Are you craving to go backpacking while sitting in your cubicle?
Is there no way you are going to be sleeping on a train or bus this weekend?
Travelling is a way of self-discovery. You may not be at that amazing point in life yet. But, many travellers have found themselves while on the move. And, some of them shared their experiences with the world. Travel books can fuel your wanderlust, boosting your adrenaline levels and giving you a sense of exploring the world.
Even if you are not an avid reader, travel books are worth a shot. Here are nine travel books that helps you to nurture the wanderer in you by inspiring and motivating.
This memoir is probably the best travel book about self-discovery. ‘Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia’ was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 199 weeks. The book was even made into a film by the same name starring Julia Roberts. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the book based on her experiences when she took a year to travel through Italy, India, and Bali.
She chose to end her marriage at the age of 34. After a rebound relationship, she felt the need to rediscover herself. ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is a classic that says it is okay to feel the urge to change and reinvent and experiment even when it is typically the time to settle down.
It is one of the most inspiring books out there. It is not only about travelling but about how to keep going in life, one step at a time. Wild is a memoir by Cheryl Strayed who went on a 1,100-mile solo hike with no prior experiences. She hiked along the famous Pacific Trail that begins at the Mojave Desert in California and ends at Bridge of the Gods in Washington.
Cheryl took the trip at the age of 26 after being on a self-destructive path following her mother's death when she was 22. ‘Wild’ was announced as the first selection in the Oprah's Book Club 2.0 in 2012. The book has been translated to thirty languages till now.
‘Seven Years in Tibet: My Life Before, During and After’ is an autobiographical travel book by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer. The book is based on his experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951. ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ is known for the portrayal of Tibetan culture and lifestyle before the Chinese invasion. It is the last record of independent Tibet the world has.
Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter escaped from a British camp in India and travelled to Tibet to spend seven years. Harrer became a close friend of 14th Dalai Lama. ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ has sold over three million copies and been translated to 53 languages.
This is one of the best selling travel books of all time. The book is all about Mark Twain's experiences on board the retired civil war ship called USS Quaker City. The ship was on a voyage called Holy Land Expedition. They made a number of stops and side trips along the Mediterranean sea. Mark Twain has beautifully recorded his observations of the diverse culture of these towns. The book is known for showcasing the contrast between history and the modern world.
‘Blue Highways’ is another autobiographical work, and one of the best travel books of all time. The author was 38-years-old at the time, and he took the trip after a divorce and losing his job. On an attempt to reconnect with himself, William Least Heat-Moon took a long road trip through the small and away-from-the-mainstream towns of USA. These less travelled roads were drawn in blue colour on the map. He stayed away from familiar cities and stopped at towns with interesting names. The book speaks of his interactions with a bunch of people including a runaway teenager, a monk, a maple syrup farmer, and a fisherman.
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‘The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon’ is a must read for all those who grew up reading Jules Verne and venturing into uncharted territories to find lost kingdoms. David Grann’s book is a non-fiction work about British explorer Percy Fawcett’s attempts to find the ancient Amazon city which he called ‘Z’.
Fawcett disappeared in 1925 with his eldest son Jack and his friends while searching for ‘Z’ in the jungles of Brazil. There are numerous theories about Fawcett’s disappearance. In the book, David Grann talks about his own journey to South America and various theories about Percy Fawcett.
‘Arabian Sands’ is considered a classic in travel literature. It is undoubtedly one of the best travel books of all time. Wilfred Thesiger travelled across the Arabian Peninsula between 1945 and 1950. He spent a lot of time with Bedu people, the native inhabitants. The book portrays the changes happened to Bedouin traditions after the Second World War. The book covers several parts of the Peninsula including Abyssinia, Sudan, Dhofar, Ghanim, and Abu Dhabi.
This book is all for those who dream of the garden of Eden aka Africa. The author Paul Theroux spent a lot of time in Africa serving in peace corps. ‘Dark Star Safari’ is chronicles of his trip from Cairo and Cape Town. He has penned down all his experiences including the mode of transport, inconveniences, and emotions. The book is a commentary on the aid western countries have been sending to Africa as well. Paul Theroux sets out on the journey hoping for beautiful sights, and he does find them. But, along with them, he sees dirt, filth, and litter too.
Even though ‘The Alchemist’ is a work of fiction, it does a great job in inspiring you to travel and find yourself. It is one of the best books about travel and self-discovery. Paulo Coelho gave the world a shepherd boy named Santiago who sets out on a journey to find treasure. He is guided by recurring dreams and fortune tellers. The story is all about destiny and how important it is to follow your heart.