Today marks World Book Day, the perfect excuse to stick the kettle on, raid the biscuit tin, put your feet up and enjoy flicking through the pages of a literary masterpiece!
If you need a bit of inspiration, here’s a fantastic line-up of travel-related classics that inspire, inform and leave you with that lingering sense of wanderlust, making you want to pack your suitcase and jet off on your next adventure!
Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe
This refreshingly humorous travelogue written by American writer Bill Bryson in 1991, documents his tour of Europe in 1990, with many flash-backs to two summer tours he made in 1972 and 1973 during his college days.
Beginning in Hammerfest, Norway in a search for the Northern Lights and ending in Istanbul, Turkey contemplating how the city is a getaway to Asia, Bryson visits numerous locations throughout Europe, whilst commenting on the various aspects of life, comparing them to how he experienced them in earlier visits.
“Unlike Bryson’s later books, Neither Here Nor There is marked by his solo observations; he does not seem to engage locals in conversation in his travels, nor is there as much detailed research about the history, flora and fauna of the places visited.”
The Great Railway Bazaar
“The Great Railway Bazaar is Paul Theroux’s account of his epic journey by rail through Asia. Filled with evocative names of legendary train routes – the Direct-Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Delhi Mail from Jaipur, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Hikari Super Express to Kyoto and the Trans-Siberian Express – it describes the many places, cultures, sights and sounds he experienced and the fascinating people he met. Here he overhears snippets of chat and occasional monologues, and is drawn into conversation with fellow passengers, from Molesworth, a British theatrical agent, and Sadik, a shabby Turkish tycoon, while avoiding the forceful approaches of pimps and drug dealers. This wonderfully entertaining travelogue pays loving tribute to the romantic joys of railways and train travel.”
The Geography of Bliss
“After years of going to the world’s least happy countries, Eric Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent, decided to travel and evaluate each country’s different sense of happiness and discover the nation that seemed happiest of all.
In Weiner’s quest to find the world’s happiest places, he eats rotten Icelandic shark, meditates in Bangalore, visits strip clubs in Bangkok and drinks himself into a stupor in Reykjavik. Full of inspired moments, The Geography of Bliss accomplishes a feat few travel books dare and even fewer achieve: to make you happier.”
Into the Wild
“Krakauer’s two classics — Into the Wild and Into Thin Air — were published in the span of just two years. Into Thin Air — a riveting first-person retelling of a season of bad choices and disaster on Mt. Everest — drew more headlines. But it’s his earlier work, which tells the mysterious story of Christopher McCandless, a recent college graduate who was found dead in the Alaskan wilderness, that lingers in the mind long after you close the book. Krakauer is sympathetic to the spirit that led McCandless to ditch his car, burn the money in his wallet, and set out for life off the grid. In a rousing section, he recalls his own [youthful] climbing adventure in Alaska, on a stark and wondrous peak called the Devils Thumb, which was both exhilarating and nearly fatal. Yet much like Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, this is a story that draws sharp lines between adventure and madness.”
Eat, Pray, Love
“It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.”
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia is a 2006 memoir by American author Elizabeth Gilbert. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels.
The book remained on The New York Times Best Seller List for 187 weeks