We are celebrating International Literacy Day as our “Holiday of the Month”. Reading and writing are not only tools everyone needs in their life; they can be an escape from our everyday mundane routines as well. While we adore the classic fantasy books that might have fostered lifelong enthusiasm such as Harry Potter, the Hobbit, and the Moomin tales, we’d also like to share with you some of our favorite books to inspire wanderlust. We hope that you’ll find a favorite or two among this list and allow us to plan a personalized itinerary around your choice, for a future far flung adventure.
Without futherado, here are a few of our favorite travel writing stories:
1. Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, by David L. Ulin
A former New Yorker speaks about the differences of living in New York City versus Los Angeles, specifically through the lens of walking through the cities. In part, this book is a personal narrative, while also making commentary on Los Angeles as an urban space and on its culture.. This is a quick read, but the perfect intro to the street life of this iconic California city.
2. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Calvino’s work stays in character in this abstract piece. In a tale of Marco Polo and a “bored” emperor, Kublai Khan, Polo is sent through the kingdom by the emperor and told to bring back descriptions of the cities he encounters. Polo’s descriptions are romanticized views, and can err on the side of outlandish, but they might also be metaphors for life for the emperor, instead of depictions of actual visits. How will you know for sure? You’ll just have to read on to find out!
3. Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland by Lavina Greenlaw
This is a re-telling of the travel diary of 18th century English poet William Morris, during his first visit to Iceland. Before embarking on this long adventure, Morris was going through a bit of a rough spot emotionally with his family. Call this a mid-life crisis trip if you must, but what a wonderful trip it is. With elements of jest and travel troubles that any modern day reader can relate to, this diary is a lovely recount of one of the first instances of travel writing in Iceland, with elements of commentary on not only the landscape of Iceland, but the warmth of the people that live in this northern nature wonderland.
4. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris
A vibrant memoir and travelogue of Harris’ bicycle journey along the Silk Road, in between studying at MIT and Oxford University. This is a story of having no mental borders and becoming in touch with the wildness within yourself. It shows that though the world may already be mapped, there is so much left to discover. It is an honest, yet lyrical work, and will have you sucked into Harris’ curious world from the first page.
5. The Cruise of the Rolling Junk by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This fun read by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an embellished take on a road trip he took with his wife Zelda from Connecticut to Alabama, to fulfill her craving for fresh biscuits and peaches from her native state. The stories in this book were originally published as a series or articles for Motor magazine, but have since come together in this small but profound work that melds fact and fiction. It is important to note that this is a book of its time, and the commentary on race is something we do not support, but admit we cannot erase from the otherwise gleefully zany aire of this piece.
6. Horizon by Barry Lopez
The word “epic” should be reserved for works as heartfelt and full as this. Lopez is one of the greatest travel writers of our time, and uses his unique, contemplative voice, to explore and embrace diversity, while showing his readers six different regions of the world, ranging from pole to pole. This work was created from decades of Lopez’s lived experience and is a personal work that comments on humanity extensively as Lopez searches for the meaning and a purpose to life via travel.