Having the best books to inspire travel on your journey is like the cherry on top of a perfect trip.
1- The Size of the World by Jeff Greenwald
By the time that travel writer Jeff Greenwald hit his late thirties, he had covered more ground than Magellan, Marco Polo, and Columbus combined. But he also came to a sobering conclusion: airplanes had reduced his exotic explorations to a series of long commutes. So he set out to rediscover the mass, the gravity, and the size of the world. His mission: to circle the earth without leaving its surface.
What followed was a remarkable odyssey, as Greenwald scaled an active volcano in Guatemala, rode a rat-infested ferry across the Persian Gulf, dropped by Paul Bowles’s flat unannounced, saved a baby snow leopard in Tibet, and spent his fortieth birthday marooned in the Sahara. And no matter where he found himself, he sent reports of his exploits from his ever-faithful laptop to the screens of thousands of eager Internet readers. A pilgrimage both hilarious and harrowing, insightful and wise, The Size of the World takes you on an adventure you will never forget
2- Two towns in Provence by MFK Fisher
This memoir of the French provincial capital of Aix-en-Provence is, as the author tells us, “my picture, my map, of a place and therefore of myself…just as much of its reality is based on my own shadows, my inventions.” A vibrant and perceptive profile of the kinship between a person and a place.
M.F.K. Fisher scans the centuries to reveal the ancient sources that clarify the Marseille of today and the indestructible nature of its people A delightful journey filtered through the senses of a profound writer.
3- The Beach by Alex Garland
After discovering a seemingly Edenic paradise on an island in a Thai national park, Richard soon finds that since civilized behavior tends to dissolve without external restraints, the utopia is hard to maintain.
4- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
5- A House in Bali by Colin McPhee
This is a book about passion, obsession and discovery in an amazing land, but also about the voyage of a highly talented composer and writer.
A House in Bali remains one of the most remarkable books ever written about the fabled island of Bali. This classic book tells the story of Balinese culture through a history of Balinese music.
First published in 1947, it tells the story of the writer and composer Colin McPhee’s (1900–64) obsession with a music once unknown to the West, and of his journey to Bali to experience it firsthand. In 1929, the young Canadian– born musician chanced upon rare gramophone recordings of Balinese gamelan music which were to change his life forever. From that moment, he lived for the day when he could set foot on the island where the clear, metallic music originated. He was able to realize his dreams and spent almost a decade there during the 1930’s. Music of Bali and dance, as McPhee discovered to his delight, are second nature to the Balinese, and his subsequent writings and compositions proved seminal in popularizing Balinese gamelan music in the West.
In A House in Bali, McPhee unfolds a beguiling picture of a society long established, staggeringly poor in Western terms, but rich beyond belief in spiritual values and joy. The young composer writes about his discoveries of music in Bali and growing understanding of an astonishing culture where the arts are a prime preoccupation, and of the arts, music is supreme. Much has been written on Bali, but this classic work from 1947 remains the only narrative by a Western musician.