Well, we are past the autumn equinox, and while the seasons are changing, we still can’t travel.
For those of us who love to travel and who would be abroad right now if the pandemic had not turned the world upside down, it’s easy to feel trapped. We all long for the days when we could escape to new places and explore new cultures and experiences.
This time of year turns us to school, learning and books, too.
Books continue to be one of the best forms of imaginary travel – a well-written book has the incredible power to transport us all over the world, even if we’re reading it from the quarantine of our own home. In my estimation, a pandemic without books would be pretty joyless too!
Check out these five amazing books about travel for an escape into another world.
1 | The Art of Travel
(Alain De Botton, 2002)
When choosing the travel, we ask a lot of questions: Where? How? When?
In The Art of Travel, Alain De Botton answers a less frequently-asked question – why? Why do we travel, and what fulfillment do we gain from it? De Botton explores the expectations and insights of travel, all while combining personal experiences and opinions with past writings of significant thinkers and philosophers.
And if you’ve ever felt underwhelmed, lethargic, or disappointed by a trip? De Botton analyzes why this might be, and suggests ways to learn how to be happier and more satisfied with our travels.
Read this meditation on travel and appreciate all the benefits, the romances, and experiences of travel anew. And entertain ideas for when you’re finally able to again.
Available on Amazon for $11.39
2 | The Seine
(Elaine Sciolino, 2019)
A love letter to the city of love, The Seine: The River That Made Paris tells the story and history of Paris’s most famous river.
This book travels down the Seine, from Burgundy to the sea, exploring the river’s history and connecting with those who flank it – sea police, booksellers, and bargewomen alike. No estuary, bank, or riverside goes left unnoticed.
Sciolino even examines the Seine’s role in other media, like Les Miserables or La La Land, so you can find another chance to escape to the Seine once you’re done reading this incredibly in-depth and detailed book.
Available on Amazon for $14.99.
3 | Venice
(Jan Morris, 2008)
Noted as an essential piece of travel writing, Venice is an immersion into the Italian paradise, evoking the city’s unique personality and long-standing historical impact.
After having experienced the city in her youth during World War II, Jan Morris penned this book filled with incredible, passionate detail of Venice, as seen through her young and hopeful eyes. From the city’s architecture, tourists, and waterways to its eccentricities and specificities, Venice brings the iconic city to life with vibrant description.
Let yourself escape to the romantic canals of Venice, all within 336 pages.
Available on Amazon for $14.79
4 | How the Irish Saved Civilization
(Thomas Cahill, 1996)
Subtitled The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, this book by Thomas Cahill details the critical role that Ireland played in the maintenance of Western civilization in the years leading up to the medieval era.
The monks, scribes, and writers of Ireland are responsible for many of the riches associated with medieval culture surviving to the present day. The book also focuses on St. Patrick himself and reveals how his efforts in promoting literacy and preservation in Ireland were crucial. That makes celebrating him every March much more special!
Journey back to the medieval times and to the rolling hills of Ireland. You’ll also gain a new appreciation for the literature, time, and effort that went into preserving medieval riches we know today.
Available on Amazon for $11.49
5 | Eat, Pray, Love
(Elizabeth Gilbert, 2007)
If a historical account isn’t what’s calling to you, why not a book that has inspired travel for the past thirteen years?
Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book follows her journey across Italy, India, and Bali to find more life satisfaction and fulfillment. On her journey, Gilbert immersed herself in the beauty of food, spirituality, and the balance of the two – and found love along the way.
Eat, Pray, Love is a prime example of why we all yearn to travel, especially in a wellness-centered mindset. Gilbert shows us that escapes to explore different cultures can be incredibly enlightening and boost our wellness and happiness endeavors.
So, while waiting for that next trip to be possible, remind yourself why we travel in the first place.
Available on Amazon for $11.69
6 | Kitchen Confidential
(Anthony Bourdain, 2000)
Before the late, great Anthony Bourdain hosted Parts Unknown, a travel and food show exploring the cultures and cuisines of lesser-known areas of the world, he wrote Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
Kitchen Confidential provides an inside look at the food industry all over the world, and it became so popular that Bourdain was given his first cooking and travel show before ultimately ending up on the Travel Channel itself.
Food is one of the best and most diverse aspects of travelling and experiencing other cultures – so why not learn more about the industry and start planning your next trip’s meals?
Available on Amazon for $8.99
While we’re all staying home, now is the best time to remember books’ transformative power. Until we can again hop on a plane and physically travel the world, we must find solace in experiencing other worlds and cultures through books. So let’s hunker down, stay inside, and explore the pages and places of literature!
Do you have a favorite book to transport you to a different place? Have you read any of these? Share below!
Jan Morris Talks About Venice – from The Guardian
The New Paris Podcast ep. 41 – with The Seine author Elaine Sciolino, via Apple Podcasts
The Thoughtful Travel Podcast Book Club ep. 1 – on The Art of Travel, via Apple Podcasts