Welcome to the Travel Book Club, a collection of our favourite travel books that we’ve already read or want to read.
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Below each book recommendation, we’ve linked to Wordery so that you can buy yourself a copy. You may not be familiar with Wordery, but we really like them and use them a lot. Prices on Wordery are often cheaper than on Amazon and delivery is completely free worldwide!
The Current Travel Book Club Reading List
Now, without further ado, let’s dive into our current top ten.
Adventures in Morocco: From the Souks to the Sahara – Alice Morrison
When Alice Morrison headed out to Morocco, it was to take on one of the most daunting challenges: to run in the famous Marathon des Sables. Little did she expect to end up living there. But once she settled in a flat in Marrakech, she was won over by the people, the spectacular scenery and the ancient alleyways of the souks. Soon she was hiking over the Atlas mountains, joining nomads to sample their timeless way of life as they crossed the Sahara desert, and finding peace in a tranquil oasis.
North Korea Journal – Michael Palin
In May 2018, former Monty Python stalwart and intrepid globetrotter Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal, where the countryside has barely moved beyond a centuries-old peasant economy but where the cities have gleaming skyscrapers and luxurious underground train stations.
Now he shares his day-by-day diary of his visit, in which he describes not only what he saw – and his fleeting views of what the authorities didn’t want him to see – but recounts the conversations he had with the country’s inhabitants, talks candidly about his encounters with officialdom, and records his musings about a land wholly unlike any other he has ever visited – one that inspires fascination and fear in equal measure.
The Virago Book Of Women Travellers – Mary Morris
Some of the extraordinary women whose writings are including in this collection are observers of the world in which they wander; their prose rich in description, remarkable in detail. Mary McCarthy conveys the vitality of Florence while Willa Cather’s essay on Lavandou foreshadows her descriptions of the French countryside in later novels.
Others are more active participants in the culture they are visiting, such as Leila Philip, as she harvests rice with chiding Japanese women, or Emily Carr, as she wins the respect and trust of the female chieftain of an Indian village in Northern Canada. Whether it is curiosity about the world, a thirst for adventure or escape from personal tragedy, all of these women are united in that they approached their journeys with wit, intelligence, compassion and empathy for the lives of those they encountered along the way.
The Rainbow Atlas: 500 of the World’s Most Colourful Places – Taylor Fuller
An inspiring and uplifting collection of the most vibrant and colourful locations around the world – perfect for travellers, design and architecture aficionados and all those who love colour.
Red Tape and White Knuckles: One Woman’s Motorcycle Adventure through Africa – Lois Pryce
Unafraid of a challenge, Lois Pryce put on her sparkly crash helmet, armed herself with maps and a baffling array of visas, and got on her bike. Destination: Cape Town – and the small matter of tackling the Sahara, war-torn Angola and the Congo Basin along the way. This book tells a tale about following your dreams.
Step By Step – Simon Reeve
In TV adventurer Simon Reeve’s bestselling memoir, he describes how he has journeyed across epic landscapes, dodged bullets on frontlines, walked through minefields and been detained for spying by the KGB. His travels have taken him across jungles, deserts, mountains and oceans, and to some of the most beautiful, dangerous and remote regions of the world.
In this revelatory account of his life, Simon gives the full story behind some of his favourite expeditions, and traces his own inspiring personal journey back to leaving school without qualifications, teetering on a bridge, and then overcoming his challenges by climbing to a ‘Lost Valley’ and changing his life … step by step.
It’s on the Meter: Travelling the World by London Taxi – Paul Archer
When three friends Paul, Johno and Leigh fuelled by an alcohol-induced dream to travel the world, clicked buy on an iconic London cab called Hannah, little did they know what they were letting themselves in for.
Leaving the Big Smoke in their taxi, bound for Sydney, the lads began a 43,000-mile trip that would take them off the beaten track to some of the most dangerous and deadly places on the earth. By the time they arrived home, they would manage, against all the odds, to circumnavigate the globe, and, in doing so, break two World Records.
The Hezbollah Hiking Club: A short walk across the Lebanon – Dom Joly
At a boozy, cricket-filled afternoon at Lord’s, Dom Joly convinces his two closest friends to agree to the unthinkable: a challenging hike across Lebanon, from the Israeli border in the south, along the spine of the country’s mountain range, all the way to the Syrian border in the north. For Joly it is something of a homecoming, having grown up in Beirut. It was a happy childhood, though he did go to school with Osama bin Laden.
Arriving in Lebanon armed with copious amounts of Vaseline – and no walking experience, bar taking the dog for the occasional stroll – Dom, Chris and Harry don’t quite know what they’ve got themselves into.
Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure – Monisha Rajesh
From the cloud-skimming heights of Tibet’s Qinghai railway to silk-sheeted splendour on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Around the World in 80 Trains is a celebration of the glory of train travel and a witty and irreverent look at the world.
Packing up her rucksack – and her fiancé, Jem – Monisha Rajesh embarks on an unforgettable adventure that takes her from London’s St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. The journey is one of constant movement and mayhem, as the pair strike up friendships and swap stories with the hilarious, irksome and ultimately endearing travellers they meet on board, all while taking in some of the earth’s most breathtaking views.
Arabia: A Journey Through The Heart of the Middle East – Levison Wood
Following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, Arabia is an insight into Levison Wood’s most complex and daring expedition yet: an epic and unprecedented 5000-mile journey through 13 countries, circumnavigating the Arabian Peninsula.
Honest, reflective and poignant, Arabia is a historical, religious and spiritual journey, through some of the harshest and most beautiful environments on Earth. Exploring the Middle East through the lives, hearts and hopes of its people, Levison Wood challenges the perceptions of an often misunderstood part of the world, seeing how the region has changed and examining the stories we don’t often hear about in the media.
Send us your Travel Book Club recommendations
Do you have any recommended reads for the travel book club? Please let us know in the comments box below and we may feature your suggestion in the next update.