Book Lover Day Top 5 Travel Books That Triggers Wanderlust scaled

Book Lovers Day: Top 5 Travel Books That Triggers Wanderlust

Reading Time: 11 minutes

A couple of years ago, at a literature festival in Mumbai, I happened to attend an interesting panel discussion. In the due course of the session, one of the panellists who’s a renowned author shared an interesting anecdote from his life. He said, someone, he knew who was reminiscing the childhood days, before the advent of the visual media, once made a striking remark by saying, ‘Stories were so beautiful back then’. On the visual media, we intend to simply shut our minds and see what is shown to us, unlike when we read a story or listen to one. When we read something, our mind creates its own visuals and with the creative juices flowing and imagination igniting, each mind creates visuals that can be as beautiful as they can get. Isn’t the thought just beautiful and enlightening?!

Such is the magic of books. Of all genres, the genre of travel literature remains close to the heart of most of us. Travel books indeed have the power to whisk us away to destinations which we may not even imagine visiting in our lifetime. Moreover, books help us kill the ample time we would spend on our pretty long haul bus, train, or flight journeys. Every year, August 9 marks the Book Lovers Day. This special day, which is also known as National Book Lovers Day in the US, is observed to encourage bibliophiles to celebrate reading and literature.

This year, on this occasion, we bring to you a list of best travel books that’ll inspire you to travel, explore, and celebrate life. Here’s a list of top 5 travel books that will just make you exclaim, ‘Chalo, Bag Bharo, Nikal Pado!’

1. The Alchemist

One of the most read books in recent history, The Alchemist, by world-renowned Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, is a story about following your dreams. At the end of the day, travels are nothing but one’s dreams turning into reality. That’s what makes every traveller among us a dreamer. This captivating and inspiring book tells the enthralling story of an Andalusian shepherd boy in Spain named Santiago, who embarks on a mystical journey through Spain and Egypt, in search of treasure. Along his journey, he follows his heart, goes with the flow, and learns love and the meaning of life. We travellers can definitely draw parallels between our own and the life of Santiago and can relate to him quite closely. Just as during his adventures, Santiago in search of treasure, finds himself, instead, similarly, on our travels, while we are busy seeking something external, we usually end up discovering a piece of ourselves, we never knew was. What’s more, the book is filled with some really wonderful and magical quotes. It’s time you laid your hands-on
The Alchemist. This, one of the best travel books of all time, is sure to inspire!

2. Eat, Pray, Love

Are you someone who loves to travel solo? Eat, Pray, Love is the book just for you! The subtitle of the book, ‘One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia’ says it all. It’s a memoir by American author Elizabeth Gilbert, a modern-day woman, who leaves her life behind to examine different aspects of her nature. The book chronicles the author’s trip around the world after her broken marriage and what she discovered during her travels. Gilbert spent four months in Italy, eating and enjoying life, three months in India, finding her spirituality, and ended the year in Bali, Indonesia, looking for a balance between the two and fell in love. While she travels across these three countries, she in fact makes us travel with her. Those who are yet to read Eat, Pray, Love, have probably caught its film version, released back in 2010 by the same name, starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. However, even after watching the film and having known the story, reading this book is highly recommended. Eat, Pray, Love is everything that inspires us to explore our life while exploring the world around us.

3. Holy Cow!

If you haven’t heard about the book yet, the title is just enough to give you an idea that it has something to do with India. Delving deeper, the cover page instantly validates your assumption. The subtitle of the book reads, ‘An Indian Adventure’. It’s a lovely memoir by Australian journalist, author, and radio presenter Sarah Macdonald, who had backpacked around India and was left with an impression of heat, pollution, and poverty. A beggar reads her palm and insists she will one day return for true love, which at that point of time she never ever wants to. But some eleven years later, the beggar’s prophecy comes true. Her destiny brings her back to the country when her husband is posted to India. She quits her dream job as a national radio presenter in Australia to follow him to New Delhi. Thus begins the adventurous chronicle of her hilarious experiences. She encounters yogis, swamis, people of all religions, and Bollywood stars. Holy Cow! is indeed the journey of a woman who’s on a mission to survive. It’s a wonderful reflection of our own country through the eyes of an Australian journalist. It’s enchanting, entertaining, spiritual, and philosophical, all at the same time, and definitely, a must-read.

4. Vagabonding

oes your wanderlust surpass an annual two-week vacation? Are you someone who always has a long-term travel plan on his/her mind? Vagabonding is sure to be your friend, philosopher, and guide in your pursuit. The book is written by Rolf Potts who’s an American travel writer, essayist, podcaster, and author. Having spent some 10 years, on the road, travelling the world, wherein he even walked across Israel, Potts is rightly considered as the Godfather of vagabonding. The book contains valuable insights, interesting quotes, and a lot of practical information – everything from saving to planning to live on the road and more. This is a book that’s rich in travel philosophy and is a great motivation for solo travellers, who could never gather up the courage to take a path and walk on it by themselves. The book truly lives up to its subtitle, which reads, ‘An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel’. So, if you are planning a sabbatical, and are eager to pack your bags and set out to chase your dreams, you’ll have a lot to learn from this book, whether it’s how to budget while travelling or changing your entire mindset toward money in the first place. It’ll also guide you as to how to live a minimalist life and rather invest more in travel. All in all, if any normal holiday doesn’t satiate you and you’re planning to embark on that solo trip that has been on your mind for long now, vagabonding is one book that’ll teach you exactly what it takes to build a life on the road. It’ll inspire and trigger the wanderlust in you like anything.

5. In a Sunburned Country

Bill Bryson is one of the most prolific and recognized names in travel writing. If you have been thinking, the land down under – Australia, is all about chic metropolises like Sydney and Melbourne and theme parks, this book is truly an eye-opener. In a Sunburned Country chronicles the author’s journey through Australia by railway and car and takes you from east to west, through tiny little mining towns, forgotten coastal cities, and off-the-beaten-path forests. Bill Bryson includes lots of trivia in his tale as he travels around the land down under, in awe and also at times in fear, thanks to the somewhat intimidating Aussie fauna. Thought-provoking non-fiction as most of Bryson’s work is, he indeed makes us follow him as he explores Australia’s culture, people, landscapes, wildlife, and more. The book consists of three parts – A] Into the outbreak, which describes the journey taken by Bryson aboard the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth. B] Civilized Australia, that starts off with historical accounts from the time when Australia was discovered and goes on to illustrate how the Aussies built a dynamic and prosperous society from a modest beginning and C] Around the edges, that speaks about the Great Barrier Reef, Alice Springs, and the mighty monolithic rock, Uluru. The title, ‘In a Sunburned Country’, is taken from the famous Australian poem, ‘My Country’. Moreover, this is the title of the book in the United States and Canada. The same book has a British title too, known as ‘Down Under’. It’s truly an informative and enchanting read. Mind, you, if Australia has always been on your bucket list, this one book will only push you over the edge.

The legendary English writer Samuel Johnson had said, “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” Some passionate travellers and great writers have penned down the travel magic as they experienced or perceived it and these iconic works definitely tickle those wanderlust bugs in us. Let’s finish the books which their authors have begun by planning our next adventures to those destinations. Who knows, as it’s said, ‘No two people read the same book’ we may just end up discovering something for ourselves that no one else has ever discovered yet. Travel books indeed help us know a place better, and the more we know about a place, the more we can understand it.

So, beginning this 9th August, let’s rediscover the joy of reading. Every day, let’s make some time by putting away those smartphones and every possible technological distraction and pick up a book to read.

Here’s wishing you all a Very Happy Book Lovers Day! Happy Reading!


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