In this article, The Broad Life will introduce to you the 30 best travel books of all time to inspire and fulfill your wanderlust. In vivid words, each author writes about the journey through many different places. Each book is a narrative, a story about the journey to discover the outside world of free spirits who love to move. Every trip is a journey to the future, a hunt for happiness. Through the pages of good books, you will surely have the opportunity to experience travel in a completely different way. Let’s read!
Three Men in a Boat: Not to Mention the Dog
- Author: Jerome K. Jerome
- Originally published: 1889
The story begins on a boring day, three young English men suddenly feel bored with the city. They decided to take a summer vacation. After fierce discussions and equally silly arguments, they decided to row a boat on the River Thames. The trip also has the presence of a cunning dog.
With a flowing voice, Jerome not only creates a British witty work, attached to the historic River Thames but also gives readers meaningful perspectives on a journey. From there, you have the opportunity to discover the deep layers of history, culture, and human behavior toward nature.
The Sun Also Rises
- Author: Ernest Hemingway
- Originally published: 1926
The novel The Sun Also Rises is considered the best work by the writer Ernest Hemingway. The book depicts the colorful ups and downs of the American immigrant group of the 1920s and their experiences immersed in life and love in Paris and Spain.
First published in 1926, the work is considered to be able to change people’s minds about the concept of the world as lasting forever.
The Road to Oxiana
- Author: Robert Byron
- Originally published: 1937
The Road to Oxiana is written in the form of a diary. It’s also considered the best text on modern travel. The main content of the work tells about the journey of the writer himself in 1933-1934 from the Middle East (with the regions of Beirut, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Teheran) to Oxiana with the Oxus river (the old name of the great river Amu Darya) – a demarcation between Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union.
The writing style is engaging and somewhat humorous. The Byron guy’s trip is vividly displayed with the people he meets along the way, the works as well as the ethnic region that, as he said – can only be experienced by the brave traveler.
Homage to Catalonia
- Author: George Orwell
- Originally published: Apr 1938
Published in 1938, Homage to Catalonia is considered a book of political history, part autobiographical and a bit exploratory. This is considered a most vivid work about the chaotic city of Barcelona.
As a prophecy of the bad, the author told of his mission while in the Spanish civil war. When he was hit by a bullet, he returned and told the locals that “sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs”.
On the Road
- Author: Jack Kerouac
- Originally published: Sep 5, 1957
Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty’s cross-American adventure is based on the true travels of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, two of the most important faces of the Beat Generation.
On the Road is a novel that makes readers want to immediately hit the road, grab the current date and live, live to the end. The work promotes freedom in the soul, the ambition to live naked, the passion for adventure trips, and considers “that road is their life”.
A novel for wild hearts. The book is suitable for those who are wondering to find the true meaning and value of their own life.
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
- Author: Eric Newby
- Originally published: 1958
With a humorous pen, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush is an autobiographical book about the author’s adventures through the mountains of Nuristan province, Afghanistan. The travel book is written in English and first published in 1958. Definitely, it’s one of the best travel books to inspire adventurers.
Our Man in Havana
- Author: Graham Greene
- Originally published: Oct 24, 1958
Published in 1958, a year later Our Man in Havana was adapted into a film of the same name.
The novel is written in the context of Cuba in the late 50s of the last century. The writer Graham Greene takes you to visit the ancient capital of Habana in South America.
- Author: Wilfred Thesiger
- Originally published: 1959
First published in 1959, the book follows an adventurous journey through the Arabian desert. Through the book, you can partly witness the lives of the Bedouins as well as the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula.
- Author: Jan Morris
- Originally published: 1960
A year after its publication, Venice won the W. H. Heinemann Award and became an international bestseller. With delicate descriptions, the pages give you a lot of information about the history of Venice in northeastern Italy, the most romantic city in the world with hundreds of small islands intersected by canals and traffic crossed over 400 bridges.
Travels with Charley: In Search of America
- Author: John Steinbeck
- Originally published: 1962
In 1960, author John Steinbeck and his dog Charley went on a trip across the United States in a truck. The book was born from there, which is considered a vivid perspective on the whole landscape as well as the people the author meets on the road.
Through the series of events and the inner thoughts of the characters, he has partly shown the change in America in the past five decades.
The Way of the White Clouds
- Author: Anagarika Govinda
- Originally published: 1966
This travel book records what author Anagarika Govinda witnessed during her time in Tibet. His journey took place between the 1930s and 1950s.
The author has interacted with many monks, visited many remote ancient temples, and recorded what he has seen and heard in the travel book The Clouds Road Through the Snow Country. Thereby, the spiritual life of Tibet comes to life through each chapter in the book.
This book is truly a huge inspiration for a spiritual trip to Tibet. It’s one of the best travel books ever.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
- Author: Laurie Lee
- Originally published: 1969
The work As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning was written by British writer – Laurie Lee in 1969. In travel books, this is considered a lyrical masterpiece from the author’s own experiences as a young man in the 1930s.
With a touch of adventure mixed with soaring romantic music, the author recounts his journey from the boring place of the Cotswolds to London and then Spain. Laurie Lee is also the author of the famous novel Cider with Rosie.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Author: Hunter S. Thompson
- Originally published: 1971
An autobiographical symphony, the 1971 travel novel Vas Vegas – Fear and Disgust, tells the story of Raoul Duke’s wild journey to the American dream. Read it and you will know why it’s one of the best travel books of all time.
- Author: James A. Michener
- Originally published: 1971
The novel is set in a chaotic 1960s world that pushes the characters to meet each other. Each character is a piece of life, a separate fate, but all are running away from the present life.
Joe, a student evading draft orders. Britta flees a cramped, cramped life in Norway. Monica wants to leave the shadow of her father, a failed British diplomat in Vwarda, a fictional African country.
Cato flees the war because racism seems to be winning in Philadelphia, USA. Yigal wants to get rid of the emotional turmoil when he has to choose between US and Israeli citizenship. And Gretchen wanted to escape the trauma of the sexual abuse when he was arrested by the police after the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, USA.
They all met by chance in Torremolinos, Spain.
The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia
- Author: Paul Theroux
- Originally published: 1975
The Great Railway Bazaar is Paul Theroux’s journey through Asia in 1973. Even many years later, that journey is still known and shared by millions of readers around the world as one of the best travel books of all time.
The book records four and a half months with more than 30 trains from London to the Middle East, through India, stopping in Southeast Asia, stopping in Japan, and then trans-Siberian to return to Europe.
A splendid and resplendent Orient appears on the page with many aspects of life. To illustrate, Bangkok is noisy and hot with terrible contrasts like temples and brothels. Calcutta smelled of death and Bombay smelled of money. Tehran with oil and become a city of foreigners. Singapore is clean and disciplined,…
- Author: Bruce Chatwin
- Originally published: 1977
In Patagonia is considered a masterpiece of travel, history, and exploration. The book is about the author’s own journey in 1972 from the Rio Negro region to the southernmost city of the world Ushuaia. It’s one of the best travel books of all time that you should read.
- Author: Norman Lewis
- Originally published: 1978
In 1944, Lewis arrived in the southern Italian city of Naples as an intelligence officer. His job was to keep in touch between the army and the locals. The diary paints a wonderful picture of the city of Naples where he comes from, as well as the life and culture of its people.
Naples, with its tropical fish in a tank, devoured by hungry people, is also where women are forced into prostitution, and also where he tells about people beyond imagination: the character of a productive doctor, a faculty, and a widow.
Additionally, it is the author’s way of showing his love for the place he’s from. So, Lewis once said, “Italy would be my choice” when he was asked, “If I had the chance to be born again.”
Among the Russians
- Author: Colin Thubron
- Originally published: 1983
Colin Thubron is known as a famous British travel writer. With a delicate and gentle pen, Among the Russians recalls an image of Russia in a tumultuous period.
With deep knowledge of Russian history, an understanding of cultural architecture, and especially love for the people here, the author released this masterpiece in 1983.
- Author: Jonathan Raban
- Originally published: 1986
Coasting tells the story of the author’s four-thousand-mile journey around England in a small 32-foot boat with only a compass to guide him.
As a story about a long trip at sea, this is also a personal memory of his 40 years old (1982), hidden under the life of the character Raban.
- Author: Paulo Coelho
- Originally published: 1988
The Alchemist is the world’s best-selling book, second only to the Bible. The novel was written in Portuguese, and first published in 1988 in Brazil.
This is the magical story of the shepherd boy Santiago’s journey to find treasure. Along the way, he discovered the power of listening to his heart and following his dreams and passions to the end.
All the experiences in his adventure in pursuit of his destiny have helped Santiago understand the deepest meaning of happiness, and harmony with the universe and people.
In the book, travel tips are cleverly put into the work by the author. It is the valuable experience that he has drawn, and passed on to everyone, and the noble humanistic meanings that have helped many travel enthusiasts find true value in life. The Alchemist is also one of the best travel books that I always gift my friends to inspire their wanderlust.
Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe
- Author: Bill Bryson
- Originally published: 1991
In each chapter of the book, Bill Bryson’s travel anecdotes take you to another country in Europe. Carefully documenting hiccups across the continent, his enthusiasm and outspoken honesty make it easy to believe you’re looking for the Northern Lights in Norway despite the crazy traffic in Norway. Paris is right next door.
Bryson’s subtle storytelling incorporates sarcastic commentary on everything. Neither Here Nor There openly judges other travelers for their moments of innocence, and honestly admitting your shortcomings – you will struggle to finish a page without laughing out loud.
Notes From a Small Island
- Author: Bill Bryson
- Originally published: 1995
The work Notes From a Small Island, first published in 1995, is a journey across England by author Bill Bryson. The author’s pen is a combination of humor and touching about homesickness.
From a modern perspective, a series of whimsical landmarks of England as well as far less passionate regions are humorously mentioned, providing interesting entertainment for readers through each page of the book.
Into the Wild
- Author: Jon Krakauer
- Originally published: Jan 13, 1996
Released in 1996, more than 20 years have passed, the book tells the strange true story of the young Alexander McCandless who crossed the US and then “lived alone in the forest” which still attracted many people’s curiosity and interest and then haunted them.
From the first page to the last, Jon Krakauer leads the reader on an amazing adventure in nature. The story is both like a camera recording the entire journey of Christopher McCandless, and like a professional guide, helping readers enjoy all the beauty of the landscapes and people during that trip.
- Author: Alex Garland
- Originally published: Oct 14, 1996
Published in 1996, The Beach tells the story of an English traveler’s quest to the world’s paradise beaches. Along with the film adaptation, The Beach inspired a large generation of college students, inspiring them to step into the far East.
This work is considered a powerful symbol of the sense of escapism and innovation that tourism brings.
A Walk in the Woods
- Author: Bill Bryson
- Originally published: May 4, 1998
You are once again following Bill Bryson and his unlucky friend, Stephen Katz, on an interesting challenge. Actually, it wasn’t long before they found out that the challenge was much more difficult and complicated than they initially imagined. Although difficult, they have achieved certain successes. They are: Hiking the Appalachian Trail in the Eastern United States. This is a huge 3,500 km stretch of land stretching from Georgia to Maine.
This journey has given the two men the experience of a great adventure. Along the way, the two have overcome many of their own fears to move forward bravely. Their experiences also bring you a lot of laughs!
The Journals of Captain Cook
- Author: James Cook
- Originally published: Oct 1, 1999
The Diary of Captain Cook is the autobiography of himself – Captain James Cook – the most advanced and innovative figure on the list of 18th-century explorers on groundbreaking voyages.
Reading the book, you will follow Captain Cook to visit the islands of the Pacific Ocean, as he leads three explorers from Antarctica to Australia and New Zealand waters.
Eat, Pray, Love
- Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
- Originally published: Feb 16, 2006
The autobiography is the author’s journey in search of herself after a broken love.
According to the author’s reminiscent naming, the book’s title represents 3 countries with characteristics. They are Italy where she came to enjoy delicious food; India for spiritual prayer after the collapse of her marriage; Indonesia to regain her spirit, and find love and balance in life again.
During her travels, she met and made many new and kind friends. It was they who helped her open her heart to live happily and enjoy the beauty of the country and the people where she was present.
The work inspires those looking to find inner peace, urging you to come to better and more exciting things in the world out there.
Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge
- Author: John Gimlette
- Originally published: 2011
John Gimlette is also a veteran writer for Telegraph Travel. The new Wind Boat, published in 2011, tells about experiences in Guyana, and Suriname – the most beautiful places in South America.
Wild Coast is one of the best travel books that you will find interesting and inspiring to read.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
- Author: Mark Adams
- Originally published: Jun 30, 2011
Turn Right at Machu Picchu is also a good book for your wanderlust. The book will bring you the best experiences about the lost city of Machu Picchu. After reading the book, the secrets of this special city will bring you more curiosity and inspire you to buy a ticket to the place. Surely, this is one of the best travel books that you shouldn’t miss reading.
- Author: Cheryl Strayed
- Originally published: Mar 20, 2012
Wild is Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of a 1,770km hike along the Pacific Crest Trail when she was 26 years old.
After going through years of decay, disorientation, the death of her dear mother, and a painful divorce, she was determined to pack her bags and go. And during the journey of more than 1000 miles, she has met many people, overcomes many seemingly impossible challenges, and then re-examined her life and found herself.
Each practical experience is recorded through each book like a manual for those who are passionate about backpacking. In them are spiritual and religious stories in each land, safe and economical travel tips or memories with local people,… The books above will help you adventure around the world, see new things, and experience activities you have never done before. Enjoy, and have a great journey ahead!
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