Everybody dreams of traveling the world. Experiencing new places, seeing new sights and meeting new people, a life where every day is a new adventure and you’re never in the same place doing the same thing twice. It’s the ultimate dream of all dreams, it’s the kind of life you only see in movies or on social media. Usually this lifestyle is unobtainable, as it requires a life full of no responsibilities, no deadlines, or commitments and limitless funds – however we found a loop in the system. A way to achieve all this and still keep all your commitments and obligations (yay?)- now you can have the best of both worlds through the magical world of books. Yip books. Whether you’re actually jet setting around the world or you’re staying at home with your feet planted safely on the ground books hold the power to take you anywhere. With each turn of the page awaits a new experience, a new lesson a new friend and every chapter a new adventure.
So this summer leave forget about catching planes, trains and cars and buses, forget layovers, delays and lines (lots of them) and sojourn the world through the world’s greatest travel books.
The Alchemist | Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is one of the most read books in recent history and is a must read for all dreamers and believers out there. A story about purpose and about following your dreams., make it the perfect book to start your travels through pages. The story follows a young shepherd boy from Spain to Egypt as he follows his heart, and learns about love and the meaning of life through his adventures. The book is inspiring and uplifting and will always leave you wanting more. It will undoubtedly move you and transport you to a place of profound meaning and self-connection. It holds everything a great travel adventures teaches with you within the confines of its pages.
Quote: “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
The Beach | Alex Garland
The Beach and The Alchemist sit side by side on the shelve of the greatest travel books – yet for different reasons. The beach is about backpacker Richard and his quest to do something different, something off the beaten track, to search for an escape from the normalcy of the world. It’s hard to not identify with Richard as he searches for what can only be described as a ‘paradise’. However, the books subtle turn ultimately reveals paradise to be a mere illusion and how the search for something so ideal can potentially ruin that ideal. It’s a different perspective on the power of travel, it teaches you that you don’t always have to go out looking for paradise and that sometime paradise is in the things we least expect. It’s a captivating read for all those idyllic dreamers who wish of a life in paradise, one that’s riddled with adventures and out the box experiences.
Quote: “Escape through travel works. Almost from the moment I boarded my flight, life in England became meaningless. Seat-belt signs lit up, problems switched off. Broken armrests took precedence over broken hearts. By the time the plane was airborne I’d forgotten England even existed.”
― Alex Garland, The Beach
The Geography of Bliss | Eric Weiner
Travel is often sought out as a solution to happiness, to profound fulfillment and the discovery of purpose and well it often puts the pursuit of happiness into perspective it is not the always the final answer. Writer Eric Weiner set out on a yearlong journey to find the world’s happiest places in the world. Looking to find an answer to society’s happiness His quest makes for a fascinating and lighthearted read, one that provided some interesting insights, cultural experiences and interesting interaction with locals across various parts of the globe.
Quote: “[Happiness is] a ghost, it’s a shadow. You can’t really chase it. It’s a by-product, a very pleasant side effect to a life lived well.”
― Eric Weiner, The Geography of Bliss
Seven Ages of Paris | Alistair Horne
Paris is the most romantic most visited city in the world. However, what makes the streets of this city so desirable to people of all walks of life. The Seven Ages of Paris deciphers this question, highlighting the main influential periods of Parisian history – from the early middle ages to the wake of the 2oth century. This book gives unrivaled insights into how Paris became the capital city of romance, culture and art in our world today. Although the book is very dense with information and interesting facts, it will be hard to put down as your appreciation for the wonderful city only grows as you wander the streets of Paris back in time to where it all began.
Quote: “She is a woman. I mean she is female. And she is not just any female. She is of colossal fame. A mythical female she is. And yet she is well alive and exists today. Because she has more presence than you or I have. I am talking about resplendent Paris.”
― Alistair Horne, The Seven Ages of Paris
The Kite Runner | Khaled Hosseini
The Kite -Runner has become a beloved classic, both in at outside of the travel circle. Set behind a backdrop of Afghanistan history over the last thirty years The Kite Runner is about the heartbreaking story of an unlikely friendship between a wealth boy and the son his father’s servant. The book deals with themes of love, loss and redemption, as well as the exploration of power, sacrifice and lies. This book is breathtakingly beautiful and impossible to put down.
Quote: “Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.”
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
A Golden Age |Tahmima Anam
Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Ages tells a story through the eyes of one family. It is a story of passion, revolution, hope and unexpected heroism. It’s a story that revolves around our choices, their impact and effect on our lives. Everyone must make them, everyone from the student protestors, the county leaders, soldiers and even the everyday man. The chaos of this era and of the novel are encompassing and you can’t help but become emotionally invested in Rehana Haque, her family and her life.
Quote: “Her hands on the harmonium were delicate, square-tipped, her bitten-down nails paying homage to the seriousness of the task; her brows were knitted together in the service of the song, and in the end, it was only to the music that she was bound.”
― Tahmima Anam, A Golden Age
The Quest for Christa T. | Christa Wolf
One of David Bowies top 100 must reads The Quest for Christa T. is a beautiful novel based on the seemly unexceptional life of Christa T, who lives during the height of communist East Germany. However, somewhere between the lines of Christa’s conformity and the things left unsaid lies the true story, the true life of Christa T. The book inspires courage and breaks taboos, it’s riddled with integrity and a deep moral concern. Its historic but provides insights and value applicable to the present and future generations.
Quote: “The happy times of pristine thinking and open minds, always favorable for beginnings, belonged now to the past, and we knew it.”
― Christa Wolf, The Quest for Christa T.
Things Fall Apart | Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart is a modern-day classic, a book that exceeds expectation and is forever insightful and relevant. The novel follows the life of an African man, Okonkwo, an Igbo leader of the fictional Nigerian Village Umuofia. The novel can be divided into three parts. Part one, divulging into Igbo’s family, personal history and the customers of his society and his village. The second and third part of the novel introduces the influence of British Colonialism and Christian missionaries within the Igbo community. The novel deals with themes such as the struggle between tradition and innovation (change), interpretations of masculinity, language and execution of innovation. This is book is a must read and will undoubtedly change you and your perspective to one of enlightenment and understanding and especially the plight of many in colonial Africa.
Quote: “There is no story that is not true, […] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.”
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
To Kill A Mockingbird | Harper Lee
You have to read To Kill a Mockingbird, it is deeply moving, dramatic, nail biting and compassionate. It is the unforgettable tale of a sleepy southern town and the crisis of conscience which changed it forever. Unraveling the roots of human behavior to reveal a kindness and cruelty, love and hate, innocence and experience. It will make you laugh and cry and change the way you see the world and the people who live in it. It is one of the greatest American novels ever written and promises to take you on an all enthralling journey of love and enlightenment. The novel deals with big themes such as the coexistence of good and evil, the importance of moral education and the existence of social inequality.
Quote: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Hunter S. Thompson
A story of a weekend long road trip that epitomizes American pop-culture, a road trip that captures one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken. The poetic words of Hunter S Thompson best chronicle the drug-induced, addled-brained, absurd moments ever committed on printed paper in a way like no one else before. The book is an adventure of a lifetime and you often find yourself whirling around a world of mixed reality with a fear of no return. The story is just as captivating as it is exhilarating.
Quote: “Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
No matter where in the world you want to be, or what you want to see, whether it be a magical African Safari, or a trip to the sea; a trip to the past or a glimpse into what could be books have the power to transport you and transend you to new worlds – each as wonderful and weird as our own, filled with great insights and never ending adventures. With books your possibilities are endless and through them you can have everything you always dreamed of and more.