Travel broadens the mind, so they say, but sometimes a good piece of travel writing can be just as effective. So if you’re homeward bound for the next few months, but itching to jet off somewhere exotic, explore the world from your armchair with our pick of the best books for travel junkies.
1. Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
Beginning with the beguiling: “I slept with my French husband halfway through our first date”, these enchanting memoirs (and recipes) trace a woman’s growing affection for both French food and her French lover.
2. Yes Man by Danny Wallace
When Danny decides to say ‘yes’ more, he never dreams where the journey will take him. From Australia to Amsterdam, Barcelona to Singapore, this brilliantly funny book shows just how far a ‘yes’ can go.
3. The Beach by Alex Garland
This vivid Thailand tale of one man’s search for paradise may have been a critique of backpacker culture, but it continues to inspire countless travellers to search for their own perfect beach.
4. The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
With its wild dogs and diplomats, bull sharks and beer shortages, this laugh-out-loud account of life in the South Pacific will resonate with anyone whose ever fantasized about a tropical island paradise.
5. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Durrell’s memoirs of a childhood stay with his eccentric family in 1930s Corfu are enchanting. Sun-soaked and sentimental, this book glows with gentle humour and genuine affection for bird, beast and relative.
6. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Warning: this honest and humorous account of a writer’s search for happiness across Italy, India and Indonesia may induce severe wanderlust, as well as an irresistible craving for pizza.
7. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Weiner’s exploration of the happiest (and unhappiest) nations on earth is a fascinating look into the relationship between culture and contentment. It may even tempt you to book a one-way ticket to somewhere new.
8. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
This is the classic American road-trip story – a semi-autobiographical tale of a restless and breathless search for pleasure and adventure, in which the journey is far more important than the destination.
9. The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
This diary of a young Che Guevara is not that of a political revolutionary – rather, it is a lively account of two adventurous best friends, one temperamental motorcycle and an epic journey across South America.