I’ve started this series for two reasons:
- I simply love to read and felt like I hadn’t been reading enough lately.
- There are always people who will know more about a certain subject than I do. Maybe they have experienced something I haven’t or maybe they’re an expert in something that I’ve only recently started dipping your toes in. I want to learn from them. And I want you to be able to learn from them too.
So this is a series for those who love to read about travel and for those who want to learn some tricks to make travel a bigger part of their lives. I still have a pile of books I want to share with you, but before I do that, why not have a look at what other travel bloggers are reading?
I’ve contacted some of the top travel bloggers out there and asked them what travel book has had a big impact on them, moved them or inspired them.
Here’s what they said.
“Although far from a travel guide or even a memoir, I’m currently devouring the book Shantaram, which is stoking my desire to visit India. It’s about an Aussie convict who escapes prison and makes it to Bombay, where he lives the most local of local lives; he stays in a local country town, learns two Indian languages, lives in a Bombay slum for a while, starts a free medical clinic, gets thrown in an Indian prison, becomes a mafia man, acts in Bollywood, and even becomes a freedom fighter. (And I haven’t even finished the book yet). The best part: it’s based on a true story. Well worth the read!”
– Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo –
“Broken into 80 bite-size chapters, Hotel Honolulu feels more like an epic short story collection than your typical travel tale — and unsurprisingly, it is one of Paul Theroux’s lesser known works. But it is one of my favorites. If there is a common thread that holds these stories together, it is a somewhat depressing one — discontentment, disappointing circumstances, and the idea of a paradise lost. “That’s why I like the name you gave the bar — Paradise Lost — because the only place that can truly be hell is the one that was once Paradise,” explains one of the hotel’s loyal barmen in a line that stayed with me long past the final page.”
– Alexandra Baackes, Alex In Wanderland –
“My favorite travel related book is the frankly brilliant Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, telling the tale of poor Arthur Dent, who has a life of intergalactic travel thrust upon him after his world is destroyed one morning. It’s hilariously written, and will certainly seem familiar to anyone who has left a normal life behind in search of adventure, encountering new cultures, sights and tastes on the way. Essential travel reading, even if your voyage doesn’t include a spaceship.”
– Laurence from Finding The Universe –
“Watermark by Joseph Brodsky reads like pretty poetry but it’s all prose. It’s a collection of Brodsky’s stories from all the times he visited Venice. As an exile from the Soviet Union, Brodsky lived in the U.S. but, like many travelers before him, fell in love with Venice. Reading this book, it’s hard not to either. He goes on and on about singular moments in time: short chapters on everything from a chance meeting with a stranger to the city’s stunning architecture. In every chapter he seems to fall in love with the city yet again. And if you’ve been to Venice before, you’ll know just what he’s talking about.”
– Adam from Travels of Adam –
“The book that has had the most profound impact on my life is Miles From Nowhere by Barbara Savage. Barbara and her husband decided to head out to see the world from the seats of bicycles and spent the next two years pedaling around the world. She doesn’t sugarcoat her journey at all, but her descriptions awakened a sense of wonder within me – and I headed out on my bike as soon as I could.”
– Nancy from Family on Bikes –
“The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver isn’t a typical travel book — it’s a novel set in London as seen through the eyes of an American expat happy to assimilate. She picks up British slang, goes for curries, does her shopping at Borough Market. While it tells the story of two what-could-have-beens — the one where she stays with her fellow expat American partner, who refuses to adapt to British life, and the one where she leaves him for their London-born friend, a professional snooker athlete — her life in London takes center stage.
I’ve never been struck so much by characters in a book as in this one — I thought of Irina, Ramsey and Lawrence every day for months after finishing it. And being an American expat in London myself — as author Lionel Shriver is — I found it moving to read such a realistic depiction of life here.”
– Kate from Adventurous Kate –
“One of the most influential books in my travel life was Hawaii by James Michener. His style is of course telling the detailed history of places around the world through fictional accounts, first person stories that mirror the times the live in. Reading “Hawaii” opened the world of the Pacific islanders and Polynesians and I was immediately hooked. From that moment as a ten year old boy living in middle-America, I knew that one day I just had to see both Hawaii and the further afield South Pacific for myself. I’ve made my Hawaiian dreams come true, but I still pine after an exploration of the South Pacific. Just to recapture that remarkable spirit of exploration Michener captures so very well.”
– Matt from LandLopers –
“When I was in my first year of university, I became obsessed with a book called The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The book isn’t about travel directly – it’s about history and vampires and mystery and a few other things – but one of its main “characters” is Eastern Europe. The story takes place in destinations like Budapest and Istanbul and Sofia. The characters search for clues in Bulgarian monasteries and Romanian villages. And from the first time I read it, I wanted to visit those places.
My first trip to Europe was in 2012. And my first destination? Budapest, Hungary. I skipped Paris and London and Rome, and opted instead to go east. I spent nearly three weeks traveling through Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, and ended up in Istanbul. I saw many of the cities and places mentioned in “The Historian,” and it was one of the best trips of my life! “
– Amanda from A Dangerous Business –
Well, I know I’ll put some of these books on my reading list! How about you?
Or maybe you’ve read some of them already?
For more inspiration, check out my travel book reviews.