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The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World Via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes.
For me, quality travel literature goes beyond a travel journal or a simple list of dates and events.
I’ve chosen the below then for the historical significance, cultural descriptions and insights and, in the case of several, for stylistic reasons. A record of the Chinese monk’s travels in southern Asia, Sri Lanka and India from 399-414AD. Leaving his home of Morocco in 1325, Ibn Battuta first traveled to Mecca and never looked back. I remember laying under the covers at night with a flashlight obsessing on this book when I was about ten years old. I agree with Junius Maltby (The Pastures of Heaven), Travels with a Donkey is one of the greatest literary works in the English language. This 2004 book mixes the great Ryszard Kapuscinski’s travels as a Polish newspaper correspondant in the 1950s, 60s and 70s with excerpts from The Histories by Herodotus. A Russian spy at the time of his journey, Mannerheim would later lead the Finnish fight against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-40 and serve as President of Finland. This extremely aesthetically pleasing account details his journey by horse from Central Asia through North China to Beijing.
Being the brilliant man he was, though, Mannerheim made detailed scientific observations of geographic, ethnologic and archaeological interests. A combination of the lyric, the dissertation and the comic, this is one of the most beautiful books every written (Have I made that claim before in this series? For nearly a year (1933-34), young Robert Byron traveled from Venice to Cyprus to Syria Iraq, Iran and into Afganistan. He and his travel companion Christopher Sykes were architecture-bound, exploring many of the great structures that are now listed as World Heritage sites.
If Byron had not been lost in a U-Boat attack during World War II, one wonders what other great books he would have produced. At the same time that Byron was travelling across Central Asia, 18-year old Patrick Leigh Fermor set out from the Hook of Holland and walked all the way to Constantinople.
Along the way, Fermor slept in barns and under bridges, in monasteries and as the guest of old-world landed gentry. Surprisingly, even though I am a lover of mountains and trekking and, to be quite honest, would go just about anywhere, the Hindu Kush hasn’t really topped my Bucket List. A former SBS officer, Newby, middle-aged, well-off and sick to death of his job in the fashion industry leaves (companion in tow) to scale a never-conquered mountain (Mir Samir) in one of the most remote regions of the planet. In 1958 it had already been over twenty years since Byron had passed by the area and, as far as we know, Newby was the first European to set his foot in the area since. Thankfully, although Waugh wrote the introduction to the book, Newby avoids the childishly acidic and solipsistic qualities of Waugh and his ilk. In 1978, at 38 years old, Least Heat-Moon lost both his job and his wife and so, taking the route of many a man gone astray, he set out on the road. Editors Note: This Best Travel Books feature originally appeared here in the summer of 2011 as a four-part series.
I read her book, then stumbled onto a plaque to her at Volcano National Park in Hawaii – it was then that I realized how well traveled and unique she was. Lane, while I love Edward Abbey, I don’t really consider any of his books as travel lit. Alguns livros tem o poder de nos transportar para os lugares que descrevem atraves das suas narrativas vividas e poeticas. O iconico romance Pela Estrada Fora de Kerouac e um companheiro fantastico para uma roadtrip de costa a costa nos Estados Unidos, tal como a que faz a personagem principal do livro, Sal Paradise, na companhia do seu encantador amigo Dean Moriarty. Comeca na cidade de Nova Iorque com uma visita a um dos lugares preferidos da geracao Beat, o Village Vanguard, em Greenwich Village. Quando finalmente chegares a Sao Francisco, vai ate Telegraph Hill para vistas espectaculares sobre a baia enquanto pensas no caminho que deixaste para tras. O Kafka a Beira-Mar de Haruki Murakami reconta as viagens individuais de duas personagens, o velho Nakata e Kafka, um rapaz de 15 anos fugido de casa, desde Toquio ate a pequena ilha de Shikoku. Provavelmente o livro mais famoso que se passa na Tailandia (com uma adaptacao ao cinema subsequente igualmente famosa com Leonardo DiCaprio), A Praia segue a missao de Richard em busca de uma ilha isolada e intocada conhecida apenas por uma pequena comunidade internacional de mochileiros. A obra-prima Os Filhos da Meia-Noite de Salman Rushdie retrata a historia da India moderna atraves da vida de Saleem Sinai, que nasceu no momento exacto da independencia da India e tem poderes telepaticos que lhe permitem ligar-se a 1000 outras criancas nascidas ao mesmo tempo. O romance vai-se desenrolando em varios lugares a volta do subcontinente indiano, de Kashmir a Agra ate Mumbai. A cidade com maior densidade populacional na India, Mumbai avassala-te com experiencias e emocoes. Orgulho e Preconceito conta a historia da Elizabeth Bennett, uma de cinco irmas que vivem no campo ingles na era pre-vitoriana.
Para os fas devotos da Jane Austen: visita a sua casa em Chawton (no distrito de Hampshire), o seu local de nascimento em Steventon e o Basildon Park, que inspirou o Netherfield Park do romance. A rendicao poetica do Quenia de Karen Blixen conjura imagens de uma paisagem vasta e luxuriante que acordara de imediato o teu desejo de viajar. A um voo curto de Nairobi fica o Parque Nacional Tsavo, uma das reservas de vida selvagem maiores e mais antigas do Quenia.
O romance de estreia de Isabel Allende, A Casa dos Espiritos segue varias geracoes da familia Trueba e as suas vidas no campo e na capital do Chile, ao longo de um periodo de muitas mudancas politicas e sociais. O Chile e famoso pela sua natureza inspiradora – desde desertos aridos a glaciares e vulcoes – e pelos seus optimos vinhos.
Para contemplacao de fauna e flora, vai ate ao Parque Nacional de Tolhuaca onde encontraras, entre outros, carvalhos da Patagonia, auracarias araucanas, veados Pudi e grandes carpinteiros negros. Since publishing the original edition of A Woman’s World in 1995, Travelers’ Tales has been the recognized leader in women’s travel literature, and with the launch of the annual series The Best Travel Writing in 2004, the obvious next step was an annual collection of the best women’s travel writing of the year. The fifth book in a annual series of often entertaining anecdotes intended to inspire and even enlighten. A sequel to the Iliad, this poem was composed near the end of the 8th Century BC, in Ionia. He visited India and China and deep into modern Russia along the Volga River valley as well as far south into Africa to Tanzania. This 13th-century travelogue was written down by Rustichello da Pisa apparently from stories related to him by Marco Polo while they were prisoners of the Genoese in 1299. Sickly young Stevenson took to the road in the early fall of 1878 on a 12-day, 120-mile solo hiking journey through the glorious Cevennes in southwestern France. Travels through Sweden, Finland, and Lapland, to the North Cape, in the Years 1798 and 1799. Pouring through the first edition (1802) deep in the bowels of the Finnish national library is one of my finest memories. Burton was one of the greatest travelers of all times, speaking a total of 29 languages and dialects.
From the moment the sun rises over the Windward passage, you cant help  but think that Matthiessen attempted to wrap the whole of the cosmic process into his journey.

I mean, I totally respect the guy for his intelligence and amazing travels but he is such a smug punk I probably couldn’t stand him. Kapuscinski gave us many great books but what is so charming about his memoir is how a young man is “thrown” out into the strange wide world and forced to adapt. Sarcastic, irreverent and “fork-toungued”, this take on the USA of 125+ years ago is insightful and fun and lends what I find to be an honest account of the Euro-American invasion of another people’s land at the time of Twain’s journey’s Americans seems both heroic and yet cruel and ridiculous. His job was to gather detailed information about China’s military forces and their training. A great introduction to the linguistic and cultural details of the area, its history and how life in Central Asia passed in the days before World War I.
He ended his journey at the Qabus Tower in Peshwar – a place he affixed with the name Oxiana, the country of the Oxus, ancient name of the Amu Darya.
Byron at once comes off as one of the pretentious pricks Waugh seemed to adore, a touchingly empathetic observer, a master of architecture and hater of the typical tourist (the railing against both Venice and the Taj Majal are quite fun). It seems that (and this could be apocryphal) Fermor lost his journal in Romania (after falling in love with a Greek princess and living in a windmill….).
Outfitting an old van with some simple comforts and a stack of books, he set off on a three-month, 13,000-mile journey around America on the “Blue Highways”, the out-of-the-way roads marked blue in the old Rand-McNally Atlas. Least Heat-Moon also has an uncanny ability to find or run-into people just like him…people who have lost themselves.
Lively and engaging, we had a great conversation about another of his masterful works “River Horse”.
Aqui vai a nossa escolha dos 7 melhores livros para ler em viagem para os varios lugares descritos nos romances. Antes de partires para oeste, passa pelo Hudson River Park e deixa-te deslumbrar pelo por-do-sol sobre New Jersey. Passa no The Green Mill, onde poderas desfrutar do jazz sob todas as suas formas, desde o bebop ao avant-garde. Enquanto as suas viagens pelas varias cidades possam ser tracaveis, os locais exactos sao mais dificeis de identificar.
Descobre o universo ‘geek’ no Bairro de Electronicos de Akihabara onde encontras uma vasta coleccao de aparelhos electronicos e dispositivos, bem como livros de banda desenhada e bugiganga da cultura pop. Prova um pouco de sake no distrito Nada onde ha varias casas de fabrico de sake, e faz uma visita a Akashi Kaikyo, a ponte de suspensao mais comprida do mundo.
O livro captura o ambiente estranho e misterioso das ilhas tailandesas de forma tao realista que vais ficar com vontade de explorar assim que comecares a ler. Em tempos um enorme mercado de arroz, hoje e um lugar preferido entre mochileiros; aqui encontras alojamento barato, uma vida nocturna intensa e comida exotica (como insectos grelhados).
O mar aberto levar-te-a a varias ilhas: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Samet e Koh Tao, para mencionar algumas. Com a sua narrativa magica, poderosa e poetica, este romance vai alimentar a tua imaginacao e tua vontade de embarcar em novas aventuras de viagem. Situado num vale e rodeado pela cordilheira de Pir Panjal, Saleem sonha com a paisagem idilica de Kashmir: o rio serpenteante de Srinagar, as montanhas nevosas de Gulmarg e os prados de Sonamarg. Centro da prolifica industria cinefila indiana e uma vasta floresta tropical urbana, Mumbai tem tambem arquitectura grandiosa da era colonial, como o Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a extravagante estacao de comboios gotica da cidade. Embora os lugares do romance sejam ficticios, Austen inspirou-se profundamente nas regioes rurais inglesas de, entre outras, Hampshire e Derbyshire.
Aqui podes passear pelas charnecas do Peak District National Park e pousar sobre o Stanage Edge no Hathersage Moor que olha sobre a paisagem rural circundante. Passado no campo, no sope das montanhas Ngong, Africa Minha conta a historia da Baronesa Blixen dinamarquesa na sua plantacao de cafe e os seus encontros com habitantes locais e outros europeus que deambulam pelo pais. A sua antiga casa foi transformada num museu, onde podes admirar a sua arte e mobilia e tambem o equipamento original da producao de cafe.
Com a sua utilizacao do realismo magico, este livro explora a paisagem e identidade chilenas, e e uma leitura cativante antes, durante e depois de uma viagem ao Chile. Se gostas de provas de vinhos, planeia a tua propria visita a Casablanca ou ao Vale de Colchagua. Para nao falar do Vulcao de Tolhuaca com 2.000 metros de altura que domina a paisagem do parque.
Visita o blog da momondo para mais inspiracao de viagem e le o nosso artigo sobre como alcancar os teus objectivos de viagem em 2016. This title is the eighth in an annual series—The Best Women’s Travel Writing—that presents stimulating, inspiring, and uplifting adventures from women who have traveled to the ends of the earth to discover new places, peoples, and facets of themselves.
Via its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains and PlanesReaders Respond: What's Your Favorite Travel Book of 2010? Edited by Stephanie Alizondo Griest, author of Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana.
Travel literature is contemplative, thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing and significant for future historians.
The story centers mainly on the Greek hero Odysseus and his ten-year journey home following the fall of Troy, sometime around 1100BC.
He was on the trail of the Buddhist Books of Discipline and trailed the legendary footsteps of Buddha. Ibn Battuta didn’t chronicle his twenty-some years of travel until well after he had settled down and his memory had faded somewhat. The book describes the travels of Polo through the lands of Asia, Persia, China, and Indonesia during the years 1271 and 1291.
Narvaez landed his army and sailed his fleet for the mouth of the Rio de las Palmas (Rio Grande). Louis to the Pacific Coast in Oregon (the best perhaps being Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage) but the journals in and of themselves are stunning reading.
This time Chatwin goes to the heart of Australia seeking to understand his own restless nature – with which he burdens all humanity.
He was also scoping Chinese political and economic reform and they ways that would impact military capacity. It is not until he reaches Iran that we start to see Byron at his most joyful, taking us from mosque to mosque and describing them in rich and lyrical detail.
The second volume in the series, “Between the Woods and the Water” didn’t appear until 1986. The climbing sections will have experienced climbers shaking their heads and the rest of us sweating. Segue viagem para New Orleans onde podes apanhar o ferry ate Algiers, um bairro encantador onde encontras casinhas vitorianas decoradas ao estilo ‘gingerbread’ e muitas pequenas lojas especializadas, como a loja de rebucados Southern Candymakers. Mas isso pouco importa ja que a narracao magica e evocativa vai despertar a tua curiosidade em relacao a este pais fascinante conhecido por combinar tradicao e tecnologia ultramoderna. Apanha o comboio ate Osaka, onde encontraras um dos santuarios Shinto mais antigos do Japao, o Sumiyoshitaisha.
O marco mais famoso da India, o Taj Mahal, aparece no livro quando a familia de Saleem se muda temporariamente para Agra. Com as suas pequenas aldeias, colinas verdes, estradas campestres sinuosas e florestas ancestrais, nao teras dificuldade em dar vida as personagens de Austen.

Visita a magnifica Chatsworth House, onde podes passear pelos bonitos jardins e ver uma demonstracao do processo de ordenha na quinta atras da casa. Vai ate Maasai Mara para veres a paisagem que Blixen descreve tao vividamente no seu livro. Com um pouco de pesquisa e um bom dicionario, estaras rapidamente a caminho de provar um saboroso Chardonnay. The common threads connecting these stories are a woman’s perspective and fresh, compelling storytelling to make the reader laugh, weep, wish she were there, or be glad she wasn’t. For those curious about the details of Buddhist traditions of the time its chock full of details.
So, the book often times comes off as a simple list of names and places with a little historical background. Polo wasn’t the first, there were of course Andre de Longjumeau and William of Rubruck among others (and Ibn Battuta covered far more territory), but the impact of Polo’s account changed maps and heavily influenced Columbus. The two forces were meant to meet several months later to create a colony at the mouth of the great river. He translated the Kama Sutra and One Thousand and One Nights, searched for the source of the Nile and criticized colonial policy so fiercely his career hit a glass ceiling. In my opinion, the best two parts are the stage to Nevada and then the meeting with the Mormon leaders. The book that he wrote at the age of 58 instead of 18 was then full of reflection, erudite discussions of art, architecture, archaeology and history (real and not), his masterful use of the English language and a life of rich learning. The self-acceptance he gains along the way is immensely satisfying because it is so honest.
And the book, you will find, is not less relevant today…almost 40 years later…than is was when it appeared in the stores when I was twelve years old. Outra optima paragem seria a capital do Colorado, Denver, um antigo foco Beat, onde a Larimer Street era o coracao desta comunidade. Passa pela zona informal de Shinsekai para um pouco de ‘kushikatsu’ – um prato que consiste em espetadas fritas de varios alimentos.
Construido pelo Imperador Mogol Shah Jahan no seculo XVII em honra da sua terceira mulher Mumtaz, esta construcao estonteante esta entre as Sete Maravilhas do Mundo. Baptizado em honra do povo Maasai que habitava esta zona, este e o lugar perfeito para uma imersao completa na savana.
The points of view and perspectives are global, and themes are as eclectic as in all of our books, including stories that encompass spiritual growth, hilarity and misadventure, high adventure, romance, solo journeys, stories of service to humanity, family travel, and encounters with exotic cuisine.
It was Dickensian: block after block of mud passageways littered with garbage and upended vehicles and men sleeping on piles of tires and the sparks of welders and the smell of smoke and oil and diesel and Bondo. I was less interested in those aspects of the book than the keen observations made about ancient cultures and the excitement of the travelougue.
They sat in the basement of the American Philosophical Society for nearly 100 years (a fascinating and detailed history of the journals can be found here) before gaining scholarly interest.
What Kapuscinski wanted to show us, I think, is that the world has actually changed little in 3000 years.
This book has not only given me many writing ideas but it has also opened my mind to different lands and certainly different experiences. Nonetheless, the journey itself is extraordinary and the mosaic of the Islamic world of time makes it well worth the read. The Catholics and Protestants of the area maintained a strict religious ghettoization as memory of the Camisard Rebellion in 1702. In many ways, this book reads like a play and surely the characters are over-exoticised to a point but this is an incredible meditation on both THE SEA and life aboard a schooner.
For slightly more than a year Theroux travelled through China from the tropical south to the desert north and west in an attempt to understand how it was emerging from cultural change.
He steps out of the typical academic conventions of travel literature and while is eye for historical detail (not to the captivating way it is related) is astounding you often wonder…is this for real? Krakauer documents the short life and untimely death of a brilliant young man named Chris McCandless.
And yes, this is the Fermor who, ten years later, parachuted into Crete, disguised himself as a shepherd, captured General Kreipe and trundled him off to England. He seemed to me angry and bitter and critical – and also less-than forthcoming about his literary intentions when he meets people on the way. In a way, it has made me less afraid of the unknown and keen on trying things I normally wouldn't.This book presented a real variety of short travel stories. It was hot and glaring, a place of burning fires and braziers and hammering and music, and the mud was so dark, so black, so viscous, it was like oil.
This is all noted, however it is Stevenson’s warm, touching appreciation of the landscape that gives this work power. It’s my personal opinion that Burton was a devout, if secret, Muslim at the time of the journey. While Theroux’s prejudicial eye can be offensive at time, he doesn’t miss and thing – and he is honest.
This is a book that allows you to taste the tea, smell the leaves and the dust and feel the cool air of the oasis… AND to experience a by-gone world lost in the wars of the past thirty years.
I found myself laughing out loud one moment and wiping a tear that had crept up to the side of my eye next. And the way in which these guys husbanded their team across the continent with little violence and no loss of life is astounding. His knowledge of Arabic and the intricacies of Muslim customs amazes, but what it offers the Western reader is an accessibility to the Muslim culture that is hard to get elsewhere. Through Bruce’s stumbles into aboriginal culture the reader can access an honest essence of “the songlines”.
Inserted at the behest of his publisher, the section does not have the same energy as the wild-west that pulls Twain in.
If you have any interest in the American West before is was raped and pillaged, this is the work to read. Although a bit stiff in style, the descriptions are fascinating and the cultural minutiae borders on jaw-dropping (and occasionally eye-lid dropping).
This is a rambling exploration of landscape, transhumance and the origin of violence in humans.
Much as with with Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (while lacking the curlicues that makes Proust hard to read) you can’t cruise this one or you’ll miss the point.
There were those stories which I felt I had a deep, intricate connection with, stories that made me want to visit places and then on the other hand there were also stories written about topics which I had no knowledge of and felt I missed the point entirely. By the way…the movie Sean Penn made of this book is incredible as is the Eddie Vedder soundtrack.
I would recommend this book to other fellow travellers looking for inspiration and also potentially to those who are tired of mundane life and doing the same thing day in and day out.

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