Im a massive nerd. I love computers and gadgets and technology and programing and all that good stuffs. I also love love love to read, especially travel books. As the great W. Somerset Maugham once said “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life”. Maugham wasn’t only a great writer but once also worked as a secret agent. He was also a very well traveled man and visited Tahiti which in the 30’s was no mean feat so he has to be right!
There have been long periods of time where for various reasons I haven’t been able to travel as far and as wide as I would like to so I had to let my mind take an adventure instead. If your sitting there feeling the same and wanderlusting or simply looking for inspiration and an impetus here are some books that will take you on some wonderful journeys. Its not really a “top travel books” list its more a work in progress and Im sure I will be driven to add to it very soon!
Hokkaido Highway Blues – Will Ferguson
I read this book 10 years ago and I still buy it as a gift for anyone thinking of going to or expressing an interest in Japan. The concept is enviable. Hitchhiking the length of the country following the Sakura trail (flowering cherry blossom) and encountering not only the rich beauty of this incredible natural phenomenon but a people and culture equally as rich. I was so jealous of this journey I have attempted several poor mans copies. One day I will replicate it. One of my absolute favorite travel books.
A Hotel on the Roof of the world – Five Years in Tiber by Alec Le Sueur
This hilarious account of a hotel and its many visitors in the somewhat un developed town of Lhasa is just brilliant. Laugh out loud funny and madcap from start to finish it will really make you take up just about any silly adventure you had tucked up your sleeve.
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
I grew up on a small island and every fiber in my body wanted to sail a boat a be a member of the Walker family. This is a classic travel book and if you didn’t read it when you were a kid its NEVER too late. I can’t wait to re read this with Oscar Chang. I defy anyone who doesn’t want to be called Captain after the first read.
A Walk Across America – Peter Jenkins
Peter Jenkins was the pioneer in adventure travel writing and his 1979 book lit the imagination of so many people in American and beyond. He walked across America for over 6 years with his dog Cooper. Peter felt that he didnt really understand his country or what part he played in it and the most logical thing was to travel across it. I feel like this emotion has powered so many journeys of self discovery across the world and it certainly ignited a spark in my imagination. If this travel book doesn’t get you off the couch nothing will!
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
I know I know another hiking book. I don’t even like hiking that much. This really isnt just about the walking though its a life story and memoir of sorts. Its a great example of how a journey can heal wounds and allow some healing time. I read this book at a pivotal point in my own healing journey and it just really resounded with me. It has made me want to walk a bit more too and of course visit the Pacific Crest Trail and any book that makes me want to go places is always great. I just read an article about the new movie of the book coming out in January so get there before its out. Link here