25 Books To Inspire You To Pack Your Bags And Travel

Reading for me is one way I escape reality, I learn about new cultures and go on a journey without leaving home. There are many places I have visited because I have read about them in a book like parts of Provence in France where I visited because of reading The Lavender Keeper by Fiona McIntosh.

I realised I am not the only person who is inspired by books so asked other bloggers some of their inspirations, so sit back and start planning your next adventure with our 25 books to inspire you to pack your bags and travel.

Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne 

Elisa from World in Paris

Jules Verne and his Around the World in 80 days gave me the necessary dose of wanderlust to leave everything, pack my bags and do my own World Tour. This is a book for all ages, that I discovered as a teenager and I like to read again from time to time. The author’s imagination is incredible, as he did not visit most of the places described in the book. Instead, he used descriptions from newspapers, books or other travelers’ tales and blended them all with his brilliant mind to create the story. Also, this is a timeless book because the characters and situations could be part of our everyday life. 

In the beginning, I wanted to do the same around the world itinerary than Phileas Fogg, leaving London instead of Paris where I live. Because I did not have his gang’s rush (and final reward) I could spend some extra time exploring the countries along my way instead of just going from point to point. However some of the countries checked by M. Fogg in the XIX century are considered today as not very safe so in the end, I kept his spirit and traveling direction but chose my own itinerary. This is a very entertaining book, very easy to read which I definitely recommend.

The Beach by Alex Garland

Jenny from TraveLynn Family

The Beach by Alex Garland is a classic amongst travellers and for good reason. The opening pages describe a naïve young backpacker arriving for the first time on Th Khao San in Bangkok, perfectly capturing the mixture of excitement and trepidation which define the beginning of any travelling adventure. The souvenir-vendors, beer-shops, hostels, and noodle-bars fighting for space on the backpacker strip evoke a sense of wonderment and adventure in any intrepid traveller.

The book goes on to perfectly contrast the squalor of backpacker life in Bangkok with the pristine sun-drenched islands in the south. The protagonist eventually joins an island community who live far removed from everyday life, free from mortgages, office work and bad weather. Despite the story not ending well for the community, the lifestyle it describes seemed very enticing then, and all these years later, it seems no less appealing!

I have travelled many times to Thailand over the years. First as a student backpacker on a shoestring budget and more recently with my family when my boys were just 1 and 3 years old. (you may like to read my itinerary for Bangkok with young kids). Thailand will always be one of my favourite travel destinations. It may be the food, the people, the temples, the beaches, but a lot of my obsession with Thailand was kick-started with Alex Garland’s evocative novel.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Angela from Reading Inspiration

The Bone Clocks is a fascinating read which spans seven decades and takes the reader to locations all over the world including Ireland, the south of England, the Alps of Switzerland, Colombia, China, Western Australia and Iceland.

The book tells the story of the interlocking lives of strangers as they become entangled in a mysterious conflict between two factions of immortal beings. It centers on the life of Holly Sykes who the reader first encounters as a runaway teenager in Gravesend near London. The narrative revolves around her unwitting involvement in a bigger mysterious conflict.

Within the globe-trotting narrative, the destination which the book really inspires me to travel to is Iceland. One of the characters, a friend of Holly in later life, is the writer Crispin Hershey. While appearing at a book festival in Reykjavik he takes in a whale watching tour near Húsavík Bay. He is lucky enough (although distracted by his own internal conflict) to experience the sight of a huge humpback whale surfacing.

Since I was a young child I have always been fascinated by whales, the majestic giants of the seas threatened with extinction. I have been dolphin and whale watching off the coast of west Scotland but have yet to see a whale in their natural environment. While many other destinations offer the prospect of whale watching too; Iceland’s awe-inspiring scenery and experiences including geothermal baths and the midnight sun are also very appealing. I am yet to travel to Iceland, but I hope one day I will be able to say, I’ve been to Iceland and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell inspired me to go there. In the meantime, I will have to be content to say I have been to Kent and Brighton – three of the other locations featured in the intriguing novel!

Read Angela’s full review of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell here.

The Diary of Ann Frank

Statue of Ann Frank Amsterdam

Dani from A Baby Abroad

I read The Diary of Anne Frank for the first time as a student in school. I felt connected to her like we had so many things in common. While other girls in my class were collecting pop star posters, I was spending my allowance money on Anne Frank books, movies and documentaries.  Since then, visiting the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam was always at the very top of my bucket list.

As an adult, I have reread this book four different times. It makes me cry every time. I reread it during my flight to Amsterdam, while I couldn’t believe I was finally going to visit Anne’s house, after about 20 years of wishing to go!

As I went up the narrow stairs behind the bookshelf that kept Anne Frank’s hiding place a secret during the Second World War, and I ran my fingers across every inch of the walls that I could, I felt so connected to her and her story. I have a family history of Holocaust survival, so being in this place, that I practically knew by memory from the excerpts of the book that I recalled, was an exciting and memorable experience, but at the same time, heart sinking and painful.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson

Stephanie from History Fan Girl

While most people who travel after reading Stieg Larson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would likely plan a trip to Sweden, it inspired me to take a trip to Malta instead. I won’t spoil the novel, but there’s a small section where Lisbeth Salander turns up on the stone-colored island, and after reading it, I realized I knew very little about the country of Malta. Having already been to Sweden, I decided that I needed to see what Malta was like for myself. It also seemed like a perfect place to vacation solo, since it’s so small and safe. This was back before I left my job to travel full time, and it was hilarious trying to explain to coworkers why I was going to vacation in Malta alone. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to visit the Mediterranean in October when everyone back in the office is hard at work. In the novel, Lizbeth uses the island for some delicious financial crimes, but I got my tan on and relaxed instead. While there, I branched out a little more than the book did, exploring all three major islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino, which each have so much charm. While the actual island of Malta is great for site seeing and partying and Comino is a perfect day trip, there were so many things to do in Gozo that it surprised me. In fact, I ended up loving the country so much, I went back again last summer for more beach time and sunset views. It’s a fabulous, tiny country that I can’t get enough of.

 

I am David by Anne Holm

Nicola from All About Rosa Lilla

I fell in love with I am David when I was given it as a Christmas present one year. I can’t quite remember how old I was, maybe ten or eleven but this was the first book that had a profound effect on me.

It is the story of a young boy’s journey as he escapes a prison labour camp following World War II and travels through Europe to be reunited with his mother in Denmark. David was a person seeing the world for the first time and his journey as a refugee – from the darkness of his oppressed past to his new life trusting people and making friends really pulled on my heartstrings.

Although the setting for the story was rather grim the amazingly descriptive way that the author Anne Holm showed us Europe through David’s eyes ignited my spark for travel. It was the first time that I fell in love with Italy in particular.

Even as a child I could visualize myself in the beauty of the Italian countryside and the warmth of the characters described in the book made me feel like it would be a place I would be happy to call home. I have been to Italy several times as a result of this book and it is just as I imagined it to be. I, like David, stood in awe in fields filled with sunflowers with neverending views of Cyprus trees and rustic buildings. I still remember sitting reading this book as a young child wanting so desperately to see this beautiful place and I am so glad that it lived up to my expectations.

 

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

Trekking in Patagonia

Julianna from The Discoveries Of

In Patagonia is one of the classic pieces of travel literature – a glimpse through time at the wild and remote land of days gone by written by Bruce Chatwin.

I’ll never forget the first time I read In Patagonia: I was struck by the strange emptiness Chatwin describes from his trip to the region in the late 1970s. Chatwin thrusts you into a sparsely-populated land that’s at once beautiful and savage, difficult to live on and filled with slightly quirky and offbeat characters, each of whom has their own story to tell. That’s before we even delve into Chatwin’s tales of Patagonia as the official playground of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Of course, I had to go. The intervening decades had seen Patagonia change considerably – it’s no longer the near-inaccessible remote corner of the earth of Chatwin’s time. Destinations such as the Torres del Paine National Park, El Calafate, and El Chalten are big on the international travel scene and deservedly so. But when you walk away from the crowds, and off the beaten track, you can catch a fleeting vision of what Chatwin found all that time ago.

 

Journey to the River Seas by Eva Ibbotson

Photo courtesy of http://blogs.slj.com

Connie from The British Bagel Hunt

My parents have always been avid travellers, so It was just a matter of time before I would decide that I also wanted to go out and see the world. At the age of about 10, my mum purchased an audio CD of Journey to the River Sea. The fictitious adventures of Maia struck such a chord with me that I’ve been obsessed with visiting The Amazon ever since.

Maia travels from her English boarding school to the Amazon jungle by ship with her governess Miss Minton. The relatives who adopt her fall into the category of the ‘evil stepmother’ but despite this, she still manages to open her eyes to the magic of her new surroundings.

Even at that young age, I was well aware that Ibbotson had created a romanticised version of the jungle. Nevertheless, I was still entranced by the descriptions of the opulent golden opera house, the local tribes, and the unfathomable rivers. Though I haven’t yet managed to travel to South America, my longing to explore that part of the world has never ceased to exist and I have plans to go there in the next few years.

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Doug Gillett

After two of my best friends passed away, I knew I had to do something courageous with my life. Reading was never an interest of mine until a mentor recommend I read a book called King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. I also had a desire to travel but was always let down by old friends.
I needed to do a trip of growth; the idea of going out into the world and returning as a better version of myself. After scanning the contents of the book, I was stunned when I realised that my immature boy energies were stopping me from growing. Next, I became fixated on this idea of becoming a hero. To be a hero I needed to submit my fear and pain to the world and leave my old ways of thinking behind.
Thanks to the book I found the confidence. Reading intently also taught me, in order to be a man, there needed to be a death. The death of me. This was manifested in the form of solo travel and not relying on old friends. I decided to confront my fears and travel to Guatemala, a place everybody told me was too dangerous to go. If I had not read the book, I doubt I would have ever found the right tool to be able to transform my boy energies into that of a man I am today.

Long Way Down by Ewen Mcgregor and Charlie Boorman

Josh from The Lost Passport

For many years I’d been excited by both motorbikes and travel, and combining these seem like an amazing idea. Finally, Ewen McGregor and Charlie Boorman made this a reality with his motorbike adventure book Long Way Down, a huge journey on two wheels from London to Cape Town. I was amazed by both the mobility and flexibility these guys got by traveling across the world on motorbikes. It was really a way to travel with complete freedom, the opportunity to make your own route and stay as long or as short in different destinations.

While planning a one year Asia trip, I considered motorbikes multiples times. At one point, I came up with a crazy plan to ride a motorbike from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia over a three month duration. Eventually I toned it down to an smaller but still epic three month, 3000KM motorbike trip across Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh City to the northern Vietnam-China border. Since the first Vietnam motorbike trip, I’ve returned to this amazing country another three time to write this epic Vietnam motorbike route guide, with over must see 20 destinations.

The Lost World of Z by David Grann

Joshua & Sarah from Veggie Vagabonds

Books are made even more inspiring when you’re reading the book as you’re travelling through the settings of the story. Whilst I was travelling through Bolivia I found a dusty copy of The Lost City of Z by David Grann. It tells the story of the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his son who went missing in the Amazon whilst in search of a lost city.
I was reading this book whilst travelling through the Bolivian Amazon towards Brazil. We were on small trade boat moving along the Rio Negra for 8 days to cross the border. I remember reading Percy Fawcett’s accounts of the awesome power of the Amazon and the creatures within it. A part of the story which really sticks to mind is their constant plague of malarial mosquito which would fly around like birds and bite through clothes and shoes. I remember reading this section whilst I was lying in a hammock on the back of the boat, being bitten by mosquitoes whilst travelling through the Amazon. I actually have Amazonian mosquitoes squashed between the pages of the book.
The book really inspired me not just to travel but to explore. To forget about guidebooks and to try and discover new places for myself, just like Percy Fawcett, but hopefully not to go missing in the Amazon!

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Geisha Japan

Sally from Our 3 Kids V The World

There has always been a bit of confusion around the role of geisha’s and I have often heard people say they are Japanese prostitutes. This is not correct, they are traditional Japanese entertainers and highly skilled in traditional dance and music. The book Memoirs of a Geisha sets out the journey of a young Japanese girl to become a geisha. Her journey requires her to leave her home as a 14-year-old and move into a house with other aspiring maikos/geishas and the house mother who will train them. A maiko is an apprentice geisha, becoming a geisha is not for the faint-hearted.

I’m not going to tell anymore as it’s a brilliant story and I couldn’t put it down. It piqued my interest in Japan and I finally ticked it off the list in 2016 and it was everything I expected and more and much better. I had dinner with a maiko and saw her dance and play music. She was elegant and beautiful and exactly what I expected from reading the book. Seeing a maiko/geisha was top of my bucket list and was incredibly happy to have shared the experience with my daughter, mum, and my sister. 

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Somnath from Travel Crusade

A Moveable Feast by Ernst Hemingway is one of the fictional novels that inspired me to travel to Paris. The book mainly contains memoirs
of a young journalist struggling to make a living with his wife. However, it also includes important notes and information about lanes
and shops and souvenirs in the streets of Paris as well as describing the struggles and the difficulties in the life of a journalist and the dreadful days of one’s career.

The book has definitely inspired me to travel to Paris, observe the differences of the city between then and now. I have many cherished memories of my visit to Paris with a friend, three years ago.  I feel lucky to have observed everything personally described in the book and also met some amazing people.

Nine Lives by William Dalrymple

Andra from Our World To Wander 

After having read Dalrymple’s In Xanadu, the story about his journey from Jerusalem to Shangdu in 1989, I was looking forward to indulging more in his travel memoirs. So I ended up devouring Nine Lives, a compilation of nine stories depicting the various aspects of traditional religions in India. I have to admit that India had already to grow under my skin, but each of the stories found in Nine Lives just made me want to explore India even more.

The reason for which I loved this book was the fact that Dalrymple succeeded in combining a travel diary with a sketch of the human soul. Religion in India plays an important role, and through his stories, he manages to give you an idea of the cocktail of various beliefs hidden in India. After reading it, you will want to travel and see with your own eyes the way of life of Jain nuns, to understand the meaning of Tantric rituals and how they are performed, the manner in which a Sufi saint is worshipped, the spiritual jewels inside a Buddhist monk’s soul.

I guarantee that you cannot remain indifferent to Dalrymple’s stories. They will grasp your imagination and make you curious about the genuinely incredible land called India.

On The Road With Kids by John Ahern

Jane from Wicked Walkabout

We already had our tickets booked for Christmas Day to the UK when I bought this hilarious book. It was a case of inspiration whilst travelling already.

Once we landed and had seen friends and relatives in England it was time to work out our travel plans. My husband returned to Oz after 3 weeks as he did not fancy winter in UK/Europe, I was heading off on an unplanned adventure with our daughters. As the car we had bought had a tow bar… I thought to myself…we need a little caravan!

Off on the ferry to Calais and I began reading John’s book to my girls. It was one of the highlights of the 10-month journey for them and we read it a few times.

On The Road With Kids is a hilarious account of an Australian family deciding to buy a motorhome and head off touring Europe with two young kids. The vehicle was bout online and collected in Holland. They learnt about chemical toilets and the complexities of driving in Europe as they went, often with some hysterical results other times with some sobering lessons learned along the way.

A word of warning though, John tosses in some saucy descriptions at times, so you may not want your kids to read it solo. I did alter some sentences but enjoyed the story as we travelled.

Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Huffington

Andrew from Dish Our Town.

I was standing in front of Picasso’s most famous work, “Guernica”, located in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. I always appreciated the artist but viewing the masterpiece compelled me to learn more about the man and his art. One of the first steps I took was to read as much as I could about the man. The best work of literature about him was written by, Arianna Huffington; with a book titled, “Picasso: Creator and Destroyer”.

This book inspired me to visit Picasso Museums located in the towns that were integral to his life as a man and an artist. These destinations included Paris, Barcelona, Antibes, and Malaga. Paris and Barcelona can speak for themselves, who wouldn’t be inspired in such wonderful cities.

It was the less traversed towns of Antibes and Malaga that gave me the more authentic “Picasso Experience”. It’s in a French Riviera town that I felt his mastery, as it was his choice destination during the prime of his creative career; and it was in an Andalusian city that I grew to understand his nascent stages and his destructive core.

Never mind the fact that on this journey, I have managed to appreciate some of the best food and coffee man can buy, artist or not.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Claire from Tales of a Backpacker

I spent a year studying in Barcelona when I was 20 years old and have been in love with the city ever since.  A friend of mine from that time gave me a book which I have treasured, and which takes me back to Barcelona every time I read it.  The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is set in Barcelona, during the period shortly after the Spanish Civil War.  It follows the story of a boy, Daniel, whose father takes him to a secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a huge library filled with old, abandoned books.  Here, Daniel finds The Shadow of the Wind, a book written by Julián Carax, which he reads and loves.  When he sets out to find other works by Carax, he uncovers a real-life story of mystery, love, intrigue, and danger.  I loved this book, as the author references streets and areas in Barcelona that I knew well, narrow streets in the Gothic Quarter and beautiful mansions along the Avenida del Tibidabo, and the way he weaves Daniel’s life into the mystery of Julián Carax is fascinating.  Anyone with a love of Barcelona should definitely read this book, and you can visit this magnificent city between the pages anytime you like.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Clements at Travellers Archive

With a hell of a lot of pages, Shantaram might not be the best book to travel with, but it’s most certainly one of the best travel inspirations for anyone who wants to go to India at any time. I actually bought the book when I was in Australia for an exchange semester. Back then, I carried this 950-pages thick book around in my backpack, read it while being on night buses or out in the outback. It really got to me and actually made me want to go to India. Once I returned back from Australia, I booked my flights to India. Since the major part of the book plays in Mumbai, I obviously had to stay there for a couple of days and traced back some spots that were mentioned in the book. Above all, I went to the café that was the major hotspot in the book, got myself a lemonade and felt really touched while sipping on my drink. It was exactly how I imagined it to be. What’s more is that the book took away some of my fears about traveling to India. It somehow prepared me for a lot of things, such as poverty, the mentality and, well, some sights of crime you might witness during the trip. Even though it’s quite a thick book and it takes some time to go through, it inspires and is a great travel literature.

Suarez, Messi, Neymar: Inside Barcelona’s Unstoppable Strikeforce by Luca Caioni

Jub from Tiki touring Kiwi

I was in a bit of a reading rut early last year when a friend recommended an app to me called Axis 360. The app synced with my local library allowing me to rent ebooks for free. The first book I rented? Suarez, Messi, Neymar: Inside Barcelona’s Unstoppable Strikeforce. As a sports nut I’ve always gravitated towards biographies so enjoyed reading this.

I was already planning to go to Barcelona and Camp Nou in 2017 before I got my hands on this book, but it made me appreciate Camp Nou a lot more. Both touring the Museum and stepping alongside the pitch. The biggest difference after reading the book was being able to appreciate the section dedicated to Messi. The booklet made me understand where he came from, and what he went through to achieve the level of success he has in more details than a museum sign ever could.

Visiting Camp Nou made me see the significance of the stadium and the impact it has had on society. Over the last century, thousands of immigrants to Barcelona have connected to the city through cheering for Barcelona FC. Football is the universal language after all.

Taking Off by Ty Clemens

Mary from Move to Vietnam

I cannot remember anymore how I discovered the book Taking Off by Ty Clemens, I remember liking the title so I decided to get a copy on my Kindle. I was in Denmark and have noplan whatsoever plan to travel. But this book was written like a diary, I felt like O was with Ty throughout his journey. When I finished the book, I was eager to travel, especially in Vietnam. Ty Clemens said himself he’s not a professional writer, I guess that’s why I felt like he was a friend telling me his travel stories. He went all over the world, but Vietnam is what catches my attention.

A few months after finishing his book, I was off to Vietnam and to travelling indefinitely, which later on ended up with me moving to Vietnam. I remember going to places he described, although I had different experiences, I owe it to Ty why I started my trip. During my travels, I read his book again, this time, I had a different reflection on his story. I disagree a lot with his point of view but then I decided to read his book again after I have been on the road for about two years. Again, I had a different reflection – Ty and I are different types of travellers, but the idea of travelling is what we have in common.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway

 

Lola from Miss Filatelista

Many of my travels have been inspired by books and novels but most notable is Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises which I loved as a student and read again before moving to Spain in 2015. Hemingway and Fitzgerald were two of my favorite authors, for some reason as a young woman I loved the masculine perception of the 20s. I’ve since moved on to preferring strong female authors but I digress. It’s the little details in The Sun Also Rises which began to entice me to move to Spain and live as the Spaniards do. Hemingway romanticized siestas, brilliant red wines, endless plates of pinchos, and the gorgeous countryside of the Basque country in a way that I found irresistible. As a vegan, I was deeply disturbed to read about bullfighting and don’t support that animal cruelty or the festival of San Fermin, aka the running of the bulls.

I finally had the chance to visit Pamplona while I was living in Madrid on a rainy winter weekend. The sleepy city was practically empty and we were able to explore to our heart’s content–with lots of stops for pinchos and sidra along the way. It was a dream to spend the afternoon people watching in stunning Cafe Iruña. The cafe is situated on the main square in Pamplona and hasn’t changed much since Hemingway’s shenanigans in 1925–it’s still quite sophisticated and boasts incredible architecture and delicious pinchos all spread out on the bar in the typical Basque style.

 

The Thread by Victoria Hislop

Sarah from Trip Gourmets

The Thread by Victoria Hislop is the book that ultimately inspired us to book a flight to Thessaloniki, the cultural hub and second city of Greece. The book takes place in two timelines, at the early part of the 20th century, and the current time. The story begins in 1917 when Thessaloniki was ravaged by a fire, and a boy named Dimitri is born. Five years later, a girl called Katerina finds herself evacuated to Thessaloniki after being evacuated from her home in Smyrna, Turkey – now known as Izmir.

Their stories intertwine over the years. Whilst Thessaloniki was a multicultural city home to Jewish, Christian and Islamic populations, war, persecution and political upheaval led to massive changes for the city and the lives of the protagonists and people around them.

The history of the city was intriguing to read of, and when we visited we found Thessaloniki to be a wonderful mix of ancient and modern. The Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki are a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the city is one of the major ports of southeast Europe. Despite having a rich history Thessaloniki has a young and vibrant feel to it thanks to being home to three major Greek universities.

 

 

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

 

Danny from Coddiwomp

Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts, is my all-time favourite travel book. I came across it last year, took it away on a trip with me and could not put it down. It is a book of depth, combining general travel tips and genuinely useful resources, with insightful comments and fascinating anecdotes about travel itself.

Potts talks about travel as ‘vagabonding’ though, which he defines, loosely, as ‘leaving the ordered world to travel on the cheap for an extended period of time’. The approach to life and travel that he advocates resonates with me hugely and I’m sure it would to most other people who are passionate about hitting the road.

The chapters of the book roughly follow the process of travelling itself: from ‘Earn your freedom’ to ‘Coming Home’, he covers everything a first-time traveller needs to know. But this isn’t just a book for people who haven’t travelled before. It is a wise and timeless reminder for anyone who loves to have an adventure. It is a book and a guide that kindles and rekindles the love of travel and inspires the reader to step out into the world.

In fact, it borders on a sort of travel philosophy book.

I reckon it should be compulsory reading for anyone heading out on the road! Potts puts it best: “many travel books can prepare you for an overseas trip, but this book- in sharing a simple and time-honored ethic- can teach you how to travel for the rest of your life”.

Where the West Ends by Michael Totten

Stari Most

Allison from Sofia Adventures

Who doesn’t a love a travel memoir that starts with an impromptu road trip to Iraqi Kurdistan? Where the West Ends by Michael Totten is a series of stories that take place in 13 countries on the border of East and West, the majority of them post-Communist. The book is roughly broken into 4 sections: The Middle East (which really only covers Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan), The Balkans, The Caucasus, and The Black Sea. He describes each story with such rich language, with occasional miserable missteps, told in such honest detail that truly brings the stories to life and adds more detail. His travelogue not only tells a thrilling story of traveling through some of Europe’s most unexplored countries during times of somewhat painful transition but also elucidates the history of regions that, from a Western perspective, are often not well-understood. Reading this book is what inspired me to travel the Balkans, which was the trip that sparked my fascination with Eastern Europe and where the border between Europe and Asia blurs. I now write this from a month-long trip through the Caucasus, continuing on my fascination with the borders between Europe and Asia, West and East.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Cathy Travelling Salem Massachusetts USA

Cathy from Cathy Beesy

Books have inspired me to travel to many different destinations but I was inspired to travel to Salem, Massachusetts, USA after I read a book in Grade six. At school, I didn’t read much and didn’t like any of the books that my friends were reading. I came across the Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare 1958 and loved it. When I started travelling I had Salem on my list of destinations to visit but it wasn’t until four years ago that my dream to travel there finally came true.

I loved Salem with its humidity, museums, Dead Horse Beach, the trolley cars, the docks, great food and so much history. I was to learn that the witch hunts only lasted for thirteen months in the 1600s.

I was then inspired to read more and bought The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in the Colonial New England by Carol F Karlsen which is a dissertation of the witch hunts of the 1600s. Fascinating reading. And for something lighter, while in Salem I read a current day detective novel The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. These books added to my travel experience and my understanding of this fascinating city.

I read the Witch of Blackbird Pond when I returned home to Melbourne Australia only to find that it wasn’t actually set in Salem but in Wethersfield, Connecticut but I still loved it with its sense of injustice and friendship

.

Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel

Wolf Hall, England

 

Kirralee from Escape With Kids

Books such as the Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall and Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series (including The Other Boleyn Girl) gave me a fascination for England’s Tudor history. Dramatic power plays and illicit liaisons set in ancient castles, grand manor houses and verdant forests transported me back in time to the 1500s when Henry VIII was king.

From Thomas Cromwell’s point of view in Wolf Hall to Mary Boleyn’s story in The Other Boleyn Girl, there’s no doubt Henry VIII is a riveting subject. Six wives, two of which he had beheaded and his first annulment/divorce caused England to separate from the Catholic church.

Fortunately, many of the buildings from this time are still standing, so these historical novels have inspired me to visit them. Westminster Abbey in London is where Henry VIII’s coronation took place, his wives were beheaded at the Tower of London, and he is buried at Windsor Castle (pictured) in St George’s Chapel (where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were recently married).

The National Portrait Gallery in London is ideal for seeing what the characters in these books looked like. There are portraits of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn and many more from this period.

It is incredible to me to be able to walk amongst so much tangible history, and I plan to continue returning to England for a long time to come.

 

 

Have you read a book that has inspired you to travel somewhere? Let us know what it is …

 

 

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