10 Travel Books to Read

When you’re young, you should travel the world. But if you can’t, the next-best thing is to immerse yourself in the accounts of other people who did. So whether you’re looking for inspiration or content in your armchair, here are 10 travel books to add to your reading list.

1. Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

You’ve probably read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, but where did Mark Twain get the inspiration for these great American classics? You find out in this memoir of Twain’s days as a steamboat captain. Read this for a glimpse into the lost river towns of the Mississipi – it’s a trip through America and through time.

2. In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

In 1974, Bruce Chatwin famously quit his job via telegram and spent 6 months in the South American plains of Patagonia. He then wrote what’s hailed as one of the world’s greatest travel books: a series of 97 vignettes on both Chatwin’s experiences and the region’s folklore. This travelogue has been the subject of some controversy, as Chatwin is accused of fictionalizing some of his tales. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating look at a life far from ours in various ways.

3. A Fork in the Road by Lonely Planet

One of the great joys of travel is all of the weird and amazing dishes you get to eat. A Fork in the Road collects the stories of 34 writers on the memorable meals they’ve had around the world. It’s funny at times and heartbreaking at others, but it will always feed your wanderlust. Just make sure you have a snack on hand.

4. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Think you know Australia? Think again. In this hilarious account, Bill Bryson drives across the enormous continent, venturing far off the beaten path and teaching you all about Australia on the way. Most people know little about Australia because it’s so far away. But it’s a country rich in both history and deadly animals, and you’ll walk away from Bryson’s book understanding a little more why people spend 20 hours flying there.

5. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

In the 1970s, Paul Theroux spent 4 months traveling from London to Southeast Asia and back again. Why did it take that long? Because he traveled on some of the world’s fabled trains, like the Mandalay Express. Despite its title, this book is much more about the people Theroux meets than the places he go to. But you can learn a lot about a country by its people.

6. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Some travel books make you crave a plane ticket to anywhere. But Endurance is about what happens when those plans go awry, as it recounts what happened to Ernest Shackleton and co. when their ship got locked in Antarctic ice in 1915. The bravery of these men will inspire you is a thrilling adventure on its own. And it’s one that’ll make you happy for the safety of your armchair.

7. The Places in Between by Rory Stewart

Walking across Afghanistan in January 2002, just after the Taliban fell and when there are 3 feet of snow and wolves in the mountains, sound downright suicidal. But that didn’t stop Rory Stewart. Follow along as meets people from all walks of life and even picks up a canine companion along the way. Unlike most travel writers, Stewart rarely speaks of himself. Instead, he focuses on the people and the sights he encounters, letting us come to our own conclusions about this often-misunderstood nation.

8. A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts

If you need a push to start on your own journey of a lifetime, you need to read this book. James Holman was a 19th-century explorer who didn’t let his blindness or the lack of a global tourism industry stop him. Among his many other achievements, Holman fought slavery in Africa, helped chart the Australian outback and even circumnavigated the globe. Jason Roberts’ biography brings back to life a man who should never have been forgotten – and who will make all your travel difficulties seem comparatively tiny.

9. The Beach by Alex Garland

The Beach might be fiction, but it’s still an excellent travel read. Protagonist Alex heads to Thailand in search of gorgeous beaches, but instead finds a secret community of expats. It’s scary and thrilling and will remind you that even the most beautiful places can be steeped in unpleasantries.

10. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner

Want to go around the world and learn something? Follow along with Eric Weiner as he searches for what happiness means and how people get there in some of the world’s happiest (and unhappiest) countries. This book will help you realize just how alike we all really are – and isn’t that one of the beauties of traveling, anyway?

What’s your favorite travel book? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: Y. Duarte via Compfight cc

When you’re young, you should travel the world. But if you can’t, the next-best thing is to immerse yourself in the accounts of other people who did. So whether you’re looking for inspiration or content in your armchair, here are 10 travel books to add to your reading list.

1. Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

You’ve probably read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, but where did Mark Twain get the inspiration for these great American classics? You find out in this memoir of Twain’s days as a steamboat captain. Read this for a glimpse into the lost river towns of the Mississipi – it’s a trip through America and through time.

2. In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

In 1974, Bruce Chatwin famously quit his job via telegram and spent 6 months in the South American plains of Patagonia. He then wrote what’s hailed as one of the world’s greatest travel books: a series of 97 vignettes on both Chatwin’s experiences and the region’s folklore. This travelogue has been the subject of some controversy, as Chatwin is accused of fictionalizing some of his tales. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating look at a life far from ours in various ways.

3. A Fork in the Road by Lonely Planet

One of the great joys of travel is all of the weird and amazing dishes you get to eat. A Fork in the Road collects the stories of 34 writers on the memorable meals they’ve had around the world. It’s funny at times and heartbreaking at others, but it will always feed your wanderlust. Just make sure you have a snack on hand.

4. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Think you know Australia? Think again. In this hilarious account, Bill Bryson drives across the enormous continent, venturing far off the beaten path and teaching you all about Australia on the way. Most people know little about Australia because it’s so far away. But it’s a country rich in both history and deadly animals, and you’ll walk away from Bryson’s book understanding a little more why people spend 20 hours flying there.

5. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

In the 1970s, Paul Theroux spent 4 months traveling from London to Southeast Asia and back again. Why did it take that long? Because he traveled on some of the world’s fabled trains, like the Mandalay Express. Despite its title, this book is much more about the people Theroux meets than the places he go to. But you can learn a lot about a country by its people.

6. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Some travel books make you crave a plane ticket to anywhere. But Endurance is about what happens when those plans go awry, as it recounts what happened to Ernest Shackleton and co. when their ship got locked in Antarctic ice in 1915. The bravery of these men will inspire you is a thrilling adventure on its own. And it’s one that’ll make you happy for the safety of your armchair.

7. The Places in Between by Rory Stewart

Walking across Afghanistan in January 2002, just after the Taliban fell and when there are 3 feet of snow and wolves in the mountains, sound downright suicidal. But that didn’t stop Rory Stewart. Follow along as meets people from all walks of life and even picks up a canine companion along the way. Unlike most travel writers, Stewart rarely speaks of himself. Instead, he focuses on the people and the sights he encounters, letting us come to our own conclusions about this often-misunderstood nation.

8. A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts

If you need a push to start on your own journey of a lifetime, you need to read this book. James Holman was a 19th-century explorer who didn’t let his blindness or the lack of a global tourism industry stop him. Among his many other achievements, Holman fought slavery in Africa, helped chart the Australian outback and even circumnavigated the globe. Jason Roberts’ biography brings back to life a man who should never have been forgotten – and who will make all your travel difficulties seem comparatively tiny.

9. The Beach by Alex Garland

The Beach might be fiction, but it’s still an excellent travel read. Protagonist Alex heads to Thailand in search of gorgeous beaches, but instead finds a secret community of expats. It’s scary and thrilling and will remind you that even the most beautiful places can be steeped in unpleasantries.

10. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner

Want to go around the world and learn something? Follow along with Eric Weiner as he searches for what happiness means and how people get there in some of the world’s happiest (and unhappiest) countries. This book will help you realize just how alike we all really are – and isn’t that one of the beauties of traveling, anyway?

What’s your favorite travel book? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: Y. Duarte via Compfight cc

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