Travel related books are a great way to envision the next grand adventure, to briefly forget the dreary scenery at home or just to find an instructive and interesting way to pass the time before embarking on the next journey.
Here are 7 travel related books that will give you serious symptoms of wanderlust and moreover provide some valuable tips for your next adventure.
1. Off Track Planet’s travel guide for the young, sexy and broke – Freddie Pikovsky & Anna Starostinetskaya
This very comprehensive and varied travel book provides a general guide for travelling when you’re still young, sexy and reckless. The book features detailed guides on a great amount of locations and experiences that satisfy a wanderlust addict’s fantasies. Whether you want to experience Carnival in Rio, hike up to Machu Pichu or just visit some of Europe’s most beautiful cities, this is the guide for you.
What I particularly liked about this book is the fact that on the one hand it provides genuinely valuable travel advice (for example on packing, choosing the right travel buddy and so on) and on the other hand it adds some cheeky tones and some youthful joy to these very comprehensive guides.
Get the 2017 updated version here
2. The Lost City of Z – David Grann
The Lost City of Z is a fantastic non fiction novel which tells the true tale of British explorer Percy Fawcett who, in 1925, embarked on a journey across the Amazon rainforest seeking an ancient lost indigenous city. Fawcett disappeared together with his son and both were never found. The lost city therefore remains a mystery to this day. Countless scientists and explorers have tried to locate the city, which according to ancient stories from nearby tribes contained advanced settlements and huge amounts of ancient wealth.
The story is so intriguing that you will start to believe that a city full of advanced technology and gold built thousands of years ago could actually exist in the middle of the largest rainforest in the world. This enrapturing storyline makes this one of the best books for every traveller who loves to fantasize about mysterious locations and hidden treasures.
3. Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s untamed edge – John Gimlette
London based barrister and author John Gimlette is a passionate traveller who loves to see the world by avoiding beaten tourist tracks and finding more difficult routes instead. That’s exactly what he did on his journey to South America which he chronicled in the book Wild Coast.
In Wild Coast, you will read about a journey through the former gold eldorado of Guyana, the dense jungles of the Amazon and the very special lifestyle of the Makushi forest tribe, which Gimlette adopted as his own for a while.
Wild Coast is an entangling series of travel episodes that will make you want to eliminate from your itinerary every single place that has seen tourists before. Gimlette is addicted to off the beaten path places and this book is in fact a vivid description of the symptoms of this addiction.
4. Atlas Obscura: an explorer’s guide to the world’s hidden wonders – Joshua Foer
Atlas Obscura is a detailed compilation of the most astounding off the beaten path locations on the planet and a true masterpiece of travel writing. The places featured in this unusual atlas are often unknown and difficult to access but truly special. The atlas in fact contains an extraordinary amount of museums, landmarks, cultural sights and natural parks from all over the world which you will want to visit if you are a true adventure traveller who looks for sights which won’t make Lonely Planet’s title page any time soon.
In addition to its brilliantly written descriptions, the atlas also provides information on how to visit these mysterious places, which proves to be a useful piece of content since most of these places will not appear in any regular atlas or guide.
5 In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin
Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia is one of the greatest travel books of the 20th century and has been the reference for many writers who wanted to emulate Chatwin’s amazing descriptions and stories. The book covers a 6 month journey through Patagonia during which Chatwin met a great amount of locals and foreigners who have settled in this vast untamed wilderness. In Patagonia is in fact a reflection on the nomadic way of living, which fits straight into our century.
In addition to the philosophical aspects, the descriptions of Patagonia’s awe inspiring natural beauty are epic and so are the stories.
This book, although published in 1977, is still one of the best pieces of travel literature ever written and an absolute must for travellers who love to admire the beauty of mother nature in its various forms.
6. Marco Polo: A photographer’s journey – Michael Yamashita
A photographer’s journey is a stunning collection of pictures recreating Marco Polo’s famous 13th century journey from Italy to China and his return via Sumatra and India. The award winning National Geographic photographer Yamashita travelled to some of the most off the beaten path countries on the planet in order to create a truly unique photographic masterpiece.
The book is much more than a collection of shots of breathtaking scenery and memorable moments though. It also contains a historical introduction and a great amount of classic Polo-era maps and artwork which will delight history lovers and anybody who is interested in the endeavours of medieval explorers. Admiring these great pieces of modern photography while imagining how perilous and difficult this journey must have been in the 13th century is genuinely inspiring and it will make your wanderlust syndrome go haywire.
7. Couchsurfing im Iran (German book) – Stephan Orth
This story about an adventure seeker who experiences Iran from the inside by sleeping on couches in Iranian homes is unfortunately only available to German speakers. I have nonetheless decided to include it on this list because it is simply a fantastic piece of travel literature and a must read book for every serious (German speaking) adventurer.
Stephan Orth is the editor of the large German magazine ‘Spiegel Online‘ and a passionate couch surfer. He has in fact slept on people’s couches in over 30 countries and his never ending curiosity for experiencing countries in the most authentic way possible has led him to travel to places such as Iran where couch surfing is actually banned.
The stories told about Iran do feature the usual stuff that you would expect from this theocratic ultraconservative country but also some genuinely surprising facts about Iran and its people. The Iranians have left a profound impression on the author and his book shows that.
Most importantly this books teaches us that even inhabitants of highly conservative countries do know how to party and indulge in banned activities, such as alcohol, intimate relationships and dancing in the street.