We long our whole lives for things we have never known, places we’ve never been. Perhaps that’s the reason we all have this unending thirst to travel.
For me travelling always have been at two levels, one where I am actually feeling the land under my feet, the wind caressing my skin, the whole vibe of the place embedding within me, meeting interesting people and exploring the food of the region.
And the other where I travelled in my imaginations, to the places that I had heard about through stories and books.
While the current corona situation has managed to lock us down physically but it cannot lock down the traveller from travelling using his or her imagination. You can still be in the land that you want.
To add fodder to fuel, here are 7 travel books that you can get on kindle (since nobody is going to deliver the books now) to quench your travel thirst while at home.
1. The Art of Travel – by Alain de Botton
This book is about How & Why to travel. The author talks about how when we travel to a new place we don’t live in that place. In this book when he gets to Barbados, a stunning place on earth, he is worried about petty things. He also has an argument with his girlfriend about puddings and the whole day is spoilt. Then the question arises, Why? Why in such exotic surrounding should we be assailed by the same old woes?
The answer, he suggests, is that we do not do it well – we are sadly ignorant of the art of travel. The travel industry is quick to tell us where to go but not how and why. With the aid of a team of dead painters and poets, aesthetes and Romantics, de Botton explores this very modern malaise.
2. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road – by Kate Harris
This book is about a woman who despite having a degree in science and a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, she disliked spending her days in a laboratory so much that she turned herself into an explorer.
This book talks about the famous Silk Road – from Turkey thru the “Stans” of Central Asia to Tibet and Western China. And how she feels each moment while doing this trip. The book is packed with insights on why we travel. Interestingly this book has no photos but you can feel the place through her writing.
3. The Dogs of ’Nam: Stories from the Road and Lessons Learned Abroad, by Christopher K. Oldfield
The Dogs of Nam is a collection of short stories from over a decade of world travel. Part clueless comedy, part poetic observation, The Dogs of Nam is a meditation on what it means to be a traveller. Follow along as Chris fumbles his way through life as a budget backpacker, illuminating the lessons he has learned along the way. This is no glamorous tale of wanderlust, but a true and honest accounting of what it means to be a traveller – to connect, to explore, to let go. With tales of being stalked by a jaguar in Costa Rica to living at a Buddhist monastery in Japan, The Dogs of Nam will, at worst, entertain you, and at best, it will prod you into an adventure of your own.
4. Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will – by Judith Schalansky
As a tourist, you might not like this one but as a traveller, you will definitely love this. This book simultaneously entices us with detailed discoveries and dissuades us with stark images of distant parts of the world. Each of the featured islands is presented with the land’s vital statistics, including an intriguing timeline of human interaction, facing a delicately drawn map. A brief poetic essay follows, with tales of rare wildlife, accidental discoveries of abandoned hopes.
If you are a traveller who prides in finding less-travelled corners of the globe, this book humbles as much as it inspires.
5. Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town – by Paul Theroux
This book “Dark Star Safari” shows a deeper, more vibrant side of the African continent, as the author shares what happens on a road trip from Cairo to Cape Town. Africa as a continent is so much misunderstood, but this book throws light to how is life beyond the African safaris.
6. Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents – by Elisabeth Eaves
Written by Elisabeth Eaves, this book follows her journeys around the world as she satiates her wanderlust and learns about herself. The book follows her from being a student studying abroad to being a backpacker around the world to living in Pakistan and Australia. Along the way, she comes to peace with the wanderlust inside her and figures out how to balance being a nomad and someone with roots.
7. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to The World of Food and the Pople Who Cook – by Anthony Bourdain
When it comes to Anthony Bourdain, there is a special place for him among all the travellers who love food. In this book, you can feel that travel changed Anthony Bourdain. It opened his eyes to a world that was forgiving and kind, to a world of people less fortunate than him, but who was happier than he could ever be, and it taught him the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone as a means to growth.
Hopefully, this list has given you some inspiration to beef up your travel reading list.
Meanwhile, I have been oscillating between world history, future world and start-up books but naturally, travel books are on the top of my list. Every time I put down a travel book, I am left inspired, and often just itching to pack my bags and go. Then I look outside and say ‘Go Corona Go’
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