5 books about travels that I loved

Travel-related books you can’t miss

1) Hippie

The Plot in a nutshell:

Paolo Coelho recalls his ‘hippie years’.  We get to know more about the hippie movement, their philosophy and politics but also the way they shared information about the latest concerts and travel routes.

The main story moves around Paolo’s travel from Amsterdam to Kathmandu by bus, nicknamed ‘magic bus’. While seeking spiritual knowledge, he meets new people and we get to know more about them and their past stories too.  He also recalls a flashback of his travel in Peru and a traumatic encounter with the police.

Why to Read it:

It’s a throwback to a time where travelling on a low budget was not as easy as it is nowadays. Travelers were taking bigger risks and facing many uncertainties. Most of them were more than travelers, they were dreamers.

For all of those who imagined what it was like to travel in the pre-internet era this is the perfect book.
It’s also fun to see how many similarities there are between some of the characters in the book and the modern digital nomads. The character of Jacques is the perfect example, maybe among the first ones to face an identity crisis, leaving a well-paid job in marketing to look for something more in life and travel to the other side of the world. I guess it might sound familiar to few.

2) Sputnik Sweetheart

The Plot in a nutshell:

A girl that always thinks out of the ordinary, an outcast, a revolutionary, a philosopher.. A boy that has always been secretly in love with her. A woman with an incredible charm and mysterious aura for which the girl will fall in love with. The two women goes on a trip together in Europe and end up on small island in Greece, until the young girl disappears out of nowhere.

Why to Read it:

The travel only takes place in half of the book but once it starts it lets the reader get deep into a dream-state. I loved following the characters on their business trip in south Europe, then ending up in a remote island in Greece, where they enjoyed sun bathing in the wild and living the quiet island life. The travel might not be the central focus on the book but it definitely made me wish to pause life for a while on a Greek remote beach house.

 

3) Dance, Dance, Dance

The Plot in a nutshell:

A man travels to Sapporo to investigate about the woman he loved that disappeared in the middle of nowhere. The story gets more surreal as long as he continue his research. The Dolphin Hotel he stayed years ago is completely changed but yet some of its mysteries are unchanged. At the hotel he meets a series of characters like a problematic young rich girl, a receptionist living in the countryside of Sapporo and his handsome and famous childhood friend. Through his travels the protagonist discover more about himself, his lost love and the sheep man.

Why to Read it:

This is the second book by Murakami in my list. I love his style and the sense of wonderings and discovery that he transmits. Also he doesn’t usually come up in any list of travel books and I wanted to suggest some books that you might not know already.  In dance, dance, dance the main protagonist goes with his new friend – a child girl - on a holiday in Hawaii. The strange duo spend days chilling around, exploring the island and as in many Murakami novels meeting people quite out of the ordinary.

4) The Beach

The Plot in a nutshell:

A guy on a backpacking trip ends up in Bangkok. He’s bored as everything looks over touristic and people are not stimulating. He ends up with a map of a place, a beach that is supposed to be a heaven-like place that few others has seen before. He teams up with two French brothers to go there. The three will reach the place with few difficulties to find out about a small group of people that created a small hidden tribe in this secluded place.

Why to Read it:

It’s a classic travel book. Sometimes we do embark on a backpacking trip wishing for an adventure, to explore isolated places, meeting new interesting people, make a life experience hard to describe with words. The adventure in this book is all of this and beyond.

5) Arturo’s Island

The Plot in a nutshell:

This is the story of Arturo, a young boy that lives on the island of Ischia in Italy. He grows up without a mother and with a father that travels almost all the time and is absent even when he’s back home. Arturo ends up living with the young new wife of his father and he starts exploring the passage into adulthood and the first approach to love and sex.

Why to Read it:

The book takes place on the Island of Ischia, just opposite my hometown, Naples, so I wanted to share a book with a setting that is somehow familiar to me. I always dreamed of growing up on an island and this book tells amazingly the personal growth of Arturo, while he explore himself while wondering on his island.