Everyone loves a good book – and over the last 12 months, they have certainly been keeping the wanderlust alive for many solo travellers. From picturing epic journeys to far-away places, looking for ideas for a few short breaks or being inspired by the courage of others to take the plunge explore more of the world – books have kept the world open to us and our imaginations.
We’ve put our heads together and picked our top 10 travel books to inspire you to take your next grand adventure.
Wild, Cheryl Strayed
At 26, Cheryl thought she’d lost everything, and following the death of her mother, she made an incredibly impulsive decision to walk 1,100 miles along the west coast of America. And do it alone. With no experience of distance hiking and a route that was nothing more than a simple line on a map she set off in search of a promise of piecing together her life.
Gino’s Italian Escape, Gino D’Acampo
When ITV broadcast ‘Gino’s Italian Escape’ and not only did we get to see the incredible landscapes of Italy but we could almost smell the delicious dishes he was creating on the screen. This fantastic cookbook gives you the chance to try out your own skills in the kitchen and enjoy a taste of Italy from your own kitchen. The only question is which dish do you try first?
Journeys in the Wild: The Secret Life of a Cameraman, Gavin Thurstan
(foreworded by David Attenborough)
Millions of people have watched a variety of television series’ where Sir David Attenborough talks about the incredible wildlife across the globe. Gavin Thurstan is the award-winning cameraman behind Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II and in this book he shares stories of his adventures, the challenges and heart-warming moments that he encountered in some of the most remotest places in the world, in his efforts to capture jaw-dropping film of lions, whales, penguins and more in their natural habitats.
Eat, Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
This incredible book is follows the journey of the Elizabeth Gilberts travels around the world in search of pleasure, devotion and balance. Spending months in Italy enjoying life and tasting the delicious food, she then spent three months travelling around India seeking spirituality, ending up in Bali where she ultimately fell in love. As you read through to the book, Gilberts words scratch at the itch that each traveller has to experience more of the world.
Dear World, how are you?, Toby Little
This is a lovely book features some of the letters that a young boy called Toby sent and received after his fantastic idea to write a letter to every country in the world. At the time it was published it was heart-warming to read the responses from around the globe, but now, after such a long time with our feet grounded, it’s a nice reminder that there is a wider world out there too.
The White Tiger, Avavind Adiga
This won the Booker Prize in 2008 and is a must-read for anyone planning to travel to India. The White Tiger tells the story of a young boy from a small village who travels to Delhi and then steals money from his employer to set up his own business. The book examines real issues of the caste system, poverty, religion and corruption in modern India. It’s an incredibly detailed and engaging story which helps you understand this complex and colourful country.
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
This classic tale has the power to change your life! It tells the story of an Andalucian shepherd who travels in search of treasure and ultimately finds himself along the way. It’s a beautiful book about listening to your heart and following your dreams – a truly inspiring read!
An Elephant in my Kitchen, Francoise Malby- Anthony
Lawrence Anthony was a South African conservationist who founded the Thula Thula Game reserve. After Lawrence’s death in 2012, his wife Francoise Malby-Anthony was left to run the reserve herself. An Elephant in my Kitchen is her heart-warming book - a gripping and captivating tale of courage, survival and love.
The Time Machine, HG Wells
Many people have an idea of where they’d like to go in the world, but what about if you were asked when in the world you’d like to go? HG Wells’ The Time Machine, may be a work of science fiction but his story piques the interest of many intrepid travellers as the protagonist journeys through time to new evolved worlds 800,000 years in the future.
1,000 Places to see before you die, Patricia Schultz
This one of the best-selling travel guides in the world and is full to the brim of the must-visit places – a checklist for travellers if you will. Her lively text, dotted with stunning pictures, explain why each listed destination offers a unique experience – from Croatia’s Istrian Coast which she accurately describes as ‘The Tuscany of Croatia’ to New Zealand’s ‘Bubbling Rotorua’ and so much more.