Inspirational Travel Books
As a young lad, I loved to read. Looking back on my childhood, it wasn't an unhappy time but I spent a good deal of time alone. I was either out on my bike or had my head buried in a book.
My first heros were cyclists. Robert Millar; Scottish mountaining climber and Sean Kelly; Irish hard man of the peloton. Then there was Nick Sanders, cycle adventurer. It was this article in the now obsolete BICYCLE magazine, as shown below, that really got me into travelling. He had just ridden from Manchester to Timbuktu.
So it is no coincidence that top of the list in My Inspirational Travel Books is Nicks first publication from his journey from Cairo to the source of the Nile, above Lake Tanganyika in Burundi.
Also at around the same time were 2 cousins, Nick and Dick Crane, who cycled from Chittagong in Bangladesh to the point furthest from the sea, just north of Urumchi in Xijiang provence in China. Their obsession with minimal travel equipment is what got me into the routine of going through my bags daily and jettisoning anything that was superfluous. I also went through a stage of drilling holes in my toothbrush and cutting off unnecessary straps off backpacks. Actually I still do that!
1992 saw Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud set off across the Antarctic, pushing the boundaries of human endurance. Though not really a 'travel book', this one would motivate me to go out for a run on a cold and wet winters evening.
Always a dreamer of the Good Old Days, I love reading tales from the 'hippie trail', on the road to Kathmandu. I've met a good deal of folk on the road who were the backpackers of yesteryear. I could listen to their stories all day long and together with my love of hits from the 60s, I am sure I was born 20 years too late.
Fascinated by stories from Iran, Pakistan Afghanistan and impossibly long overland journeys, Nick Danziger book Danziger's Travels is my inspiration for my love of border crossing, on the road less travelled.
The 'piece de resistance', Jason Elliots 'An Unexpected Light' really just makes you want to go to Afghanistan.
Nick Sanders, moved on from being a cyclist to a motor cyclist yet still I follow his exploits. At almost 60, he is currently alone and off the grid in Mongolia on his Yamaha. Anatomy of an Adventurer is my favourite of his motorbike books and tells the story from his 2010 ride from Alaska to Buenos Aries.
**The images above are my own snap shots but are linked to either the authors own website or the Amazon website where you can purchase. These are NOT affiliated links.
All of the above books are from my own collection and while I have more than 100 'good reads' only those that gave me inspiration are listed.
Why haven't you listed Jack Kerouac's On The Road? I hear you ask. Well, though it is without a doubt, an outstanding piece of literature, it did not have me romanticising about going on a road trip.
Likewise with other awesome (travel) reads, such as anything by Paul Theroux, Bruce Chatwin or William Dalrymple. Now if only I could get hold of 'Arabian Sands' by Wilfed Thesiger or 'The Nomad' by Isabelle Eberhardt.
Coming soon: Books that you don't want to put down.