The next best thing to taking a nice long trip is to read about someone else’s experiences. Because it’s true, on some level you don’t want to deal with the inconveniences of traveling yourself but would rather be amused by someone else’s misery. These five wonderful books will place you in the hands of incredible stories, travel tips and adventures without ever having to leave your worn-out sofa.
1-Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
Vagabonding is by far and large our favorite travel book. It breaks all the rules of a typical travel guide and shows the reader how to make traveling a lifestyle rather than a luxury. Author Tom Ferris takes us on his journey, not on one specific trip but rather on how to make long term traveling a reality rather than a wistful dream. His tips and tricks can be used in any length trip, but are especially useful during longer trips such as backpacking routes and around the world expeditions. Some of his tips and tricks will help you in difficult scenarios such as financing your trip, but also about how to re-adapt to ordinary life after a mind-blowing trip. Vagabonding is a must-read and a page-turner for the amateur or the experienced traveler.
Atlas Obscura is primarily an excellent website for fans of unusual sites and stories from around the world. Its primary feature is a location pointer to let the user know what interesting sites are around you. For example, if you happened to be in a particular neighborhood in Paris, you might be directed to an unusual monument or a terrific story that happened in the building down the block. The Atlas Obscura book is a compilation of the best sites. A great book to peruse right before a trip, it will show you how to choose the most worthwhile side trips. Some particularly interesting items include where to locate the best cenotes in Mexico and which ex-USSR country has the most statues of Stalin.
3-On the Road
On the Road by Jack Kerouac, is a beatnik classic. No fan of this time period will have lived without having read this fascinating story cover to cover on several occasions. For the newbie to 1950s American literature, On the Road is an epic story relating Kerouac’s trek across the United States and back. His adventures across the Midwest and around the California coast are legendary and make one want to drop everyday life to hitchhike to nowhere on next to no money. Yes, the author is completely honest about the challenges of such a lifestyle, primarily relating to health, hygiene and hunger, but the fact that he has survived to tell the tale is an inspiration to us travelers.
Shantaram and its sequel The Mountain Shadow tell the true story of Lin, an escapee from New Zealand. His travels lead him to Bombay, where he lives a greater adventure than he could possibly have imagined when he left home. From living in the meanest slum to working with the most notorious gangster in the city, Lin sees it all. His time as the bravest man one could possibly imagine lead him all around India and surrounding countries such as Afghanistan to pursue his destiny as a doctor, partner, and master manipulator. Reading Shantaram is not for the faint of heart: at over 700 pages it is quite the commitment to read, but each page is nothing but pure delight.