I always take a book along on my travels – it helps me get through car, train and plane rides. I’m always told that I’ll never read when I’m on a trip but somehow I find the time, even if it just for a few chapters. In doing so, there are certain books that I can associate with certain trips.
My top 10 ultimate travel books – that have given me serious wanderlust and jerked the emotion within, are:
1. The Time Travelers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
This book was gifted to me a few years ago. I re-read it a few times, since i did not get the full gist of the book the first time I read it. However, it has become one of my favorite reads over the years. The scenario is mystifying in which Clare meets Henry, who she has known for many years however, Henry has no idea who Clare is. As the story develops, we begin to understand that Henry time-travels from Clare’s past to her future and vice versa. The pair fall in love in Clare’s past and continue with their love affair in both their futures. The book is a tangled hot mess and warms the cockles of your heart in the sweetest – most nerve wrecking way!
2. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway (1926)
The story follows a group of Americans and British who travel from Paris, France to Pamplona, Spain to experience the Festival of San Fermin and watch the running with the bulls. The main plot revolves around a love story with sordid details between Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley, who is also involved with Robert and Romero, while being engaged to Mike. While entertaining the sexual nature of the female lead, the novel also lets you travel with the characters – through Spain and Spanish culture!
3. Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes (1996)
Frances Mayes wrote a memoir of buying, renovating and living in an old, neglected villa in Cortona, Tuscany. She embarks on a marvelous journey in a new place, discovering a new way of live. She finds unexpected gems but not without unexpected restoration terrors. The story follows the joys and frustrations of investing in a restoration project, and adjusting to live in a new country. It has its share of laughs and emotion and makes for a good, simple read.
4. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
This memoir chronicles the travels of author, Elizabeth Gilbert, post-divorce. She initiated the divorced and then began a romance which left her devastated. After which, she spends a year travelling through Italy, India and Indonesia. Italy focuses on the Eat, India on the Pray or spirituality and Indonesia focuses on the Love aspect where she falls in love with a businessman. The book gives great detail in what to expect in each of these countries and the struggles of a woman finding some balance in life.
5. The Beach – Alex Garland (1996)
A backpacker escapes live through travel and goes in search of an isolated, untouched beach in Thailand. The book follows his time within a small community of backpackers. Richard befriends many people and makes some enemies during his journey as the story unfolds. He joins the community which is eventually found out with the characters receiving beatings (some to death). It makes for an interesting read with some suspense.
6. Becoming Oydssa – Jennifer Pharr Davis (2010)
Jennifer sets out alone to hike the Appalachian Trail, after graduating from college – against her family’s wishes. She does so in anticipation that it will bring clarity on what she should do next. The subculture of the hiking trail brings about a trail name, hiker dwellings and trail etiquette. The journey is filled with unforeseen compassion, hospitality, and banter. Jennifer also learns that when something goes wrong unexpectedly can rely on other people to help her in times of need.
7. The Art of Travel – Alain de Botton (2002)
This book questions the point and purpose of travel – giving it a deeper meaning than just what it is. It brings about the intelligence of travel dabbling in airports, foreign romance, museums, photographs and hotels. This book is a must-read for anyone even slightly interested in the world of travel!
8. My Life in France – Julia Child (2006)
The book is a detailed chronology of the life of Julia Child, accompanied by monochrome pictures, poems, letters, and sketches. The book is divided into different parts – Part 1 details her life and memories of France including amazing french recipes. Part 2 focuses on French cuisine for American cooks. This book shows the contrast of diverse backgrounds and is filled with wonderful insights into her life. A brilliant read for a travelling foodie!