While this may not be the best time to travel, as India continues to battle the second wave of the dreadful coronavirus, there's always a good time to read. There can't be a better way to feel optimistic in these testing times than reading a good travel book, or two. And what could be a more fitting time to do so, than during this pandemic-induced isolation? We know that it’s just a question of time and one fine day, we'll all get to travel again. But till then, we really need to stay in love with the idea of travelling and keep our spirits high.
Here are five travel books that will fuel your wanderlust right away.
The Art of Travel, Allain de Botton
We all know when and where to travel but Botton tells us why we must. The book is not a travelogue, neither a travel guide. It, in fact, talks about how travelling can mould our minds forever. It has more to do with an individual’s psychology with regards to travelling. The writer encourages readers to develop a better understanding and appreciation for travel through poetry and writings from travel philosophers, and through his own experiences.
In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson
What happens when one of the best travel writers of all times takes a trip to the sunny land of Australia? The book records Bryson’s experience of meeting friendly Australians. He writes about the hot and arid climate of the country, its dangerous wildlife, chilled beer and sun-soaked landscapes. Bryson’s humorous descriptions of his experiences will have you in splits!
The Great Railway Bazaar, Paul Theroux
Theroux continues to be the bar by which other travel writers are judged. A contemporary classic of travel literature, the book highlights Theroux’s rail journeys in Asia. The super engrossing book was first published in 1975.
The travel writer’s sharp observations and detailed descriptions about the people he met during his sojourns, lend the book its unputdownable quailty. The book is high on humor and makes for mandatory reading for discerning travellers.
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, Eric Newby
This 1958 book records Newby’s journey from being a fashion executive to conquering an unclimbed peak in the Hindu Kush. The English writer travels around Afghanistan’s Nuristan mountains and scales Mir Samir, a mountain in the remote upper reaches of the Panjshir Valley.
A must-read classic for all adventure lovers and mountaineers, the book effortlessly narrates Newby’s experiences and meetings with the captivating geography and intriguing people of the Hindu Kush.
In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin
The book maps Chatwin’s account of his experiences in South America’s Patagonia. It beautifully takes readers through bits of Patagonia’s history, with vivid descriptions and anecdotes to remember. Chatwin apparently quit his job at a newspaper to travel to Patagonia in 1974 and is said to have sent a telegram to his editor that simply read “Gone to Patagonia.”
This article was first published in June, 2020.