About five years ago now, when I was a student heading back to Sheffield on the train after the Christmas holidays, I finished reading Jupiter’s Travels, a book about Ted Simon and his four-year solo motorcycle journey around the world in the 1970s. My life has never been the same since. It made me realise that the world is full of things to experience, interesting people to meet, and that “magic is seeing something for the first time”. I had not given much thought to world travel before that. But my outlook on the world had changed: I wanted to see some of that magic for myself.
Since then, I’ve read many travel books, both those widely recommended and regarded as travel classics, as well as some lesser known books that I rather feel I have discovered by myself. Here is a list of the top ten most inspirational travel books that I’ve read over the last four or five years. These choices are very personal to me, and are selected more for the inspiration they have given me, than any particular literary merit, so feel free to disagree with my choices.
1. Jupiter’s Travels – Ted Simon
2. Moods of Future Joys/Thunder and Sunshine – Alastair Humphreys
3. It’s Not About the Bike – Lance Armstrong
4. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
5. Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know – Ranulph Fiennes
6. A Time for Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor
7. Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
8. The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry Garrard
9. Cycling Home from Siberia – Rob Lilwall
10. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
Arguably, some of these titles do not really fit into the ‘travel’ genre. But they remain huge sources of inspiration for me, promoting the idea of freedom, adventure, and rugged determination in the face of great challenges.
Please feel free to add any you feel I have missed in the comments below.