Books which inspire Travel

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Many of you would know Bill Bryson and Jack Kerouac whose books are among the most well-read travel volumes around. Like them there are other authors whose writing helps to create a vivid picture of places around the world - here are just a few of my favourites.

Angels and Dark Madonnas by Kate Llewellyn

Reading this book was like talking with a friend as she travelled through India and Italy – it felt as if I was there with her as she explored these two countries. Rather than a ‘How To” guide, it shares her insights and experiences as she travels through India alone and in Italy with friends in 1990.  I’m curious to see how much has changed and how much remains the same when I head to India later this year.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Before I set off to Provence this year, I reread the book that tapped into the explosion of British home owners in the south of France. He describes the various ways of his French neighbours in Provencal villages long before they became “known” to tourists. Amusingly he describes many different daily situations which he finds himself in as an “Englishman in Provence”. While parts of Provence have changed since this book was written, you can still recognise the places and traditions he describes in his most well-known book.

Italian Joy by Carla Coulson

A friend, knowing my love of travel gave me this book which I love. Christmas 2000 was a turning point for the author when she rented her Sydney apartment, sold her business, packed her suitcases and second hand camera and headed to Italy.  What was meant to be the first stop ended up as her final destination. “I dreamed I was Annie Leibovitz by day and Audrey Hepburn by night” she says as she explores everything Italy has to offer. Her photography of everyday Italy is simply beautiful as are her descriptions of the people, events and places she discovers in her new world.

Without Reservations – The Travels of An Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach

Each section in this book starts with a postcard, sent from the author to herself, as she takes a year off to travel the world without ties and without reservations. I love the idea of sending postcards to yourself to act as a memory keeper of not just the place but the feelings evoked when you visit different places. It captures the impulse that many of us have I suspect, to leave our daily routines in search of something different.