Have you ever read a book that then made you decide to visit a destination? Do you read books about your destination of choice prior to going, or after you come back?
Here are eight books that will inspire you, prepare you for or let you reminisce about your travels.
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail - Malika Oufkir
Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her youth surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege. Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters. and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996.
This is a heartrending account in the face of extreme deprivation and the courage with which one family faced its fate.
Adventure Coordinators review: If you are unaware of the political repression that went on during the reign of King Hassan II, this book will be an eyeopener. 7.5 out of 10.
Walking the Nile - Levison Wood
The Nile, one of the world's great rivers, has long been an object of fascination and obsession. From Alexander the Great and Nero, to Victorian adventurers, the river has enticed many into wild adventures. English writer, photographer, and explorer Levison Wood continues that tradition, and Walking the Nile is the captivating account of his remarkable and unparalleled Nile journey.
Wood aimed to become the first person to walk the entire length of the fabled river. Like his predecessors, Wood camped in the wild, foraged for food, and trudged through rainforest, swamp, savannah, and desert, enduring sandstorms and becoming a local celebrity in Uganda and getting caught in a civil war and detained by the secret police in South Sudan. As Wood walks on, Walking the Nile maps out African history and contemporary life. An inimitable tale of survival, resilience, and sheer willpower, Walking the Nile is an inspiring chronicle of an epic journey down this lifeline of civilization.
Adventure Coordinators review: A good read about a modern adventure journey, Wood gives some good insights into contemporary African life. 8 out of 10.
You Shall Know Our Velocity! - Dave Eggers
In You Shall Know Our Velocity!, his first novel, Eggers tells a story of loss and its aftermath. After their childhood friend Jack is killed in a highway accident, Will and Hand decide to fly around the world, giving away the windfall money Will has recently received. And while their travels take them from Chicago to Dakar, Morocco, Estonia, and Latvia, the real journey is an interior one, into Will’s tormented consciousness. He can give away his money—and the occasions for doing so range from the hilarious to the awkward to the poignant—but the voices in his mind are another matter. However much he wants to “throw his head to the world,” it remains firmly on his shoulders, filled with memories of childhood and of Jack, and with an overwhelming desire for vengeance — on the yahoos who beat him up and on the trucker who killed his friend.
In writing that is brilliant, unpredictable, and paced at breakneck speed, Eggers takes readers halfway around the globe and all the way into the inner world of his narrator’s unrelenting grief.
Adventure Coordinators review: We can't make up my mind about this book. At times we loved it, at times we thought it was just plain weird. It is original for sure. Let's give it a 7 out of 10.
Leaving before the rains come - Alexandra Fuller
Looking to rebuild after a painful divorce, Alexandra Fuller turns to her African past for clues to living a life fully and without fear.
A child of the Rhodesian wars and of two deeply complicated parents, Alexandra Fuller is no stranger to pain. But the disintegration of Fuller’s own marriage leaves her shattered. Looking to pick up the pieces of her life, she confronts tough questions about her past, about the American man she married, and about the family she left behind in Africa. Fuller soon realizes that what is missing from her life is something that was always there: the brash and uncompromising ways of her father, a man who regretted nothing and wanted less, even after fighting harder and losing more than most men could bear.
Leaving Before the Rains Come showcases Fuller at the peak of her abilities, threading panoramic vistas with her deepest revelations as a fully grown woman and mother. Fuller reveals how—after spending a lifetime fearfully waiting for someone to show up and save her—she discovered that, in the end, we all simply have to save ourselves.
Adventure Coordinators review: this book is poignant and hard-hitting at times, humorous at others, but always beautifully written. 9 out of 10.
Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth - Albert Podell
This is the story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible. First, he set a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, during the course of which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a serious accident atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of being lynched in Pakistan, and lost three of the five men who started with him, two to disease, one to the Vietcong.
After that-although it took him forty-seven more years-Albert Podell set another record by going to every country on Earth. This is a remarkable tale of quiet courage, dogged persistence, undying determination, and an uncanny ability to escape from one perilous situation after another.
Adventure Coordinators review: if you can get around the misogynistic, ethnocentric parts of this book, you may find some humor and interest in it. 6 out of 10.
Travel Light, Move Fast - Alexandra Fuller
This is an utterly original story of her father, Tim Fuller, and a deeply felt tribute to a life well lived.
After her father’s sudden death, Alexandra Fuller realizes that if she is going to weather his loss, she will need to become the parts of him she misses most. So begins Travel Light, Move Fast, the unforgettable story of Tim Fuller, a self-exiled black sheep who moved to Africa to fight in the Rhodesian Bush War before settling as a banana farmer in Zambia. A man who preferred chaos to predictability, to revel in promise rather than wallow in regret, he taught his daughters to live as if everything needed to happen all together, all at once—or not at all.
A master of time and memory, Fuller moves seamlessly between the days and months following her father’s death, and her childhood spent running after him in Africa. Writing with reverent irreverence of the rollicking grand misadventures of her parents, bursting with pandemonium and tragedy, Fuller takes their insatiable appetite for life to heart. Here, in Fuller’s Africa, is a story of joy, resilience, and vitality, from one of our finest writers.
Adventure Coordinators review: one of our favourite travel novels from one of our favourite authors. 10 out of 10
Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude - Stephanie Rosenbloom
A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of travelling solo
Adventure Coordinators review: while at times a bit heavy on the sociological and psychological research, this book will resonate with everyone who craves time alone when travelling. 8 out of 10
The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred - Phil Cousineau
For the intrepid traveler, there are more resources than ever before. But what about the traveler who is eager for a journey that is personally meaningful? "The Art of Pilgrimage" is a guide for travelers ready to embark on a sacred journey and for armchair travelers curious to know what it means to travel with soulful purpose. It combines stories, myths, parables, and quotes from famous travelers of the past with practical suggestions and contemporary accounts. Not a guidebook to holy sites, this book is designed to help travelers focus on the purpose and intention at every stage of their journey no matter where they are going.
Adventure Coordinators review: I enjoyed this book for the ways it made me reflect on my own journeys. On the surface my travels were for personal enjoyment. Yet every one of my journeys brought me something new, enriched me, and changed me. 8.5 out of 10.