Between May 13 and July 3, we rode on five planes, over 40 trains, and a bus. We also spent roughly 24 hours driving around Ireland. With that much travel time on my hands, I was finally able to read a number of books on my ever-growing reading list. Because of my love for travel, many of the books I choose are travel books.
Fuel Your Wanderlust With the First installation of the exquisitREADS Book List
The Road to Little Dribbling
Bill Bryson is one of my favorite travel writers. As I read The Road to Little Dribbling on the train, his dry sense of humor and colorful descriptions caused more than a couple glances my way from fellow passengers as I literally laughed out loud. In this book, he is working his way through Britain, his adopted country. My favorite scene is one in which two older British ladies offer him a ride to his destination, goad him into naming one thing in Britain that he does not like ("'There must be something you don't like.'"), and then berate him when he finally, reluctantly replies that he does not care for their bacon. Overall, a great read, full of historical facts, fun anecdotes, and cultural insight.
Paris Was Ours
Paris Was Ours: Thirty-Two Writers Reflect on the City of Light by Penelope Rowlands features 32 stories that were intriguing, informative, and sprinkled with humor. I learned some of the history and cultural anomalies of Paris and Parisians. Some stories were more interesting than others, but I highly recommend reading this collection of short stories that Ms. Rowlands has compiled.
One of Pete McCarthy's travel rules is "never pass a bar that has your name on it." During his travels through Ireland, his mother's homeland, at each McCarthy's Bar he encounters, he goes in, often with humorous results. His colorful descriptions of the various cities he visits and the characters he meets along the way had me chuckling aloud.
In a Sunburned Country (Down Under)
Bill Bryson traveled to the sunburned country of Australia several times, and became thoroughly enamored with its peculiarities and harshness, its breathtaking views and remote locations, and its general emptiness. His adoration for the country that is also a continent evidences itself in his crystal clear descriptions of the flora and fauna, the beaches and landscapes, the cities and suburbs and outback. Bryson has a great sense of humor, laughing as often at himself and his own idiosyncrasies as anything else. Bryson obviously possesses a curious nature and an adventurous spirit, frequently taking spontaneous side trips and dipping into hole-in-the-wall establishments that less daring travelers would shun. And he clearly genuinely enjoys learning. He often dips into local museums, reads local newspapers, reads long, tedious historical records of Australia, and strikes up conversations with as many museum curators and other persons who are knowledgeable of their country as will listen. We were enthralled from start to finish, and In a Sunburned Country has planted Australia firmly on our ever-growing bucket list.
We have personally tried a few different methods of making money while on the road. But Road Cash: How to make money while living on the road offers an in-depth look at many creative (and some super-fun) ways to keep income rolling in while you live the life you have always wanted. Whether you have tried different ideas and are looking for something new and exciting, or you are just starting out and have no idea what kinds of options are available, read Road Cash. You won't regret it!
To the Moon and Timbuktu
One of my favorite travel reads has been To the Moon and Timbuktu: A Trek Through the Heart of Africa by Nina Sovich. Born in Connecticut, Nina has the heart of a true adventurer. Her father first inspired her to travel to Timbuktu, mentioning it to her in passing when she was just a child.
Having lived for a time in Egypt, and with her background in journalism, Nina has never shied away from locations typically portrayed as dangerous. But the Sahara challenges her in ways she did not imagine. She encounters less-than-desirable characters, faces nearly unbearable heat, and becomes ill. But she also meets many wonderful people, faces her fears, and confronts herself. The Sahara forces her to realize what she truly desires.
The Coral Island
Written in 1858 by Scottish author R. M. Ballantyne, The Coral Island is a great read for anyone who loves a good adventure story. Wonderfully written, this classic novels tells the tale of three teenage boys marooned on an island in the South Pacific. Though not technically a travel book, with Ballantyne's detailed descriptions of the lagoon, the island's coastline, and the trees the boys come across, reading The Coral Island made me pine for the Pacific islands.
The Wing-and-Wing; Or, Le Feu-Follet
American writer James Fenimore Cooper is most known for his Leatherstocking Tales series, which take place in North America, but one of my favorites of his is The Wing-and-Wing; or, Le Feu-Follet. Though a work of fiction, the book talks in detail of the Italian coastline, a sight I now desperately need to see. The story is also one of romance and adventure, and I couldn't put it down.
We hope we've inspired you to read some of these fabulous books, and we hope they inspire you to travel more.
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