5 travel-inspired books to read while in lockdown
Self-isolation or lockdown comes with several challenges. Do you have enough data to binge watch Netflix? Is it okay to talk to your house plants? Should you chance a trip to the shops to restock the pantry? The answer is no, say the travel gurus at Contiki.
They encourage an armchair trip around the world instead. Kele Scheppers, Marketing Manager for The Travel Corporation, parent company to Contiki, suggests people download some travel books.
“Books by nature bring exotic sights, sounds and smells to life; they take you to places you’ve never been before and can even shift the way you look at the world,” she said.
Contiki’s Six Two writer, Dominic Oliver, shares some books to add to your reading list:
Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000 Mile Adventure - Monisha Rajesh
Announcing that you’re going to travel the globe in 80 train journeys is quite a big deal. But after carefully plotting her route, gliding along the world’s most iconic railways (including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express) author Monisha Rajesh set out for the ride of her life.
Going from St Pancras station in London to some of the world’s most majestic landscapes including Russia, Mongolia, Singapore, Tibet, Canada and Kazakhstan, the book settles into a satisfying rhythm. The journey isn’t without bumps in the road, like road blockades and pop up police stations.
But the real magic is in the unlikely friendships she forges aboard each train journey and the swirl of cultures and breath-taking views she discovers along the way. It’s funny, poignant and is written at just the right pace to take it all in.
Down Under - Bill Bryson
Any one of Bryson’s books could be on this list, but in the end, we had to go with Down Under. His funny take on the wild and wonderful island of Australia is worth exploring. In the first few pages, Bryson conveys the sheer scale and sparsity of Australia by revealing that a cult possibly tested a nuclear weapon in the outback – without anyone noticing.
The Motorcycle Diaries - Ernesto 'Che' Guevara
The Motorcycle Diaries is a memoir that traces the travels of Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado across Latin America. Leaving from Buenos Aires, the pair journey to the Andes, the Atacama Desert and the Amazon River Basin.
From Incan ruins to thicketed jungles, the book is a colourful tribute to Latin America’s history and biodiversity. But it’s also in an intensely political book, in which Guevara documents the plight of the region’s poor. Ultimately, his travels provoke his revolutionary awakening, leading him to conclude: “I’m not the person I once was… when the guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves; I will be with the people.” It was with these deeply-held convictions that Guevara went on to play a crucial role in the Cuban revolution.
Only Two Seats Left - John Anderson
Contiki’s story began back in the summer of 1962 when a young man called John Anderson arrived in London short on cash but high on a dream. He wanted to see as much of Europe as possible and make the kind of memories that’d stay with him forever. A dash of bravado, a deposit on a twelve-seater minibus and an advert on a noticeboard later, he’d found the solution.
The very first Contiki trip was born.This book is Anderson’s colourful account of those early trips, and how he boldly turned £25 and a battered kombi into an iconic brand we know and love today. It’s a compelling tale of luck, love, adventure and entrepreneurship, and is a timely reminder of just how far a dream can take you.
On the Road, Jack Kerouac
On the Road by Jack Kerouac brings the 60’s counter-cultural movement to life as Kerouac journeys across the United States.He revitalises the original dream to ‘head west’ – and then adds lots of sex and drugs. This freedom is represented in the zany characters Kerouac encounters and his writing style.