Lockdown getting you down? Like so many others I’ve swapped travelling light for indoor flat life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t explore and roam through other means… It’s not secret that I love a good book, but at the moment I’m focussing on travel reads to satisfy my yearning wanderlust. With the long weekend to utilise, I thought I’d share five of my favourite travel-related reads, in case you too might enjoy them as much as I have.
The Kindness of Strangers – Edited by Fearghal O’Nuallain
Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. Travel open our minds to the world; it helps us to embrace risk and uncertainty, overcome challenges and understand the people we meet and the places we visit. But what happens when we arrive home? How do our experiences shape us? The Kindness of Strangers explores what it means to be vulnerable and to be helped by someone we’ve never met before.
This is a collection of tales by adventurous souls who have completed daring journeys through challenging terrain, ranging from the Calais Jungle to the Amazon, from Land’s End to the Gobi Desert, from New Guinea to Iran and many other places in between. These are stories that make our hearts grow, stories that will restore our faith in he world and remind us that, despite what the media says, the world isn’t a scary place – rather, it is filled with Kind Strangers just like us.
Note: All royalties go directly to fund Oxfam’s work with refugees.
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland – Sarah Moss
At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, Sarah Moss and her husband moved with their two small children to Iceland. From their makeshift home among the half-finished skyscrapers of Reykjavik, Moss travelled to hillsides of boiling mud and volcanic craters, and the remote farms and fishing villages of the far north. As the weeks and months went by, she and her family found new ways to live.
The Salt Path – Raynor Winn
Just days after Raynor Winn learned that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, was terminally ill, they lost their home and livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they impulsively decided to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Living wild and free, at the mercy of sea and sky, they discovered a new, liberating existence – but what would they find at the journey’s end?
How Not To Travel The World – Lauren Juliff
‘I had no life experience, zero common sense and had never eaten rice. I suffered from deliberating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder and had just had my heart broken. I hoped by leaving to travel the world I would be able to heal myself….’
Instead, Lauren’s travels were full of bad luck and near-death experiences. Over the space of a year, she was scammed and assaulted, lost teeth and swallowed a cockroach. She fell into leech-infested rice paddies, was caught up in a tsunami, her motorbike’s brakes failed and she experiences a very unhappy ending during a massage in Thailand. It was just when Lauren was about to give up on travel that she stumbled across a handsome New Zealander with a love of challenges…
The Road to Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the best-selling travel book ever; and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey around Britain to see what has changed.
Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognize any more. Yet, despite Britain’s occasional failings and more or less eternal bewilderments, Bill Bryson is till pleased to call that rainy island home. And not just because of the cream teas, a noble history, and an extra day off at Christmas.
Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.