“That’s the thing about books, they let you travel without moving your feet”Jhumpa Lahiri
I’m an avid reader, a keen traveller and I think combined, you can create absolute magic. Travel is more than just a trip – it’s a chance to visit places of the world you’d normally forget existed, experience incredibly diverse cultures and gives you an opportunity to really connect with another country’s history. With travel destinations on a hold, there’s no reason why you can’t let your mind wander away, even if our feet can’t chase up yet. Here are our top 5 books that will transport you to the other side of the world through their varying stories. Choose one of the below and fuel your wanderlust urge before you can jump on that travel bandwagon again.
1Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
You’ve probably seen or heard of the film ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ starring Julia Roberts and it’s based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, who documented her journey of solo exploration to Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and Indonesia (Love) following her difficult divorce. I first watched this film on a flight to start my OWN round the world trip, and was so completely transfixed by the story mirroring my own that the book was an obvious must read – and did not disappoint.
2First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
There are really no words to describe this book. The emotional journey you take with Loung Ung’s personal account of her experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime is horrific and powerful. I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until reading this book and later watching the film, directed by Angelina Jolie, that I learnt about the Cambodian genocide. That’s the thing with books – it takes you to the place of history, tells the story and when you travel there, the words come to life. It was based on this story that I decided to visit Cambodia – and here I met Bou Meng, a survivor of this tortureous regime. It was one of the most incredible moments of my entire trip and I urge you to read this book. You can read about my experience meeting Bou Meng here.
3The Edge of Never by J.A Redmerski
YOU HAVE TO READ THIS NOVEL – apologies for the excited caps lock. If you’re looking for a new, addictive storyline to immerse yourself in this summer, this comes highly recommended. ‘The Edge of Never’ depicts a young twenty year old in search of finding herself on a sporadic road trip, where she meets an exciting man who encourages her to push boundaries. Combining friendship, love, lust, living in the moment and challenging insecurities – despite being complete strangers – this book was hard to put down, and relatable in many ways.
4Where To Go When by Lonely Planet
A gorgeously illustrated book offering extremely useful travel tips to those who want to book their next adventure – or simply just a beatiful guide to read for those that just want to travel from their couch, The book is divided into 12 chapters detailing which country to visit and when and covers every type of trip – from relaxing holidays to off the beaten track destinations. Plus, it’s Lonely Planet – they’re the kings and queens of travel, so you’ve got a solid, trustworthy source there.
5Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Did I cry whilst reading this? Yes. Why? Well, it’s raw, painful and yet uplifiting in ways I can’t describe. Cheryl writes about her impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State – alone, with no experience and no idea if she would make it until the end. Following the death of her mother and her marriage collapse, ‘Wild’ is Cheryl’s powerful memoir that takes you through the wonderful sights of the PCT, accompanying her through her personal journey of grief and survival to achieve the unachievable. It was made into a film starring Reece Witherspoon, so make sure you watch this afterwards!
Which books take you to the other side of the world?