – You must not fly that year. Don’t fly, not even once”were the words that a fortune-teller told to an Italian journalist working in Asia for a German Newspaper. For one year Tiziano travel through Asia using all kinds of transportation except planes or helicopters, at the same time he decided to visit all the most famous fortune tellers in the places he was travel, trying to discover and get involve with the ancient culture of those places.
If you don’t know anything about Asia, as me when I started reading this book for the first time, by the end of it you will want to leave your stuff, pack a bag and travel through the continent without flying (in my case I even went to see a fortune-teller in Mexico City after I read the book for first time). The way the book is written involves you not only in his life but also in the way of life of thousands who are cultural related to all these traditions.
A must read for every traveler!
Kach and Jonathan from Two Monkeys Travel
Our favorite book that we really love is called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The Secret is a best-selling book which took the world by storm back in 2006. It presents a universal theory which shatters practically everything we know and are brought up to believe about how the world works. It proposes that we are not at the mercy of the world, other people, or random events, but that we have the power within ourselves to imagine what we want, how we want our lives to be and actively manifest it into reality simply by asking, believing and exuding feelings of positivity and gratitude every day. Who wouldn’t love that?!
Alouise from Take me to the World
Picking one favourite travel book is difficult, but Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson is one of my top choices. Ferguson is a Canadian author, and Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw focuses on his travels in a variety of destinations across Canada. The book is funny, engaging, and has information about Canadian culture and history, some of which (as a fellow Canadian) I did not know about. A couple of years ago I traveled to Moose Jaw (it’s a lovely small city in Saskatchewan with a funny name). While I was there, I visited The Sontanien, a ship that a Finish pioneer named Tom Sukkanen hand built, because I loved reading about Ferguson’s experience visiting this strange landmark in the middle of the prairies. Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw is a great travel book that will inspire travelers to explore the strange and wonderful places across Canada.
Vicky from These Vagabond Shoes
Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet
At first glance, this slim book doesn’t seem like it will live up to the scope of the title, but as the story unfolds, the simple, spare writing reveals an epic quest matched only by the vastness of the landscape in which it takes place. Sky Burial is quite possibly the most hauntingly beautiful book I’ve ever read.
In 1994, journalist Xinran met a woman named Shu Wen. Wen recounts the story of her life, of 30 years in Tibet searching for the truth about her lost husband Kejun, of the transition from a Chinese outsider and observer of an alien culture, through the everyday struggle to survive, to a nomadic herder and devout Tibetan Buddhist.
The book is a compelling insight into mid-century Tibet and the nomadic way of life, painting an intimate portrait of their traditions, spirituality, and the minutiae of daily life. As you read, you realise that the love story of the title isn’t just that of Wen and Kejun, but a love story of Tibet, both for Wen, and for the reader.
Paula from Contented Traveller
One of my favorite books is by the famous Columbian author, Gabriel García Márquez. The book is One Hundred Years of Solitude and I love it. Trying to describe the depth of this book is very difficult. In essence this book is about people and how the people in the mystical town of Macondo, a metaphor for Columbia itself, interact with one another and the changing and evolving world around them. Much of the book is based on tales that he heard from his grandmother, and it has this personal yet highly magical tone throughout it. For me as a traveler it is the people and their dealings with one another. It is also about their town, their country and its history and all the global issues that beset them through many generations. That is what traveling is about – the people and the situations. I think that to travel is to see the people, understand more of their history, to see local issues and to see the effects of globalization on all of us.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez gives us this rich insight into Latin America in this book that begs you to want to know more about these passionate and independent people. Also, it makes me want to understand more of some of the issues that have been and are affecting the people’s lives, while enjoying their country and their spirit.
Dave from Cook Sip Go
Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari is my favorite travel book. His overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town combines the observational humor, historical background and inspiration that make for fantastic narrative. As someone who has lived in Africa for over a year, I appreciate the characters that he meets and value his honest portrayal of his interactions – there is no glossing over even the strangest of encounters. Despite his constantly changing modes of transport and occasional setbacks, Theroux peppers each chapter with words that remind me why I enjoy the road less traveled: “To me, travel was not about rest and relaxation. It was action, exertion, motion, and the built-in delays were longueurs necessitated by the inevitable problem-solving of forward movement: waiting for buses and trains, enduring breakdowns that you tried to make the best of.” These words are those of a true traveler.
My personal favourite travel book
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Before I finally got up and bought this book I had heard a lot of it! And I must admit that I was overwhelmed by this masterpiece. I couldn’t put it down for even eating! The story is about the author himself as he flees from Australia and makes his way to India where he starts a new life. On his first day he meets Prabaker, who will then become one of his closest friends. He gets robbed, then sells drugs to tourists, quits selling drugs, moves to a slum and works as a doctor. There he truly finds himself, but then decided to move again. A story full of excitement, love, new experiences, friendship and of course India.
What is your favorite (travel) book? Tell us in the comments below!
Keep on travelling and cheers,