In the word of travel books, there’s a clear division between the tomes that you read to learn about where you’re going (guidebooks) and the ones you devour to feel the joy of heading out on a journey (travel literature). And while quality travel guides are plentiful, a good travel lit entry that fills you with the desire to pack your bags and/or renew your passport can be a bit rare. Here are just three examples of such reads.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
A classic of American literature, The Sun Also Rises is considered Earnest Hemingway’s great masterpieces (or at least one of them). Based on his own experience living in Europe after World War I, Hemingway’s tale follows a group of friends as they travel throughout France and Spain — exploring themes of love, death, and nature along the way.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
The basis for the very recent film of the same name staring Reese Witherspoon, Wild is Strayed’s memoir of hiking over 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. Strayed used the experience to reflect on her life, which had recently become more than a bit unstable, and find her emotional center. It’s a book that perfectly illustrates the emotional healing power that travel, particularly of the outdoors variety, can have on us all.
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
You can’t really talk about great travel books without mentioning the amazing Bill Bryson. Bryson’s thirty-year career, which includes approximately twenty books that range in subject mater from language to science, has mostly consisted of humorous travelogues. All are pretty great and In a Sunburned Country, Bryson’s account of exploring Australia and getting to know the country’s people, is just one example…but it’s a good place to start.
Didn’t see your favorite travel book that makes you ache to head out every time you read it? Let us know in the comments below.