My Top 3 Travel Inspired Books
Lately I’ve got back into reading and I’m devouring page after page of every book I can get my hands on. I’ve read hundreds of books over the years but it’s only every so often you find a book that transports you to another world. It inspires you, changes you, reaches out of the page and sweeps you up on an emotional rollercoaster of cliffhangers and dreams. I’m always on the search for THAT book, you never know when they’ll appear but when they do you won’t be forgetting it for a long time coming. So, here are three books all within the ‘travel’ genre which individually I loved for differing reasons. They made me cry, laugh, dream, wander and most of all reminded why I love to read and why I love my passport. Forever a bookworm, forever a traveller.
1. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
My most recent read and my favourite. I couldn’t stop thinking about this books for days after I finished reading, I found it so beautifully written; it was raw and emotional. You’ll be crying, then laughing and then crying some more. The protagonist (loosely based on the author himself) is an Australian convict, who, manages to escape prison and finds himself on his way to India. Once there he falls in love with both a city and a woman. However, this is not just a love story. It’s a story of India, mankind, violence, friendship and drug addiction to name but a few themes present within this novel. It’s also a hefty read at 900+ pages but rather than struggling to get through the pages you’ll actually be wishing they’d never end. Because of this book I want to go to India, I will go to India. Thank you, Shantaram.
“There are no mistakes. Only new paths to explore.” Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts
2. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia – Elizabeth Gilbert
This wonderful book is a memoir of Elizabeth’s journey over a 1 year time period, 4 months in each destination; which was the result of bitter divorce and failed relationship. Suffering from depression at the beginning of the book we see how she slowly tries to re-build her life by eating in Italy, praying in India and falling in love in Indonesia. The English Lang & Lit graduate in me also loved how Elizabeth chose countries that began with I, this was a journey of self discovery. I read this book at a time in my life where I felt not too far off what Elizabeth felt at the beginning of the book, a failed relationship and not long back from travelling Australia I was sad and lost. She gave me hope, she made me believe everything happens for a reason but at the same time we have to be in control of our own fate. Not long after I found the inspiration to travel back to Australia and fell in love all over again, this time with a happy ending. Also, India!
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.” Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
3. The Beach, Alex Garland
On the outer layers The Beach appears to be a novel about a British backpackers adventure to Thailand, however, when the main character Richard decides he wants to lets say, venture the road less taken, the novel takes a thrilling twist and we are presented with an idyllic paradise, however, humanity gets in the way and the situation takes a sinister turn. Death, hierarchy, secrecy, madness and lust are all intertwined to create a gripping read. It really makes you question how far would you go to find that unspoilt location and more so, how far would you go to keep it secret? This novel represents the dark side of travelling, the dark side of humanity. Though I loved the on screen adaptation of The Book, the novel itself, as always, can’t be beaten.
“If I’d learnt one thing from travelling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them. Don’t talk about going to Borneo. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag, and it just happens.” The Beach, Alex Garland