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Eight books that inspire to travel (part 7)

February 21, 2019

 

When we're not on the road, we love to read about travel.

 

Reading travel novels transports us to faraway places and inspire us to visit new countries.

 

Here is another handful of travel books that will inspire you to travel.

 

 

 

Longitude and Latitude with Attitude: One Man's Quest to See the Entire World

by Rufus McGaugh

Rufus McGaugh knew early on that he wanted to see the world—all of it. And, later on, he did just that. Longitude and Latitude, with Attitude chronicles Rufus’s 49 years of travels around the globe to every country in the world.  He has visited countries near and far, well known and obscure.  He was hassled by the authorities in Russia (twice in one day). He was arrested—and later stalked by a leopard—in Zimbabwe. He met Miss America (well, Miss South Carolina) in Vietnam, outfoxed (or so he thought) a tailor in Hong Kong, and broke both arms bicycling in Cuba.

Longitude and Latitude, with Attitude is the unpretentious, often comic, frequently informative chronicle of these and other adventures and misadventures he experienced on his journeys. 

Recommended by the author Rufus McGaugh, who has booked some of his trips through us - we are proud to have helped Rufus reach his goal!

 

 

Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
Ten years ago, New Yorker Elizabeth Bard followed a handsome Frenchman up a spiral staircase to a love nest in the heart of Paris. Now, with a baby on the way and the world's flakiest croissant around the corner, Elizabeth is sure she's found her "forever place." But life has other plans. 
On a last romantic jaunt before the baby arrives, the couple take a trip to the tiny Provencal village of Céreste. A chance encounter leads them to the wartime home of a famous poet, a tale of a buried manuscript and a garden full of heirloom roses. Under the spell of the house and its unique history, in less time than it takes to flip a crepe, Elizabeth and Gwendal decide to move-lock, stock and Le Creuset-to the French countryside.
When the couple and their newborn son arrive in Provence, they discover a land of blue skies, lavender fields and peaches that taste like sunshine. Seduced by the local ingredients, they begin a new adventure as culinary entrepreneurs, starting their own artisanal ice cream shop and experimenting with flavors like saffron, sheep's milk yogurt and fruity olive oil. 
Filled with enticing recipes for stuffed zucchini flowers, fig tart and honey & thyme ice cream, Picnic in Provence is the story of everything that happens after the happily ever after: an American learning the tricks of French motherhood, a family finding a new professional passion, and a cook's initiation into classic Provencal cuisine. With wit, humor and scoop of wild strawberry sorbet, Bard reminds us that life-in and out of the kitchen-is a rendez-vous with the unexpected.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: funny at times, an easy read in which the recipes may just inspire you to try some of them - 8 out of 10

 

 

Tropical Classical: Essays from Several Directions by Pico Iyer

In Tropical Classical the author of Video Nights in Katmandu and The Lady and the Monk visits a holy city in Ethiopia, where hooded worshippers practice a Christianity that has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. He follows the bewilderingly complex route of Bombay's dabbawallahs, who each day ferry 100,000 different lunches to 100,000 different workers.

Iyer chats with the Dalai Lama and assesses the books of Salman Rushdie and Cormac McCarthy. And he brings his perceptive eye and unflappable wit to bear on the postmodern vogues for literary puffery, sexual gamesmanship, and frequent-flier miles. Glittering with aphorisms, overflowing with insight, and often hilarious, Tropical Classical represents some of Iyer's finest work.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: truth be told, once the travel stories ended I lost interest.  But the travel stories deserve an 8 out of 10

 

 

Epic Hikes of the World by Lonely Planet

With stories of 50 incredible hiking routes in 30 countries, from New Zealand to Peru, plus a further 150 suggestions, Lonely Planet’s Epic Hikes of the World will inspire a lifetime of adventure on foot. From one-day jaunts and urban trails to month-long thru-hikes, cultural rambles and mountain expeditions, each journey shares one defining feature: being truly epic.

Epic Hikes is organised by continent, with each route brought to life by a first-person account, beautiful photographs and charming illustrated maps. Additionally, each hike includes trip planning advice on how to get there, where to stay, what to pack and where to eat, as well as recommendations for three similar hikes in other regions of the world.

Adventure Coordinators verdict:  inspirational, even though the personal accounts from each trek take up a lot of room.  Not every hike is epic and some truly epic hikes were left out.  6 out of 10

 

 

Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China by Colin Thubron
Having learned Mandarin, and travelling alone by foot, bicycle and train, Colin Thubron sets off on a 10,000 mile journey from Beijing to Tibet, starting from a tropical paradise near the Burmese border to the windswept wastes of the Gobi desert and the far end of the Great Wall. What Thubron reveals is an astonishing diversity, a land whose still unmeasured resources strain to meet an awesome demand, and an ancient people still reeling from the devastation of the Cultural Revolution. 
Adventure Coordinators verdict: this wonderfully written book by our favourite wordsmith Colin Thubron gives some incredible insight into China only a few years after the death of Mao Zedong. 9 out of 10

 

 

Headhunters on my doorstep by J Maarten Troost

Readers and critics alike adore J. Maarten Troost for his signature wry and witty take on the adventure memoir. Headhunters on My Doorstep chronicles Troost’s return to the South Pacific after his struggle with alcoholism left him numb to life. Deciding to retrace the path once traveled by the author of Treasure Island, Troost follows Robert Louis Stevenson to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, Kiribati, and Samoa, tumbling from one comic misadventure to another. Headhunters on My Doorstep is a funny yet poignant account of one man’s journey to find himself that will captivate travel writing aficionados, Robert Louis Stevenson fans, and anyone who has ever lost his way.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: if you can work your way through Troost's personal and lengthy writings about his alcohol addiction, this book has some laugh-out-loud moments.  7 out of 10

 

 

The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi
Every month on a Thursday evening, a group of four Italian rural women gather in a derelict stone house in the hills above Italy’s Orvieto. There - along with their friend, Marlena - they cook, sit down to a beautiful supper, drink their beloved local wines, and talk.
Here, surrounded by candle light, good food and friendship, they tell their life stories of loves lost and found, of aging and abandonment, of mafia grudges and family feuds, and of ingredients and recipes whose secrets have been passed down through the generations. Around this table, these five friends share their food and all that life has offered them - the good and the bad.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: saving the recipes for the kitchen, this is a wonderful read that will have you smile, cry and leave you hungry.  8 out of 10.

 

 

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

From the Yenisey’s headwaters in the wild heart of central Asia to its mouth on the Arctic Ocean, Colin Angus and his fellow adventurers travel 5,500 kilometres of one of the world’s most dangerous rivers through remotest Mongolia and Siberia, and live to tell about it. 
Exploration is Colin Angus’ calling. It is not only the tug of excitement and challenge that keeps sending him on death-defying journeys down some of the world’s most powerful waterways, it is a desire to know a place more intimately than you could from the window of a train, to feel the soul of a place.  In Lost in Mongolia, Colin Angus takes readers through never-before-seen territory and his wonderful sense of adventure and humour come through on every page.

Adventure Coordinators verdict:  while style is not Angus' strongest suit, the book makes for a good read.  7 out of 10

 

 

 

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