Travel Books to Transport You Elsewhere

Reading recommendations to make you feel like you are adventuring while in quarantine


Photo by Vivian Duncan.

    Just because you can’t go on a flight doesn’t mean that you can’t go on adventures and see interesting places from the comfort of your bedroom! Use some of your time at home to read one or more of these classic travel books and get transported abroad. 



In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin

A uniquely structured look at a place that remains a mystery of an unseen land, Chatwin follows his own journey through Patagonia by telling the stories of the people he meets along the way. With evocative description and fascinating accounts of history, his lust for adventure is contagious as he treks through the stretch of land at the tip of South America that was once home for famous American outlaws, along with a plethora of other exiles. 


In Siberia – Colin Thubron

In the early 1980s, Colin Thubron wrote a book about his travels around the Soviet Union. In the late 90s, post–Soviet Union, he decided to go back and explore Siberia. His account of this extraordinary region, travelling through deserted villages and intense cities, will bring you through a very specific and unforgettable moment in history. 


The Snow Leopard – Peter Matthiesen

A famous literary masterpiece, this book tells the story of Matthiesen’s journey through the winter snows of Nepal in the efforts to glimpse the fantastical and rare snow leopard. This book has appealed to people for decades as a true pilgrimage of both body and heart.


A Time of Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor 

In 1933, at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor decided to walk from England to Constantinople. This book is the first volume in a trilogy that recounts the trip, taking the reader as far as Hungary, It consists of compelling glimpses of Europe in a very interesting time of history, the grandeurs of the landscapes he walked through and also the tales of all of the kind-hearted people who helped him along the way.



Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a book that became widely popular, but for good reason. Gilbert tells the story of her early midlife crisis, as she abandoned all the things she should have wanted in pursuit of a deeper understanding of her life. She spent time in Italy learning Italian and eating pasta, in India for practicing spiritual devotion, and in Bali to understand life better under the guidance of a medicine man and an unexpected love. 


The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost – Rachel Friedman

Friedman was always the good girl who played it safe, but when she graduated college she decided to shake things up a bit. On a whim, she moved to Ireland with no plans, got a job, and befriended her roommate, a free-spirited Australian girl. With the help of this new friend, Friedman spends the next year there, in South America, and in Australia, learning about herself and developing a love for adventure along the way. 


Travels with a Typewriter – Michael Frayn

This book is a collection of essays that Frayn writes about some of the most interesting places he has been during his career as a reporter. Hopping from Cuba to Israel to Japan, and always staying rooted in England, this book provides unique portraits of settings that have since changed 


Coast to Coast – Jan Morris

After having just reported on the first Everest ascent in 1953, Morris spent a year travelling across the United States by plane, train, automobile, and even boat. She writes in the introduction, “I did not know it then, and nor did America, but chance had brought me across the Atlantic at the very apex of American happiness.” In brilliant prose, Morris records with wonder a time of innocence and hope in America. 


On the Road – Jack Kerouac

A book that was the face of the beat movement and changed the landscape for American literature, Kerouac joins his pal Dean Moriarty on a series of adventures hitch hiking and driving back and forth across the country, living as drifters in a raw America. Kerouac captures the exuberance of 50s America, complete with all of the jazz, sex, and ellicit drugs of the era, all in a ramshackle recording of the American Dream. 


Europe – Jan Morris

A book fueled by five decades of journeying through more countries in Europe than most will see in their lives, Morris seamlessly unravels both interesting stories of her own, and also picks at larger ideas of politics and culture in a way that remains whimsical and profound.


Mornings in Mexico – D. H. Lawrence

In the 1920s, Lawrence travelled several times to Mexico, where he was fascinated by the clash of beauty and brutality, purity and darkness that he observed. A series of evocative essays, some getting very philosophical, he portrays the native way of life in a brightly detailed portrait of the country. 


Outdoor Exploration:

Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

In 1992, Chris McCandless gave away all of his possessions and hitchhiked to Alaska in a search for complete solitude and oneness with nature. Four months later, his body was famously found in a bus by some moose hunters. This book, an impressive example of investigative journalism, tells the narrative of what happened in between, and why McCandless did what he did. A moving story both grave and inspiring, Krakauer pieces together the motivations of a man who threw away the maps in search of the wild. 


Wild – Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-two, Strayed found herself in a desperate and depressing time in her life. With nothing left to lose, she impulsively decided to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail completely alone. Told with suspense and humor, this book captures both the out and internal struggles of completing this journey that ultimately strengthened and healed her. 


A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson

Bryson guides you along the Appalachian Trail in this book, introducing you to the history and ecology of the trail in the most entertaining way possible. As he tells stories of the interesting people – and bears – that he meets on this trek from Georgia to Maine, you will find yourself appreciating the wonders of the great outdoors.