Travel Books That Will Change The Way You See The World
30 Mar 2020
Great travel books can take our imaginations thousands of miles away, they inspire us to getaway, go on an adventure, hike, drive, cruise and fly. And sometimes, reading a travel book can be as transformative as the journey itself.
Here are Phil Hoffmann's must-read travel books. Prepare for a serious case of itchy feet.
The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald
W.G. Sebald’s account of a walking tour of the English county of Suffolk blends seducing descriptions of the places and people he encounters with meditations that range from the history of herring fishing to colonialism in the Congo, to the reign of a Chinese empress. The Rings of Saturn’ contains a philosophy for travellers who want to scratch beneath the surface of a destination: Take it slow, seek out stories, strive to be a more thoughtful explorer. Cultivate your sense of curiosity with every step.
A Moveable Feast (Life-Changing Food Adventures Around The World) edited by Don George
Some of us live to travel & eat. And when you need a book to fuel or deliciously inspire any journey, this compilation of short stories from famous chefs, writers and foodies around the world will share a love of food and the power it has to bring people together.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Most travellers are searching for something on their adventures, whether it’s amazing ancient sites or unique experiences. But while you’re busy seeking something external, you usually end up uncovering something about yourself. The book tells the captivating story of an Andalusian shepherd who wants to travel in search of treasure. But during his adventures, he finds himself, instead - showing us the journey that matters—a journey of lessons.
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to The World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
An instant New York Times bestseller, Medium Raw tracks Bourdain's unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-travelling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, in a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food. Travel changed Anthony Bourdain and his story-telling reflects how it opened his eyes to a world of people less fortunate than him, but who was happier than he could ever be, and it taught him the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone.
Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris
A memoir about a year spent cycling the Silk Road, Harris’s odyssey is an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here. Harris ponders the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, her intimate, mind-expanding travelogue celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other
A Woman Alone: Travel Tales From Around the Globe edited by Faith Conlon, Ingrid Emerick and Christina Henry de Tessan
This absolutely delightful collection features anecdotal travel tales from 29 different women. These women share a common bond in their love of solo travel. Marybeth Bond discovers the dubious pleasures of desert camel-riding when she decides to follow an ancient Indian trading route. Faith Adiele, a black Buddhist nun, enters a deserted train station at 3:00 a.m. in a Thai village controlled by armed bandits. Ena Singh negotiates with Russian police to visit the blue-domed city of Samarkand. In A Woman Alone, these women and others tell their funny, thrilling, occasionally terrifying, ultimately transformative stories of navigating some of the most unusual destinations on the globe.
The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé
What could be more inspiring to a young traveller (or older nomads who are still young at heart) than the action-packed adventures of a reporter and his little dog wandering the world? The comic books have influenced journeys for many travellers and spawned dreams of far off lands.
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux
Dark Star Safari takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances. Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people.
The Haves and the Have Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality by Branko Milanovic
Branko Milanovic, one of the world’s leading experts on wealth, poverty, and the gap that separates them, explains these and other mysteries of how wealth is unevenly spread throughout our world, now and through time. Milanovic uses history, literature and stories straight out of today’s newspapers, to discuss one of the major divisions in our social lives: between the haves and the have-nots. If you’re travelling to understand the world, this book focuses on one of the key cornerstones—money—to put wealth inequality into context.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
One of the most influential travel books of the 2000s that launched a thousand solo trips. This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.
It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured." So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum-security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
The Number 1New York Timesbestseller, this book seeks to find what happened to another South America explorer: Percy Fawcett who in 1925, ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called The Lost City of Z.
The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain
Mark Twain was one of the original adventurers and the Innocents Abroad will let you travel in time to Europe and the Holy Land during the 1800s. So many travel quotes have been lifted from Mark Twain’s pages, this, together with his other travel books more than deserves a read.
Notes From a Small Island, Bill Bryson
Before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire to move back to the States for a few years with his family, Bill Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain. The book will have you simultaneously laughing out loud, and checking flight prices to Great Britain as you power through the tale.