After fixing all of the planes securely on the ground and throwing all of our travel plans up in the air, COVID-19 has really made a mess of our adventurous explorations this year! As most of us will be staying home over the holiday season, there’s no better time to fall head first into these travel books. They will have you feeling like you’ve gone on adventure from the comfort of home.
by Jack London
If you have a thing for wolves or dogs, this is the book for you. It’s filled with descriptive scenes of the beautiful Canadian wilderness and focussed on the mysterious nature of wolves. The untamable nature of the wild, the destructive actions of man and the glorious friendship between man and dog. All of London’s tales are heart wrenching and filled with lessons about survival, friendship, struggle, loss and the power of a resilient spirit.
by Ernest Hemmingway
No doubt most of you have swooned over the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and charming streets of Paris while binge watching Netflix these last few months. But, move over Emily in Paris, Mr Hemmingway is here. Set in the golden years of the 1920s, A Movable Feast is Hemmingway’s creative memoir. It’s about his years living as a journalist and emerging writer in Paris. Through the imaginative way in which he captures his memories of time squandered drinking with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, talking art, sex and books with Gertrude Stein and simpy lolling the day away in quint cafes in the picturesque streets of Paris. There is no way you can read this book without checking airline fares to the city of love.
by Yossi Ghinsberg
Few travel books, will make your heart race as much as this harrowing true tale of Yossi Ghinsberg’s time in the jungle. What started as four friends’ trip into the Bolivian jungle in search of adventure and gold, quickly turned into a tale of terror, struggle, misfortune and misery. Ghinsberg found himself separated from the group and left to survive alone in an uncharted area of the Amazon. Without any gear, survival equipment or food, Ghinsberg overcame flash floods, stalking predators and even rotting feet. Jungle is a detailed and descriptive retelling of his terrifying experiences and lessons learnt lost in one of the wildest places on earth.
by Per J Anderson
This was the winner of the Marco Polo Outstanding General Travel Themed Book Of The Year in 2018. So, it’s easy to see why this story of enduring and long distance love has crept into the hearts of many. From the colourful descriptions of the small village in eastern India where PK grew up amongst elephants, elusive tigers, swirling insects and birdsong, to the many landscapes and faces he met cycling, walking and hitch hiking the 4000 miles along the ‘hippy trail’ from India to Sweden, every page of this book with have you ready to book your seat on the next flight to India. And of course, he did all of this to be with his Lotta. Who can resist a story with the perfect mixture of adventure, culture, history, adversity, success and love? Not me.
by Ernest Hemmingway
Yes yes, another Hemmingway made it onto the travel books list, but you’ll thank me later. This book is a blink into Hemmingway’s travels to Spain in 1925 for the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona. With the story’s characters based on real people in Hemingway’s circle, some of them famous in their own right, and the action is based on real events. As you read, you cannot help but fall in love with the tranquil Spanish countryside. The excitement of the running of the bulls and the brutality of the fights both inside and outside of Pamplona’s famous bull rings. If you are planning a trip to Spain, make sure to pack a copy of this captivating novel in your carry-on.
by Joy Adamson
No travel-inspired booklist will ever be complete without a story set in Africa. If the main character is a lion, all the better. In Born Free, Joy Adamson tells her true story of raising a lion cub named Elsa on the wide and dusty plains of Kenya. Although I in no way support the idea of wild animals being taken from the wild and kept as pets, Elsa’s circumstances were exceptional. Her story, personality, antics and legacy led to a new era in wildlife conservation in Africa. Full of laughs, sadness, wonderful descriptions of life in Africa and a true passion for the protection of wildlife. Adamson really hit the mark with this stunning story.
by Bram Stoker
Forget about his castle nestled in the snow-capped mountains of Transylvania. As you read, rather fall in love with a little town called Whitby. Overlooked by the ruin of Whitby Abbey which is “a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits,” wrote Bram Stoker in Dracula, the famous novel about the vampire by the same name. Perched next to a somber and deteriorating St Mary’s church graveyard on the hillside overlooking the terracotta roofs, whitewashed walls and grey cobbled streets, the Whitby Abbey has long been one of the most iconic images in Stoker’s Gothic novel and is actually a very real, visitable place. Set on the northeast coast of England, Whitby is where the ghastly villain allegedly first made footfall on British soil. Today it is one of the most quintessential English seaside towns that should definitely be on your UK to-do list.
by Stephen Fry
You’ll have to look far and wide to find more love, lust, war, murder and incredible adventures than captured in Greek mythology. Stephen Fry’s witty retelling of the antics of the ancient deities and their interesting offspring is a masterpiece. Through exceptional dialogue, great imagery and a whole lot of hilarious humor, Mythos allows the reader to explore ancient Greece. Its mythology through the escapades of Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Aphrodite and Athena, amongst many others, in a fun, modern and interesting way. While reading Mythos is fine, for a premium experience, get yourself the audiobook version where Fry narrates the book himself. It is exceptional.
by Leo Tolstoy
Probably one of the most famous examples of classical Russian literature, War and Peace follows the trials and tribulations of five Russian aristocratic families as they navigate a changing Russia and, in consequence, their beautiful, dirty and rich Russian family life. Expect ball gowns, fabulous parties, death, betrial, complicated family trees, a brutal war and lots of love. You will get to know the rich and desirable Bezukhovs, the Bolkonsky princes and princesses, the romantic Rostovs, the scheming Kuragin family and the poor but ambitious Drubetskoys. But be warned, most published editions of War and Peace are just over 1200 pages, so be ready to put in some long hours with this fantastic story.
by Sir David Attenborough
Basically the face of a global movement to protect nature, stop global warming and save our sorry asses from a mass self-induced extinction event. Sir David Attenborough is more than just a pretty voice. In this memoir, join the world’s most famous naturalist as he travels back in time to when he, as a young man. He got the chance of a lifetime to travel the world in search of the strangest, fastest, biggest and creepiest of crawlies alive. In the process he not only fell in love with the natural world, but allowed us to do so too.
by Peter Frankopan
If you prefer facts over fiction, Frankopan’s new version of the history of the world in The Silk Roads is the best of these travel books for you. A pretty meaty read, get your brain ready to see the world with new eyes. This brilliant historian and storyteller shifts the centre of the world and its history as we know it away from Europe and to the far and exciting East. Fast paced and very factual, you are going to want to have your whits about you when reading this book. I recommend to have your phone close by – you are going to want to Google some things.
by Lonely Planet
We all secretly have this dream to travel to every single country, right? Well, what if I told you that you can do it with a single book right from the comfort of your home? Beautifully put together with exquisite photos, a short but thorough writeup and some really interesting facts. The Travel Book will take you for an express tour through each and every country and will most definitely leave you with a desire for travel you will not shake off soon. This is one of the only travel books you definitely need to take an adventure from home.
I hope this reading list will give you some serious travel fever. Remember to share your favorite travel books with us by tagging #wildbumming on your social media posts!
Any or all of these travel books would make a wonderful gift for your travel loving pal this holiday season! If you’re still wondering what to get them, you can also check out our Gift Ideas for Travel Lovers!
About the Author:
Luzanne is a writer and photographer from sunny Yorkshire who loves sailing, houseplants, pasta and chunky Labradors.