Due to the pandemic, many can’t go on vacation. However, there is a vast collection of travel books. Books about real-life journey can transport readers to another place, and even another time. Here are 10 best travel memoirs to read.

The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes On A Latin American Journey by Ernesto Che Guevara

10 Best Travel Memoirs
10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 1)

The Motorcycle Diaries is a memoir that follows the early travels of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, when he was a 23-year-old medical student, with his a 29-year-old biochemist friend, Alberto Granado. The travels began from leaving Buenos Aires, Argentina, in January 1952 on the back of a sputtering single cylinder 1939 Norton 500cc nicknamed La Poderosa (The Mighty One). Guevara and Granado wanted to explore the South America they only knew from books.

During the formative journey Guevara is transformed after witnessing the social injustices of exploited mine workers, persecuted communists, shunned lepers, and the tattered descendants of a once-great Incan civilization. They travelled for nine months by motorcycle, steamship, raft, horse, bus, and hitchhiking, and covered more than 8,000 kilometres across places such as the Andes, Atacama Desert, and the Amazon River Basin. The book ends with a proclamation by Guevara about his willingness to fight and die for the cause of the poor, and his dream of seeing a united Latin America.

In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

10 Best Travel Memoirs
10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 2)

In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson writes about what he found in Australia, a country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. Bryson takes his readers on a boisterous ride that is far beyond the beaten tourist path. . Australia is an immense and fortunate land, and it has found in Bill Bryson its perfect guide. Readers travel with Bryson as he avoids jellyfish while learning to surf at Bondi Beach, discovers a fish that can climb trees, dehydrates in deserts where the temperatures goes up to 140 degrees, and tells the true story of the rejected Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House.  The book is funny, fact-filled, and adventurous.

Lost on Planet China: The Strange And True Story Of One Man’s Attempt To Understand The World’s Most Mystifying Nation, Or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid by J. Maarten Troost

10 Best Travel Memoirs
10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 3)

In Lost on Planet China J. Maarten Troost takes readers on a journey through the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet. In this travel memoir Troost finds himself dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai; eating Yak in Tibet; decoding restaurant menus; visiting with Chairman Mao; and hiking with 80,000 other people up Tai Shan, China’s most admired mountain. Troost shows readers that while they may be familiar with Yao Ming or dim sum or the cheap, plastic products that line the shelves of every store, the real China remains a world unto itself. Maarten Troost brings China to life in Lost on Planet China as never seen before. The book is insightful with a funny narrative that is very entertaining.

A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle

10 Best Travel Memoirs
10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 4)

In A Year in Provence Peter Mayle gives a month-by-month account of the delight and frustrations that he and his wife experienced in their first year in the remote country of the Luberon in Southern France, restoring a two- century-old stone farmhouse that they bought on sight. There Peter, his wife and their two dogs endure January’s frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, he discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and pleasures of the glorious regional cuisine. He enjoys the growing friendship with his country neighbours, he makes friends with boar hunters and truffle hunters, a man who eats foxes, and another who bites dentists; he discovers the secrets of handicapping racing goats and of disarming vipers. A Year in Provence transports its readers into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life in the Southern France.

Tales Of A Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman

10 Best Travel Memoirs
10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 5)

Tales of a Female Nomad follows Rita Golden Gelman on an extraordinary journey around the world. It is one among the 10 Best Travel Memoirs. At the age of forty-eight in 1986, when she was on the verge of a divorce, Rita left her life in L.A. to follow her dream of travelling the world. She sold her possessions and became a nomad. She lived in a Zapotec village in Mexico, slept with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and resided everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. Rita has seen orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. In Tales of a Female Nomad she takes her readers along with her on a remarkable journey of rediscovering joy.

Travels With Charley: In Search Of America by John Steinbeck

10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 6)

John Steinbeck at the age of 58 set out to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years with his French poodle, Charley. In Travels with Charley Steinbeck chronicles the intimate journey around America. He drives through the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. On the journey he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers. He and Charley travel north from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to Texas, to New Orleans and through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.

Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon

10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 7)

Blue Highways by William Heat-Moon is the first book in his trilogy of books about traveling the American landscape. The book is regarded as the masterpiece of American travel memoirs. In Blue Highways author tells readers about his experiences, people he met and places he saw on his roundabout 20922 kilometres trip down the back roads aka “blue highways” and through small, forgotten towns. When Least Heat-Moon at 38-year-old was  laid-off as a college professor of Sioux, he drove around the U.S. on the “blue highways, ” the rural back made that are coloured blue on old maps. Blue Highways reveals the true American experience through William Least Heat-Moon’s adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way.

Turn Right At Machu Picchu: Rediscovering The Lost City One Step At A Time by Mark Adams

10 Best Travel Memoirs (Book 8)

In Turn Right at Machu Picchu Mark Adam retraces Hiram Bingham III journey to discover Machu Picchu. On July 24, 1911 the young Yale professor Hiram Bingham III climbed the Andes Mountains of Peru and discovered an ancient city in the clouds: the now famous citadel of Machu Picchu. A century later, news reports said that the hero explorer was actually a villain who smuggled out priceless artifacts and stole credit for finding one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. In this book Adams investigates the allegations against Bingham by retracing the explorer’s treacherous path to Machu Picchu. Along with a irritable, antisocial Australian survivalist and several Quechua-speaking mule tenders as his guides, Adams takes readers through some of the most marvelous and historic landscapes in Peru, from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco to the mystifying ruins of Vitcos and Vilcabamba.

Seven Years In Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

Book 9

In Seven Years in Tibet by an Austrian author Heinrich Harrer tells about his adventures as one of the first Europeans ever to enter Tibet. Harrer was traveling in India when the Second World War broke out. He was later seized and imprisoned by British authorities. After numerous attempts, he escaped and crossed the frozen Himalayas, surviving by deceiving government officials and depending on the generosity of villagers for food and shelter.

Harrer reached his final destination – the Forbidden City of Lhasa without any money, or permission to be in Tibet. However, Tibetan hospitality and his own curious appearance worked in Harrer’s favor, as he was allowed an unprecedented acceptance among the upper classes. His intelligence and European ways had intrigued the young Dalai Lama, and Harrer soon became His Holiness’s tutor and trusted confidant. When the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950, Harrer and the Dalai Lama fled the country together. The story reveals Eastern culture and the childhood of His Holiness and the troubles of Tibetans.

A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures In Extreme Cuisines by Anthony Bourdain

Book 10

 A Cook’s Tour is inspired by the question, “What would be the perfect meal?” To find the answer, Anthony Bourdain set out on a quest for the holy grail of culinary satisfaction. The book is a collection of adventures and misadventures of chef Bourdain as he travelled the world in search of the ultimate meal. A delightful combination of travel and food writing, A Cook’s Tour takes the reader to places such as Phnom Penh gun club where AK47s are served up to the incautious. In Japan, Bourdain sampled fugu, the most poisonous fish in the world. In France, he relives his first taste of oyster, and in Portugal, a whole village has fattened a pig for a special banquet in his honour. From California to Cambodia,  A Cook’s Tour recounts the unpredictable adventures of North America’s favorite chef Anthony Bourdain.

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