Travel literature, whether it’s the fascinating memoirs of a life-changing trip into the mysterious Himalayan mountains; fiction that makes the awe inspiring landscapes of Namibia its major character or nonfiction accounts that encourages its readers to consider a familiar destination in a whole new light – all of these emotive writing techniques fall under the umbrella of travel books – and as you can imagine, personal preferences for reading these tales are just as varied.
All the innovative #Instatravel hashtags and lengthy TripAdvisor reviews in the world can’t substitute for the raw thrill of reading a truly compelling travel story. Reading is like travel, transporting you to another place, disconnecting you from your daily routine so you can come back with a renewed and even inspired perspective on the world. The only way reading differs, is it can all be done without leaving the comfort of your own sofa.
Now normally, we wouldn’t recommend living out someone else’s adventures when you can make the most of your own. But during these unprecedented times, where staying home literally saves lives, why not live vicariously through an epic travel page-turner, until the world’s ready for us to explore once more. To give you some inspiration, we’ve collected a couple of our favourite suggestions from the Exodus team.
1. Down Under – Travels in a sunburned country, by Bill Bryson
International best-selling travel writer, Bill Bryson, is not the first to notice that Australia holds more animals in its boarders that can kill you than anywhere else on the planet – but Bryson accepts this challenge only to discover that it has some of the friendliest inhabitants and offers hours of endless sunshine.
Peppered with quirky characters, unforgettable animal encounters and a healthy dose of Bryson’s humour this is one of Tim Fowler’s, our Customer Marketing Manager’s favourite all-time reads, “Love the country. Love the author. Both are blessed with an incredible sense of humour. Bryson’s books are always expertly researched and his laissez-faire attitude to travel – which leads to as many misadventures as adventures – is constantly charming.”
2. In Patagonia, by Bruce Chatwin
Exodus’ Responsible Tourism Manager, Tom Harari, was quick to recommend In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin. With a remarkable gift for the art of storytelling, Chatwin’s adventure takes you to the uttermost part of the earth in search of long-forgotten legends of bandits and the mysterious log cabin built by Butch Cassidy.
“This read is an oldie but a goodie”, Tom said. He continued, “I first read it when I was young and hadn’t had the chance to travel anywhere yet. The way Chatwin instilled his passion for adventure, it felt like Patagonia was the end of the world and this book certainly fuelled my desire to explore the far reaches of the globe.”
3. The Great Railway Bazaar, Paul Theroux
Ollie Collard, our Web Sales Consultant was keen give a worthy shout out to this fantastic travelogue, The Great Railway Bazaar, written by American Novelist, Paul Theroux as he makes an unforgettable four-month train journey from London through Europe, the Middle East, India and parts of Southeast Asia before returning via the Trains Siberian Railway.
Ollie comments, “This book details Paul Theroux’s (father of Louis) epic journey across Europe and around Asia by train. As well as being incredibly funny, the journey was taken in 1973 so it gives a fascinating insight to the continent before the emergence of mass tourism.” He continues, “From the heyday of the Hippie Trial in India and Iran, to the Trans-Siberian Express across Soviet Russia, and featuring a cast of characters from Opium smugglers to Indian holy men, it is a hugely entertaining travelogue that reads like a novel.”
4. The Arrival, by Shaun Tan
Pablo Rodriguez, Exodus’ Database Manager, turns his attention to “The Arrival by Shaun Tan, a timeless, graphic novel that’s void of words, for inspiration. Shining a spotlight on migrant travellers, this novel is a moving tribute to displaced people the world over.
Magically told by way of surrealism, Tan masterfully brings the fascinating tales of immigrants’ journeys to the forefront. Pablo explains, “This wordless graphic novel is about an immigrant’s life in an imaginary world, where everything looks similar to our own city but different enough, so you understand the feeling of trying to adapt to a different culture.”
5. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Our PR and Internal Communications Executive, Katie Brown, recommends the critically acclaimed non-fiction novel, Eat, Pray Love written by Elizabeth Gilbert, where we follow one women’s search for everything on a voyage of recovery through self-discovery, across Italy, India and Indonesia.
Katie explains, “I’m not much of a reader, but Elizabeth Gilbert’s candid accounts of what happened to her on the road had me hooked. Making it firmly onto one of the New York Times best sellers’ list, this witty memoir, chronicles Elizabeth’s eye-opening yearlong journey around the world after her divorce and is a great example of the amazing people you can meet along the way who change your perspective.”
6. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, by Eric Newby
Sarah Boyd, one of our Product Managers, encourages us to read Eric Newby’s iconic account of how he swapped London haute couture for weatherproof jackets and ice climbing crampons on his legendary adventure from Mayfair to Afghanistan. With epic descriptions of Afghanistan’s wilderness and witty-led prose about the hardships of these two amateur rogues, it’s hard not to be left utterly charmed by one of Britain’s best-loved travel writers.
She mentions, “This extremely honest and funny account of Eric Newby’s mountain climbing trip to Afghanistan in the 1950’s, shows the lengths we all go to in search of adventure. With little to no experience except for a few days hiking in Wales, this brilliantly witty memoir offers excellent insight into the alluring mountains of the Hindu Kush, that will encourage even the faintest of heart to grab there walking poles and snowshoes.”
7. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
Exodus Product Manager, Claire Ouditt, believes no travel book list is complete without one of the world’s most enchanting classics, The Alchemist, written by Brazilian lyricist and novelist, Paulo Coelho – and we can’t help but agree. Since it was published in 1988, this iconic novel has inspired a devoted following of people around the world, which comes as no surprise. Coelho’s soul-stirring tale transports us into the Egyptian desert, where shepherd boy, Santiago goes in search of hidden treasure underneath the sands surrounding the Pyramids. But what he finds instead, is something much more profound.
Claire comments, “I generally prefer expedition accounts and travel memoirs, but the Alchemist is a truly an amazing, potentially life-changing book. It is all about journeying across the world and most importantly the journey that comes from within. What a beautiful book.”