If we can’t vacation at the moment, why not travel through books? We can experience a whole new destination in the comfort of our own homes with the utmost amount of freedom. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and pick up a book!
Books have been a fascinating medium for centuries as they have been the gateway to new destinations long before any other medium. They allow for our minds to freely visualize locations, characters, and more, through the lens of our own creations. Dare we say, the Hogwarts that we imagine is better than what we see in movies!
So whether it is visiting Paris in the 20s or hitchhiking across the US in the 50s, come travel with us through these beautifully written stories! Here are our top books that have allowed us to get lost in the journey of uncovering a new travel destination:
Travel through books: A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
A Moveable Feast is a book that made our already blooming love affair with Paris into an all out obsession. It’s a memoir by Ernest Hemingway about his years as a struggling writer and journalist in the 20’s in Paris. He rubs shoulders with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound to name a few. It also details his relationship with his first wife, Hadley Richardson. This is definitely one of our top picks if you desire to travel through books!
Travel through books: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
“You are everything good and straight and fine and true—and I see that so clearly now, in the way you’ve carried yourself and listened to your own heart. You’ve changed me more than you know, and will always be a part of everything I am. That’s one thing I’ve learned from this. No one you love is ever truly lost.”
Which brings us to our second book, The Paris Wife, which is Hadley Richardson’s account of their relationship and time during the fabled “Lost Generation” in Paris during the 1920’s. Reading these two books back to back paints a beautiful tale of the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. And it’s a soul searing story of love and torn loyalty.
Travel through books: On the Road by Jack Kerouac
“But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”
On the Road has been our favorite during confinement and we’ve found it to be so transporting. You can feel the intensity of the Beat Generation in the years following the Second World War when the youth is grappling with how to live in this new reality after such tragedy. It is a story of trips made by Kerouac and his friends from New York to Denver to San Francisco and LA filled with jazz, poetry and drugs. It reads like a poem of the times, pushing limits and ideas of how life should be lived into new dimensions.
Travel through books: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
“I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
Liz’s epic story is about finding herself unhappy in her ‘perfect’ life and leaving it to travel the world and rediscover herself. Eat, Pray, Love is set in Italy, India and Bali as she seeks to eat, pray and love once again.
Travel through books: In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
“I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains.”
After Chloe’s first trip to Australia, she fell in love with the wildness and beauty of this country and decided to do a deep dive into its history. Bill Bryson is a master of the modern travel essay and mixes humor with facts to create an inspiring book on Australia. In Sunburned Country will prep you for a trip exploring the great Down Under.
Travel through books: The White Album by Joan Didion
“I was not going to Honolulu because I wanted to see life reduced to a short story. I was going to Honolulu because I wanted to see life expanded to a novel, and I still do.”
The White Album is a collection of essays by Joan Didion that takes you through California in the 1960’s and 70’s. It’s a journey through the heart of this iconic place and time in history as social order is disturbed and people search for new meaning and new ways of living after the second world war. She rubs shoulders with the Black Panthers and The Doors and other culture shifters along the way.
Travel through books: Rosy is My Relative by Gerald Durrell
Rosy is my Relative is a story of a young boy who inherits the namesake Elephant, Rosy. What ensues are adventures that take them along with a traveling circus as they fall in and out of trouble throughout the book. It’s more about the journey than the destination. The book shares an insight into how connections develop between man and animal, the lifelong objective of the naturalist/conservationist/author/ television presenter/zookeeper Gerald Durrell.
Travel through books: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
If you have been to Mumbai, you know that it’s a fascinating machine that keeps churning out dream after dream 24/7. It’s the financial centre packed with people who have big hearts but very little time. The contrast between the rich and famous and those taking one day at a time is stark. The energy is palpable in everything from its street food to upscale clubs and from fragrant flower and spice markets to the incredible architecture of old and new. However, when you peel back several layers, you will find the seedy underbelly of a world that coexists. Shantaram captures the essence of that hidden side of Mumbai through the journey of a convicted Australian bank robber who escapes to Mumbai, then Bombay.
Travel through books: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
On the surface, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a children’s or even a young adult’s book. But read through it and you will find that it is timeless. What happens when you find out that the Earth is ending and your only friend is actually a space traveler. Of course you escape and travel the universe. The newly released UFO footage by the government has got us revisiting this collection. When we travel, it’s more about discovering new cultures and people. What can be more shocking than traveling with Aliens.
Travel through books: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
“If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man…Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”
The Alchemist follows a story of Santiago, a young shepard from Spain who travels to Egypt in search of worldly treasures. However, the treasures Santiago finds aren’t precious artifacts within a Pyramid but within himself. Watch Santiago as he learns to go with the flow, listen to his heart, and follow his dreams.
Travel through books: Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche
Escape within Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche, who leaves her world behind when she decides to travel across the South Pacific by sailboat with a man she just met. Sail with Torre as she experiences challenges, beautiful scenery, and romance, on her road to self-discovery.
Travel through books: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle is a truly astonishing memoir that follows Jeannette and her siblings as they travel cross country in search of stability after suffering from a highly dysfunctional upbringing. The title, The Glass Castle, refers to the dream of Jeannette’s father of building his dream home for his family.
Travel through books: The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers
Travel through this book, The Cat Who Went to Paris, and see how Peter Gethers and his cat Norton, an unlikely pairing, travel to Paris, to parties, Fire Island vacations, and business trips around the world. Watch as this friendship is built stronger by undergoing the loss of loved ones, new companionships, new homes, and more.
Travel through books: Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan
Steve Callahan’s, Adrift, is an extreme psychological thriller that puts the reader in the minds of five teenagers lost at sea in the Atlantic. Watch as Matthew, John, Diana and Stef suffer from injuries, starvation, psychological troubles, and deadly secrets.
Books are the leeway in not only exploring vast locations within our own homes, but also in exploring our individuality. With books, we can uncover plots, locations, and characters and connect them back to us. They serve as a form of identity in defining our specific tastes. While one enjoys the descriptions of the Egyptian landscape in The Alchemist, another may enjoy Liz’s adventures in Italy in Eat, Pray, Love. When we travel through books, we discover a unique sense of ourselves. We are also excited to know which books and destinations have caught your attention! Tell us how your experience of a book has shaped your experience of a new destination at firstname.lastname@example.org.