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Best 5 travel books of all time
Traveling is a wonderful way to broaden our horizons, experience new cultures, and create lasting memories. But for those times when we can’t hit the road ourselves, we can turn to the pages of a good travel book to transport us to different parts of the world. The best travel books can take us on a journey, inspire us to explore new places, and give us a deeper understanding of the world around us.
From classics like “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac and “The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux, to more contemporary works like “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, there is no shortage of great travel literature to choose from. Some of the best travel books are written by authors who have spent years exploring a particular place, while others are accounts of one epic journey.
Whether you’re looking to escape into a far-off land or gain a new perspective on the world, the best travel books have the power to transport you. In this article, we’ll explore some of the greatest travel books of all time, each one a unique and inspiring tale of adventure and discovery.
Why read books while traveling?
Reading books while traveling can enhance your overall travel experience in several ways. Here are some reasons why reading books while traveling is a great idea:
Inspiration: Reading about the experiences of other travelers can inspire you to explore new destinations, try new activities, and step outside your comfort zone.
Learning: Books can provide historical and cultural context for the places you are visiting, helping you gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and traditions.
Entertainment: Travel can be tiring and sometimes you may want to take a break from exploring. Reading a book can be a great way to relax and unwind while still being engaged and entertained.
Time filler: Long flights, train rides, or bus journeys can be boring and monotonous. Reading books can help pass the time and make the journey more enjoyable.
Language learning: Reading books in the language of the country you are visiting can be a great way to practice and improve your language skills.
In summary, reading books while traveling can enrich your travel experience and provide you with new insights and perspectives that you might not have gained otherwise. It can be a fun and rewarding way to enhance your trip and make it more memorable.
Best 5 travel books of all time reviews
Travel literature has the ability to transport readers to far-off lands, introduce them to new cultures and customs, and offer insights into the human experience. Over the centuries, countless travel books have been written and published, but only a select few have stood the test of time and are widely considered to be the best of the best. In this review, we will take a closer look at five of the best travel books of all time, including classics like “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac and “The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux. These books offer readers a glimpse into the world of travel and the adventures that await those who dare to explore it.
Briefly discuss the appeal of travel books and their ability to transport readers to different parts of the world.
“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac
“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac is a seminal work of American literature and a cornerstone of the Beat Generation. Published in 1957, the novel follows the travels of protagonist Sal Paradise (based on Kerouac himself) and his friend Dean Moriarty (based on Kerouac’s friend Neal Cassady) as they crisscross America in search of adventure, meaning, and freedom.
The novel is renowned for its spontaneous prose style, which Kerouac developed to capture the rhythm and energy of his experiences on the road. The writing is characterized by long, flowing sentences that eschew punctuation and capitalization, creating a stream-of-consciousness effect that mimics the wandering thoughts of the characters. This unique style of writing helped to define the Beat literary movement and has had a lasting influence on American literature.
Throughout the novel, Sal and Dean encounter a diverse cast of characters and engage in a range of experiences, from jazz clubs and drug-fueled parties to work on a farm and contemplative moments in nature. Along the way, they grapple with existential questions about the meaning of life, the pursuit of happiness, and the role of individuality in a conformist society.
Despite its romanticized portrayal of life on the road, “On the Road” also explores the darker side of the Beat Generation’s counterculture, including drug use, promiscuity, and aimlessness. Nevertheless, the novel remains a beloved classic of American literature and a testament to the enduring appeal of the open road.
“The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux
“The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux is a travelogue that chronicles the author’s four-month journey by train through Europe and Asia in the mid-1970s. The book was published in 1975 and has since become a classic of travel literature.
Theroux’s journey begins in London and takes him through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Southeast Asia, before returning him to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway. Along the way, he encounters a diverse range of people and cultures, from wealthy expatriates and corrupt officials to humble villagers and Buddhist monks.
One of the strengths of “The Great Railway Bazaar” is Theroux’s ability to capture the unique character of each place he visits, as well as the individual personalities of the people he meets. He is often frank in his assessments, noting the poverty, corruption, and squalor he encounters, but also recognizing the beauty and richness of local traditions and cultures.
In addition to his observations on the places he visits, Theroux also reflects on his own experiences as a traveler, including his occasional loneliness, frustration with bureaucracy and delays, and the sense of displacement that comes with being a stranger in a foreign land. These personal reflections add depth and authenticity to the book, making it more than just a collection of travel anecdotes.
Overall, “The Great Railway Bazaar” is a fascinating and insightful look at the people, cultures, and landscapes of a bygone era, and a testament to the enduring appeal of train travel as a means of exploration and discovery.
“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer
“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer is a non-fiction book that tells the story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who set out into the Alaskan wilderness in search of adventure and self-discovery. The book was published in 1996 and quickly became a bestseller, inspiring a new generation of adventure-seekers and backpackers.
McCandless, who changed his name to Alexander Supertramp, was just 24 years old when he abandoned his comfortable middle-class life and donated his life savings to charity before setting out on his journey. He hitchhiked across the United States, worked odd jobs, and eventually made his way to Alaska, where he planned to live off the land.
Krakauer, a seasoned outdoorsman and writer, retraced McCandless’s steps and interviewed those who had encountered him along the way, as well as his family and friends. The result is a riveting narrative that explores McCandless’s motivations and the events that led to his tragic death from starvation in the Alaskan wilderness.
While “Into the Wild” has been criticized by some for romanticizing McCandless’s reckless behavior and for ignoring the dangers of the wilderness, the book remains a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the human desire for freedom, adventure, and self-discovery. It has also inspired numerous works of art and has been adapted into a feature film, a play, and an opera.
“The Motorcycle Diaries” by Ernesto “Che” Guevara
“The Motorcycle Diaries” by Ernesto “Che” Guevara is a memoir that recounts the journey he took across South America with his friend Alberto Granado in 1952. Guevara, who was a young medical student at the time, set out on the journey with the intention of exploring the continent and gaining a deeper understanding of its people and cultures.
The book, which was first published in 1995, is a compelling and intimate account of their travels, and is widely regarded as a classic of travel literature. It captures the sights, sounds, and smells of South America, and offers a glimpse into the political and social conditions of the time.
As Guevara and Granado journey through Argentina, Chile, Peru, and other countries, they encounter a range of people, from wealthy landowners and urban intellectuals to indigenous peasants and lepers. They also witness firsthand the poverty, inequality, and exploitation that characterize many of the countries they visit.
Throughout the journey, Guevara’s experiences and observations begin to shape his political views, and the book provides insight into the events and ideas that would later shape his revolutionary ideology. However, the book is not solely focused on politics, and also includes humorous and lighthearted anecdotes, as well as descriptions of the natural beauty and wonders of the region.
Overall, “The Motorcycle Diaries” is a fascinating and engaging book that offers a unique perspective on South America and the early experiences of one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century.
“Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck
“Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck is a travelogue that chronicles the author’s journey across the United States with his poodle, Charley, in the early 1960s. The book, which was published in 1962, is a mix of memoir, social commentary, and personal reflection, and is widely regarded as a classic of American literature.
Steinbeck, who was already an established writer at the time, set out on the journey in a custom-built camper truck, which he named Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse. His travels took him through 34 states, from the forests of Maine to the California coast, and allowed him to explore the diverse landscapes and people of America.
Throughout the book, Steinbeck offers astute observations on the changing American landscape, from the rise of the automobile culture to the decline of small-town life. He also reflects on his own life and career, and offers poignant insights into the nature of aging, loneliness, and the search for meaning and purpose.
One of the highlights of the book is Steinbeck’s interactions with the people he meets along the way, from migrant workers and fishermen to college students and politicians. His encounters with people of different backgrounds and viewpoints allow him to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities and contradictions of American society.
Overall, “Travels with Charley” is a beautifully written and deeply insightful book that offers a vivid portrait of America at a moment of profound social and cultural change. It is a testament to the enduring power of the road trip as a means of exploration, discovery, and self-discovery.
In conclusion, travel literature offers readers the opportunity to explore the world from the comfort of their own homes, and to gain new insights into the human experience. From the epic journeys of Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta to the modern-day adventures of Paul Theroux and Cheryl Strayed, travel literature has captured the imaginations of readers for centuries.
The best travel books transport readers to far-off lands and introduce them to new cultures and customs, while also offering insights into the universal themes of human nature. Through the eyes of the author, readers can experience the joys and challenges of travel, and gain a deeper understanding of the world and their place in it.
Whether you are a seasoned traveler or an armchair adventurer, the world of travel literature is a vast and diverse landscape that is sure to inspire and captivate you. So pack your bags, grab a good book, and embark on a journey of discovery that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
The benefits of travel literature can be summarized as follows:
Exploration: Travel literature allows readers to explore new places and cultures, even if they are unable to physically visit them.
Understanding: By offering insights into different societies and ways of life, travel literature can help readers gain a deeper understanding of the world and its people.
Inspiration: Travel literature can inspire readers to embark on their own journeys, and to seek out new experiences and adventures.
Self-discovery: Through the personal reflections of the author, travel literature can also help readers gain a better understanding of themselves and their own place in the world.
Education: Travel literature can serve as a valuable educational tool, offering historical and cultural context for different parts of the world.
Entertainment: Above all, travel literature can be an enjoyable and engaging form of reading, transporting readers to new and exciting places and introducing them to fascinating characters and stories.
Final thoughts and recommendations.
In conclusion, travel literature is a rich and diverse genre that offers readers a wealth of benefits, from exploration and understanding to inspiration and entertainment. Whether you are interested in epic adventures, personal memoirs, or insightful social commentary, there is a travel book out there for you.
Some of the best travel books of all time include “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, “The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux, “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer, “The Motorcycle Diaries” by Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck. These books have stood the test of time and continue to captivate and inspire readers today.
In addition to these classics, there are many new and exciting travel books being published every year, from memoirs and travelogues to guidebooks and photography collections. So whether you are a seasoned traveler or an armchair adventurer, I highly recommend exploring the world of travel literature and discovering the many wonders that it has to offer.