Have you ever been inspired by a book to travel?

Amazing Marrakesh

Amazing Marrakesh

I was working on our new website about Ho Chi Minh City yesterday, writing a blog post about how to keep the motivation up once you’ve booked your holiday but still have to soldier on til departure date. I suggested that reading a book about, or set in, the location you are about to visit is one way to keep your spirits up. I have just put a full page up on inspirational and useful reads for Ho Chi Minh City which is what the website is focussed on and was amazed at the scope and variety of what is out there on just one city. But then I got to thinking of the many other ways a beautiful book can inspire, enhance and help keep the memories of your travels.

Remember when I wrote the tips blog about Travel Planning (Part 2 really is coming I promise). I suggested that you find ideas in magazines and newspapers and travel brochures. Well reading a book serves just as well.The absolutely first time I ever thought of going overseas was as a 16 year old reading The Drifters by James A Michener…Marrakesh sounded so exotic then and it still is. The sound of Torremolinos still evokes images of suntanned hippies hanging  out and having fun, despite the fact it’s now just a little bit tacky and overdeveloped. I guess the reality can sometimes disappoint but not always.

India Pics

Dreaming of India

Have you ever read The Beach? The imagery and descriptions of the idyllic island setting sent thousands of people to outer tropical islands in South East Asia. When the movie was released Kho Phi Phi was overrun. One good reason to get there before the movie release I guess!! Ditto with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.   Holy Cow, by Sarah Macdonald is one of my all time favourites. It’s a really funny book about the enormous range of religions in India and it had me itching to get to there to experience the chaos. After reading Bill Bryson’s, A Walk in the Woods,I was madly plotting how we could do the Appalachian Trail ourselves. Cycling has taken over the physically challenging corner of our travels for the moment but it still lurks on the bucket list as one of the things I’d love to try. I tried to read Jack Kerouac’s classic On the Road, but I’m afraid it didn’t do much for me at all and I never finished it. Just not my style (Lord of the Rings is the same. I’ve tried 4 times to read it and stopped in the same place every time.)

Books also keep the memories alive once we get home. Reading a book that mentions and describes somewhere we’ve been immediately evokes the sights, smells and sounds of a moment in time where we experienced the same thing. The written word is sometimes more powerful in bringing back the memories than a photo. It’s one of the reasons I blog. Way to many red wines over the years means my memory is not what it used to be. Reading back over our adventures, brings it all back again, as does reading a book by someone else.

India Pics - Varanasi

Every sense assaulted by this magical place.

Anyway……As is usual when I start to look at things that interest me I’ve gone off on a tangent. I ( really must have been so focussed prior to the internet!!) I started to look at the Best Travel Books Ever, Top ten lists of classic travel books. Top ten travel books for 2013 etc and came up with a huge and varied list. Some of which, I have to admit, I’ve never even heard of. (Not surprising as I actually haven’t read a book in ages – Must rectify that soon! The main reason I’m using is I’ve been focussed on writing my own (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) and yes it does have a travel theme)  I considered making a huge list here and asking people to vote but what I’d really prefer to do is get your opinion on the subject before I make such a list.

So the BIG QUESTION is…..

What are the books you’ve read that have inspired your travels, made you add a place to your bucket list OR left you feeling like you’ve been there?

Please put a comment below and I’ll be publishing a list of readers favourites when I get at least 10…

Note: I do not receive any payment for this post (or any others on the site for that matter!). I do receive a small amount of money by allowing advertisements on the site and any purchases made through those links.

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7 Responses

  1. Just the mention of James A. Michener’s “The Drifters” gave me goose bumps! I still remember being a teenager, laying on the beach and dreaming of an exciting life of travel.

    These days I enjoy reading travel blogs like yours and travel magazines.

  2. Ro Clague says:

    We tend to choose travel destinations by themes. Art, architecture, pre history and roman ruins, Santiago de Compostells routes, tapestry routes and historic events and the encountered scenery, food, music and lifestyle differences are the wonderful addons. I read all the Edward Rutherford books to give a light ‘history’ and we read as we go books about our travels eg Stasiland when in Germany, how green was my valley in Wales and loads of Anna Weir English history novels while in
    Europe. Most of my readies and rereads are enjoyed post travel to bring back evocative memories of where we travelled. The internet on the go is wonderful eg reading Viking history in Scandinavia and the history of the Arcadians in Canada etc. just writing this has reminded me of lots of our travels. Cheers and keep writing

  3. sue rumble says:

    I read daphne du murriers books set in cornwall and went 2 many places i read about….just fantastic

  1. November 3, 2014

    […] 3. Our next adventure will take a bit of time to put in place. We’re not even sure where we are going yet. It will, however, involve returning to Australia to collect our bikes and spending the best part of a year on another bike tour. Whether that’s in Europe, Asia or the Americas, we haven’t decided. Whatever we decide, we do need to plan out a route according to weather patterns, places we want to visit and special events we want to attend. Despite being extremely flexible that still takes some time. Check out how we get our inspiration for a trip, Click here and here. […]

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