Reading can offer an incredible escape, particularly in such turbulent times. These travel books will spur your imagination until you can experience your own adventure. From Australia to Antarctica, we promise that getting lost in one of these classics will almost feel like you’re there.
For a taste of Australia, look no further than this extraordinary 2700km journey by 27-year-old Robyn Davidson, four camels and one dog. In 1977, the author began her solo trek from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, on a mission to test her limits. With beautiful descriptions of the desert and political musings, this travel memoir feels incredibly inspiring and real. It is an honest account of perseverance, courage and self-discovery told from a powerful female perspective. The author is as gifted a storyteller as she is an adventurer. If you are drawn by the transformation that comes with challenging travel, this one’s for you. Get ready to be hooked, you won't want to put this one down.
Escape to the USA with this semi-autobiographical classic. Published in 1957, this book is an emblem of the ‘Beat Generation’, with protagonists that reject social conventions and instead place value on self-expression and living carefree.This poignant book will take you back in time and offer a raw look at America. While the stream of consciousness writing style is not for everyone, it conjures up beautiful images of 1950s America, from the descriptions of landscapes to the influence of jazz. The book will definitely feed your sense of adventure if you’re longing for a Route 66 getaway. It will take you on a journey through San Francisco, New York, Washington DC and Texas.
For a South American adventure, get lost in the wonderfully unique writing of Spanish-Argentine writer Andrés Neuman. While on the move during a book tour, he muses about Latin America and the beauty of it. He touches on cultural identity, nationality and immigration in this honest reflection, and attempts to describe things as they are, without embellishment or understatement. This travelogue is a particularly great read for anyone interested in history, politics and culture across the continent, and is a charming introduction to Latin America as a whole. Neuman’s incredible curiosity will brush off on you and you will feel as though you’re travelling alongside him. A great armchair tour of South America while you’re stuck at home.
Here’s a laugh-out-loud travel book for those wanting something a little bit more light-hearted. Bestselling author Bill Bryson revisits Europe, tracing the route he took in the 1970s as a young student. He narrates his journey across several countries including Norway, France, Italy and Switzerland, and his nostalgic trip is absolutely hilarious. This is certainly a page-turner and great for anyone with a dry sense of humour. (When you’ve finished this book, other great travel books by Bill Bryson include Notes from a Small Island, Notes from a Big Country and Down Under).
Here’s an ode to train travel, with all of its challenges and flaws. In this travelogue, Monisha Rajesh, a British journalist of Indian origin, goes on a 40,000km journey around India in 80 trains. The four-month long adventure is detailed with a perfect combination of drama and wit, and the colours, sights and sounds of India are detailed with great clarity. The author’s conversational writing style makes the book a quick and easy read, and as you keep turning the pages, you feel as though you’re sitting right by her in the train carriage. From Mumbai to Delhi, Brahmaputra to Chennai, this book brings the diversity of India to life and paints a modern day picture of the country. A true delight to read and a breath of fresh air.
The book is honest, compelling and often funny, showing different sides of Nigeria. From the bustling city of Lagos to the mountainous landscapes of the east to the beautiful rainforests of the south, you can experience Nigeria in all of its glory, flaws and all, in this effortlessly charming and witty travelogue-memoir. As well as talking about the raw beauty and vibrancy of the country, British-Nigerian author Noo Saro-Wiwa gives the reader an eye-opening look into the culture, history, religion and politics of the country, even touching upon Nollywood, Nigeria's film industry. She also discusses identity and offers an interesting perspective as someone with a personal connection to the country. This compelling and colourful book really is a joy to read. It is at once profound and warm and has the power to make you laugh and cry.
For those looking for an adventure a little bit further afield, look no further than this modern classic on Antarctic exploration. Offering a female perspective to an often male-dominated landscape, Sara Wheeler, who spent seven months living with scientists and explorers in the Antarctic base camp, writes with intelligence, passion, humour and warmth (no pun intended). From the weather to the wildlife, from the scenery to the isolation, she describes her experience with such honesty. She also covers a bit about the history of polar exploration, so that you can learn more about who paved the way before her, and tries to understand the curiosity and appeal of Antarctica. Why does this remote, icy, unforgiving continent keep reeling in so many adventurers? This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you read the last page. A truly uplifting travelogue for those curious about the frozen continent.