5 travel books to get you in the mood for travelling
"I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world."
-Mary Anne Radmacher
It must be surreal to observe the same moon from another destination of the world, from a place that is unfathomable to you, that for a long time seemed like a stranger. Travelling is, by and large, a dive into the profound realm of the unknown, where you discover pieces of the tiny planet you reside in and your own little soul. Over the years, travel books or specifically travelogues have made an exceptional impact on the literary sphere, compelling a taste of the "other side" with books like A Moveable Feast (Scribner's, 1964) or Into Thin Air (Anchor Books, 1999) setting the bar. Here, we have garnered a list of 5 more travel books to get you in the mood for travelling.
Nabaneeta Deb Sen
Ananda Publishers, 1984
A revolutionary travelogue, and one woman's journey from the North Indian state of Assam to the borders of the mighty Himalayas. At the time when this memoir was penned, in the late 1970s, a woman travelling for pleasure, that too without the companionship of a "guardian" figure (on a truck nonetheless!) was highly discouraged. Nabaneeta Deb Sen with her charming, witty, and absolutely impactful travelogue shatters this stigma, which to this day is associated with women and solo travelling. The author visits famous monasteries, stays overnight with a nun, and goes across the Brahmaputra River up to the Arunachal Province. She also, rather vividly, depicts the culture and traditions that follow each place she travels to, maintaining a raw and delightfully uplifting narrative throughout the story.
Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road
Vintage Canada, 2018
The Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road is a travelogue which remains true to its titular name. It is, in its essence, the year-long story of the author's journey along the Silk Road, with her childhood best friend, Melissa Yule, on a bike. During her adolescent years, Kate Harris had the nomadic urge to become a generalist explorer and a philosopher. She wanted to become a scientist as well and travel to Mars. In all honesty, her trip along the Silk Road to idle away the broad hours before her take-off for Mars was only a means to a narrow end. A decision she would soon make once after, because one time is hardly ever enough. Interweaving facts, science, and the (Silky) pathway to the stars, Kate Harris' debut biography is a unique take on the travelogue sub-genre. It deviates from the regular humdrum of the sea and the mountains and literally takes you down on the streets.
Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019
Can you comprehend travelling 45,000 miles, almost twice the circumference of the earth, by train? Many cannot, and actually could not, when Monisha Rajesh first announced her plans to circumnavigate the world in exactly 80 trains. But board the first train she did, packing up her rucksack and fiancé, to embark on an extraordinary adventure of diverse train stations and eccentric, unifying cultures. An adventure that took her from Tibet's Qinghai station to the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, from the great London's St Pancras station to the vast expanse of countries around the world. An ode to train travels, this book would be an ideal read for lovers of both trains and the world.
Notes from a Small Island
William Morrow Paperbacks, 1997
Despite being a conflicting conversation starter, Notes from A Small Island by Bill Bryson remains a classic, humorous, British work of nonfiction. In this book, Bill Bryson decided to pay homage to his small island home before leaving for the United States for good. Being a quintessential Brit, Bryson delves into the nitty-gritty of his small, treasured island. Providing the readers with its zebra crossings' stripe counts, the Shakespearean lifestyle, a Twigie Winkie's Farm description, and other places that you never would, otherwise, have the fortune to know.
One More Croissant for the Road
HarperCollins Publishers, 2019
Ending this list off with a tour from the fan favourite—travelling, classic French dishes and France itself. One More Croissant for the Road is one woman's float across France, in search of the perfect croissant recipe and other authentic French dishes, of course. According to Felicity herself, "France is a place built for cycling and for eating, too", and that is all this book is about. The readers accompany her from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean as she prompts everyone along the way with her pleasant, giddy commentary.
Nur-E-Jannat Alif is a Gender Studies major and part-time writer, who dreams of authoring a book someday. Find her at @literatureinsolitude on Instagram or send her your book/movie/television recommendations at [email protected].