Is anyone else really bitter about the fact that adulthood doesn’t come with an annual spring break? I was able to take a good chunk of time off over Christmas when my sister came to visit, but it’s been far too long since I hopped on a plane to some faraway destination just for the fun of it. Unfortunately, my work schedule and general lack of travel funds make it difficult to indulge my wanderlust on a whim. So for now, I’ll have to satisfy my travel urges with the vicarious thrills that only a good book can provide. Here are a few of my favorites and their corresponding literary locales; I’m sure they’ll hit the spot for all you armchair travelers out there!
We all have our own version of the quit-your-job-and-run-off-to-a-tropical-island fantasy. J. Maarten Troost makes his a reality when he decides to stop “pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life” and relocates to a remote island in the South Pacific. But he quickly learns that paradise is not all it’s cracked up to be…The Sex Lives of Cannibals is a sharply written, hilarious look at expat life and all of its corresponding thrills and horrors.
In college, I spent a semester studying abroad in Rome, and whenever I start to miss it (pretty much all the time), I reach for Four Seasons in Rome. The book recounts Anthony Doerr’s year as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome; with his wife and newborn twins in tow, he soaks up all the ancient beauty, history, and idiosyncrasies the Eternal City has to offer. You really do feel as though you’re walking the streets of Rome with them. Fun fact: they lived in my old neighborhood, Monteverde Vecchio, during their stay!
Whatever You Do, Don’t Run is a collection of entertaining essays from an Aussie safari guide stationed in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. His run-ins with both dangerous predators and foolish, drunken tourists will have you laughing like a hyena; his deep love for Africa and its wildlife will definitely convince you to add a safari to your bucket list (if it’s not already on there, of course)!
Who among us hasn’t considered taking a year off from life and traveling around the world with their best friends? With their 30th birthdays approaching and their high-pressure jobs causing more stress than they could tolerate, that’s exactly what the authors of The Lost Girls decided to do. Plunging head-first into the unknown, the girls leave their jobs, boyfriends and comfort zones behind and embark on a yearlong adventure that takes them to over a dozen countries across four continents.
I realize now that these books might not satisfy your wanderlust so much as intensify it…whoops! What are some of your favorite travel books?