10 Travel Books You Must Read
10. „The Great Railway Bazaar“
Author: Paul Theroux
Paul Theroux is one of the best travel writers out there, and this book shows him at the top of his game. „The Great Railway Bazaar“ is a love song to train travel, with all of its quirks and joys. Theroux rode the rails from London’s Victoria station all the way across Asia, and then returned back west on the trans-Siberian route. Traveling by train gives you a chance to reflect, and move slowly enough to enjoy all the nuance of the land and people, and Theroux captures these experiences beautifully.
9. „In Patagonia“
Author: Bruce Chatwin
One of the seminal books in modern travel writing, Chatwin’s book took the world by storm when it was published in 1977. After seeing a map of Patagonia on the wall of a subject he was interviewing, Chatwin impulsively decided to go there. He spent six months living in Patagonia and writing about his experiences in the rugged and beautiful land.
8. „Seven Years in Tibet“
Author: Heinrich Harrer
This book received a lot of notoriety when it was made into a movie featuring Brad Pitt, but it still remains an excellent and compelling read on its own. During WWII, Harrer was detained by the British in a prisoner of war camp in India. He and a fellow German officer escape and make their way to Tibet, where they meet and become friends with the Dalai Lama. A fascinating peek into life in Tibet prior to the Chinese occupation.
7. „Travels with Charley“
Author: John Steinbeck
This is another classic road trip book. In 1960, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charley, traveled over 10,000 miles around the United States in a camper looking for what he termed as „the real America.“ The book is filled with anecdotes about the people and country that Steinbeck loved, though he freely admitted that he took liberties with the accuracy of his journey to make his narrative more interesting.
6. „The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific“
Author: J. Maarten Troost
A hilarious and insightful look at what it is like to live in a completely foreign culture as an outsider. The author and his girlfriend spent two years living on the remote Tarawa atoll in Kiribati. Troost expected a tropical paradise, but learned that things are not always what they seem. Troost’s frustrations and triumphs make for a very appealing read.
5. „The Size of the World: Once Around Without Leaving the Ground“
Author: Jeff Greenwald
Greenwald decides to circumnavigate the globe without ever leaving the ground to, as he puts it, „to return to the place he started from with a different perspective.“ How he manages to complete his mission by foot, train, ship, and bus is true escapist journey.
4. „Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape“
Author: Barry Lopez
One of the best travel books about a virtually unknown part of the world, the vast arctic wilderness. The author, Lopez, traveled to the Arctic several times and compiled his adventures into this beautiful homage to the great white north.
3. „Blue Highways: A Journey into America“
Author: William Least Heat-Moon
When he loses both his career and his marriage on the same day, William Least Heat-Moon decided he needed to get away and reevaluate his life. He decides to travel America on its back roads, which are blue on the map he takes with him on his journey. A thought-provoking book about journeys both internal and external.
2.“Full Circle: One Man’s Journey by Air, Train, Boat and Occasionally Very Sore Feet around the 50,000 Miles of the Pacific Rim“
Author: Michael Palin
You know that someone who was a founding member of Monty Python must be funny, but what is wonderful about Palin’s writing is that he is not only full of laughter, but that he also brings a childlike sense of wonder and awe at all the things he experiences. His true joy and sense of humor come through in this description of his 50,000 mile journey all the way around the Pacific Rim from Siberia all the way around to Alaska again.
1. „On the Road“
Author: Jack Kerouac
Widely considered one of the most influential books of the 20th century, „On the Road“ is a novel based on a road trip taken by the author during the early 1950’s. The book captures the joy of being young, free and with nowhere to go, and instigated the beginning of the „beat“ movement of the 1950’s. A true classic of the travel genre.