5 Travel Books That Inspire Wanderlust
1/5 On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
This semi-autobiographical novel is a timeless American classic. On the Road follows a struggling writer, Sal Paradise, based on author Jack Kerouac himself, as he leaves New York City and goes on a cross-country hitchhiking and train-hopping escapade across rural America. Along the way, he makes friends, particularly Dean Moriarty, who serves as inspiration for his travels.
Set against the backdrop of jazz and poetry, the themes of escape and desire to see the world are recurrent throughout the novel. The novel is written in a narrative diary style split into five parts that will make you feel like you're on the road with Sal.
2/5 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1988)
Originally written in Portuguese, The Alchemist became an international bestseller and has since been translated in various languages. Written by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, the story revolves around Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy. After a recurring dream which he believes to be prophetic, he sets forth in locating a treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. But instead of finding the treasure, the boy goes onto an unexpected journey of self-discovery.
The book has touched the hearts of many due to its theme of following your dreams. Perhaps through Santiago's journey, you too can become inspired and embark on your own exploration.
3/5 Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir chronicling author, Elizabeth Gilbert's trip around the world following her divorce. The book also spun into a popular movie adaptation starring Julia Roberts.
The title of the book refers to each part of her journey. She spent four months in Italy, munching on the most delicious food and simply enjoying life. Then, she travelled around India for three months, seeking spirituality. Finally, she ended the year in Bali, Indonesia, where she fell in love with a Brazilian businessman. The novel will appeal to those looking for an escape especially after going through hard times.
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4/5 The Beach by Alex Garland (1996)
Set in Thailand, The Beach is a 1996 novel by Alex Garland which tells the story of Richard, a British backpacker exploring the country after receiving a mysterious map from an older traveller. Hoping to find an untouched paradise, Richard instead discovers a secret community of travellers. But what he thought of as an idyllic escape is just on the surface––there are more hidden secrets looming in the island.
Having written the book while Garland was living in the Philippines, the similarities with the country's beaches, like Palawan, inspired the novel. Garland also took reference from Lord of the Flies, so if you know how that book ends, perhaps expect something similar.
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5/5 Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (1996)
The 2007 Academy Award-nominated movie, Into The Wild, is based on Jon Krakauer's novel of the same name. While the movie was critically acclaimed, the book is also an international bestseller. It tells the story of Chris McCandless, who spent two years around remote locations in the United States. He travelled alone in the wilderness, from South Dakota, all the way to Alaska until he met his demise.
McCandless' journey can either be inspiring or haunting. His desire for the most extreme of adventures, of leaving things behind, and to simply travel may speak to some of us. But it may also teach us lessons.
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