Top 10 Inspiring Travel Books
My Personal Top 10 Travel Inspiring Reads
You know the feeling, when you’re so engrossed in a book that you fail to notice you have missed your stop on the bus, that your food is burning or that your kitchen is on fire. Ok, so maybe the last one is extreme, but reading a story can suck you in more than any other medium of creative art. When you get so deeply involved in reading about destinations you can often wander off on a fantasy or simply be struck with a life changing illness, the travel bug. Before pictures, the internet and holiday channels the written word would paint the picture for you, giving you everything you needed to visualise the wonder of a far off land. So, I have compiled my favourite top 10 travel books that have inspired me to travel, and perhaps will one day inspire you too.
Shantram- Gregory David Roberts
This is the unbelievable story of an escaped Australian convict who flees to Bombay to start a new life in the slums. The vivid details, not only of the wonderfully exotic landscape, but of the protagonist’s total immersion into the Indian culture is fascinating. Shantram is a must for anyone with a desire to visit India.
Norwegian Wood- Haruki Murakami
While not necessarily a travel book, Murakami has an incredible way of painting a picture of a place, its people and the feeling a destination can evoke. This is a tale of teenage angst and the deep effects that grief can play on individuals. You find yourself adrift in tale of sex and loss against a hauntingly beautiful 1960’s Tokyo backdrop.
Motorcycle diaries- Che Guevara
A diary, written by one of the most iconic Cuban revolutionaries the world has ever seen; if this book doesn’t make you want to travel, nothing will. Before he was known over the globe, Che Guevara and his young friend embarked on a motorcycle journey on a temperamental 500cc Norton called ‘The Powerful One’ across South America. A journey that would change their lives, and the world, forever.
Into the wild – John Krakauer
This is the story of an enigmatic young man who gave up all material possessions to go out and live in the wild. This story has inspired many idealists to follow in Chris Mc Candleless’ footsteps, resulting in further unfortunate deaths. There is something timeless about this story that reverberates in the heart of anyone who has ever been dissatisfied with the modern way of life – a truly life changing book.
The Namesake- Jhumpa Lahiri
For any long term travellers, expats or people who emigrate to other countries this Pulitzer Prize winning novel defines the deep unexplainable loss that many feel throughout their life. Revolving around the life of an Indian family that move to suburban America, the theme of identity is brought to light as you gradually see the effect such a displacement can have upon you. This is a sad, moving and deeply poignant story that I will personally never forget.
Life of Pi- Yann Martel
The bestselling book (which is much better than the movie by the way) takes you on an outrageous journey across the planets blue oceans. The only survivor of a cargo ship crash, a young boy called Pi must navigate the sea and survive on the rations he has…all in the company of a Royal Bengal Tiger.
The Beach – Alex Garland
Every backpackers South East Asia staple, The Beach is the epitome of what a travel book should do. The novel has inspired a generation of young travellers to search for a perfect ideal – a heaven on earth. The story however, is more of a Paradise Lost, as the tale gradually reveals the darker side to the seeming tropical paradise.
On the road- Jack Kerouac
The original road trip epic ‘On the Road’ is by far the most iconic American traveller’s tale. Spanning a disillusioned 1950’s America, the epic tale of drugs, sex and alternative culture created a movement known as the beat generation. The constant searching, moving and experiencing portrayed in this novel defines the very nature of travel, something we can all relate to.
A Moveable feast – Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway, the old American master of words has an innate ability to draw you into his world. In this case, ‘A Moveable Feast’ he recalls his own time spent in Paris in the 1920’s. In this novel, Paris is sketched so lovingly and unflinchingly that you can instantly see the deep emotional connection that a place can leave upon you.
Fear and loathing- Hunter S. Thompson
The ultimate crazy journey could only ever be written by Hunter S. Thompson. Few people could even imagine what it would be like to escape to Las Vegas with a red Corvette and a suitcase stuffed full of every narcotic ever created, far fewer could accurately describe what it might be like. In ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ you find out exactly what it would be like. A turbo charged novel that analyses the American dream up close and spits it out, reading this will make you feel like you’re on drugs.