The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
~ Saint Augustine
Books are considered man’s true companions and best friends. A book can keep you company on a rainy day and cheer you up whenever you feel low. They are like an instant rush of dopamine through your whole body. Books can help us travel far and wide with our imagination and perspective. What if I told you that you can travel the world sitting on your couch? Well, that’s the thing about travel books. They teleport you to different continents and helps you explore the different cultures that exist on the face of the earth.
At a time like this when traveling is prohibited and we are confined to our homes, we have compiled a list of best travel books that will fuel your wanderlust!
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The story of this book begins when a woman in her thirties who particularly has everything that she wants from life experiences an existential crisis and decides that she is unhappy. To regain her lost happiness, she leaves everything behind including her husband, her job, and a successful career. She embarks on a journey of self-introspection throughout Itlay, India, and Indonesia hoping to restore the stability in her life.
The language of the book is funny, quirky, and very witty. You relate with Gilbert on her journey and soon you realize that it identifies very less with other travel books. All in all, the book breaks down to one question, “What are we seeking? Will we ever find it?” Read on as you find these answers for Gilbert as well as yourself!
Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
The list of travel books is incomplete without mentioning Into The Wild. First published in 1997, this book chronicles the life of McCandless after his graduation. For a fair amount of time, he roamed about freely in the Southwest and West without knowing what to do next. His excessive wanderlust took the better of him when he got rid of his car, burnt all the money, gave up all his possessions, and just vanished into the wild.
With nothing left with him, he gave himself a new name and identity and started afresh. He left behind no trails until four months later, his decomposed body was found by some hunters. The book covers this extraordinary journey of McCandless who ventured into the wild and let his wanderlust take over!
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide To The Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
Vagabonding refers to taking a long time off from your normal and monotonous life to engage in traveling. The time may be as short as two weeks or as long as two years. If you have an independent spirit and dormant wanderlust, this book should be your pick among all the other travel books. In this book, veteran traveler Rolf Potts guides you on how to plan an extended overseas journey and discover yourself in the process!
It teaches you to plan a long-term travel irrespective of age, income, or level of education. You will also know how to live life on your terms and earn your freedom. The book walks you through various other aspects of life and teaches you a lot about traveling that you have been oblivious about till now!
Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche
Well, travel memoirs may not be your cup of tea but this one is different. Torre DeRoche offers her own love story in this book which tells you about the power of love and how it has urged people to do crazy things. Torre is a city girl who has a morbid fear of deep waters and lives a fairly good life in the city. After she meets Ivan, a gentleman from Argentina with a sailboat and a heart for traveling, she has no choice but to accompany him on his voyage.
Instead of letting go of her love, she decides to go all the way for him and even conquer her fear of water. This book unlike other travel books teaches you to overcome your deepest fears and cross oceans (literally!) for love!
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
In this travelogue, Bill Bryson takes us on a tour of Australia through his eyes. A country, as well as a continent with its fair share of uniqueness, has a special place in Bill’s heart. He loves Australia and it is evident through his works. Australia with its lethal weather and deadliest animals including sharks, crocodiles, and some quirky ones like that of twelve-foot earthworms. Even the inhabitants of Australia are humorous and entertaining. All of which entices Bill.
This book will make you want to pack your bags and travel to Australia and explore its unique lands. It is thoroughly entertaining and humorous. It is sure to appeal to you as well as fuel your wanderlust.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
On the Road explores the time of Jack Kerouac’s journey through the roads of North America with his companion, Neal Cassady. As both travels through the roads of North America, we get to learn more about Jack’s experiences on the road and his will to travel far and wide. Unlike other travel books, these two go on roaming the country, not for the sake of roaming but to seek self-knowledge and lots of experience.
This is a true example of being a classic book that elicits a lot of knowledge and wisdom for anyone with underlying wanderlust. It not only inspires you to plan a journey for the sake of traveling but also to add on to your experiences and wisdom.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Set in the underworld of Bombay with its spiritual gurus, prostitutes, beggars, and mafias, this book captures the impoverished corner of India in its true sense. The story revolves around the life of a convict Lin who flees Australia with a fake passport and his friend, Prabaker. While going into an exile that hides their identifies, both men seek shelter in the dark and treacherous world of Bombay.
The story takes inspiration from Lin’s real life when he lived ten years of his life in India with a hidden identity after fleeing from Australia. His love for India and its people is remarkable and reflected clearly in his words. With a search for his meaning in life, this book will make you realize that the true meaning of life can be hidden in the darkest corner of the world.
Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search For The Happiest Places in The World by Eric Weiner
The author, Eric Weiner worked as a conflict reporter and was often sent to unhappy and damaged places like Iraq, Indonesia, and Afghanistan. He pondered over the subject of happiness then and realized that he was unhappy as well. So began his quest to find true happiness and bliss. He decided on visiting all the countries he considered happiest. According to his long-term researches and interviews, the happiest places on earth include India, Iceland, and Bhutan. Well, quite unexpected!
Weiner explains why he chose the places that he did and why the people in these particular places are happier than others around the globe. This book is equally funny and philosophical but the bottom line, it inspires you to travel and quench the thirst of your wanderlust!
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown by Paul Theroux
In his book, Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux undertakes a journey to scale the length and breadth of Africa. As he moves forward in his journey, we move forward with him too, Not only does he move about in Africa but he also talks to its residents, the tourists, the missionaries, and even the beggars. Thus, we get a very clear picture of the culture, traditions, history, politics, and beauty of Africa.
The author is not just a traveler but an explorer and a keen learner. He makes his journey through Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt, Malawi, and Shire River. Staying in the comfort of your homes, you can travel to Africa and satisfy your inner wanderlust. That’s the thing about travel books, I believe! The tone of the book is unclear but it is one of the best travel books that available to date.
The Beach by Alex Garland
An intriguing and fun read, this book starts with a backpacker named Richard, in his twenties who decides to travel to Bangkok. He checks into a cheap hostel where he meets a crazy neighbor named Daffy who extensively talks about an island that is prohibited for tourists and located on the outskirts of Thailand. A beach is located on this island which is the definition of paradise. Our protagonist decides to go there with a French couple he met at the hostel with a map as the guide drawn by Daffy.
Though this is one of the best travel books, the suspense, and thrill that this book carries within makes it completely unputdownable. The thrill is unexplainable and the adventure is fantastic. The book is written so well that you will be transported to a completely different land while you read this! Along with Richard, you will feel something within you as well. In the end, you will feel a certain warmth.
If you enjoyed this blog post you will also enjoy our blog on “Best Books by Ruskin Bond”, here.