What inspires you to travel? In our technology driven world the answer might be social media, blogs, or travel websites. Maybe you saw a picture of some exotic food on Instagram, or a friend posted videos on Facebook of their trip to Paris, or you were scrolling Pinterest and found a great itinerary for hiking a national park.
But what gave you wanderlust before those things existed?
Growing up books inspired me to travel, and even today they continue to do so.
And I know they do for many of you as well, in addition to inspiration you may get from technology.
So today’s post is a collaboration with several female travel bloggers telling you about a book that inspired one of their trips.
This has to be one of my favorite travel posts to date, as the variety of books and experiences is wonderful!
I’ll kick off the collaboration with one of my books and trips, and I hope you enjoy the rest!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
“When I began reading the Outlander series I was completely entranced by Scotland: the tumultuous history, the unique Highland culture, and the rugged landscape. The series begins with a British World War II nurse thrown back in time to the beginnings of the Jacobite Rebellion in the 1740s. I truly knew nothing more about Scotland than kilts before reading! And after I was convinced that a trip to this country was a MUST on my bucket list.
We went to Scotland for a week in September and it was such an unforgettable trip. We spent time in both cities and the Highlands, and gazing out at the munros, lochs, and valleys it seemed like the land was just as it had been during the Jacobite Rebellion in the mid 18th century: very raw and impressive. Spending time in the countryside and the Isle of Skye were my favorite parts of the trip. I’ll never forget those dramatic landscapes. ”
I’ve written many posts on our trip, including a 7 Day Itinerary that’s great for first timers like we were!
Buried Angels by Camilla Läckberg
“A few years back I discovered the crime novels of Swedish crime writer Camilla Läckberg and fell in love with the little town of Fjällbacka. Nestled on Sweden’s Bohuslän coast in the southwest of the country, Läckberg describes Fjällbacka as a close community of white clapboard cottages, bracing seawater swimming pools, and rocky offshore islands which are a popular destination for Swedish visitors but little-known to the outside world.
So when I had the opportunity to visit southwestern Sweden, I just had to rent a car for a day and see Fjällbacka for myself. Around one hour’s drive from the city of Gothenburg, the Bohuslän coast stretches north towards the Norwegian border. It was a perfect Swedish summer day, and an even prettier destination than I’d dared imagine. As I wandered the pretty streets and took a boat trip among the islands, watching the colourful cottages reflecting in the mirror-calm waters, it felt like I’d discovered another world. And, unlike Camilla Läckberg’s gripping Scandi-crime novels, nobody died.”
-Jill of Reading the Book
“A few years ago I discovered the books of Jeffrey Tayler, a modern adventurer who writes travelogues about his visits to off-the-beaten-path destinations. His book Murders in Mausoleums: Riding the Back Roads of Empire Between Moscow and Beijing inspired me to take my own journey across the world’s largest continent.
I started my journey in Vladivostok, a port city on Russia’s Pacific Coast, and ended it two months later in Moscow, at Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square. Although it’s possible make the same journey in as little as seven days of non-stop train travel, by extending my trip over two months I was able to make more than a dozen stops across Russia and Mongolia. For me, the highlights of the train included learning about local cultures from people who rarely met tourists, sampling the seasonal local cuisine, and taking in the magnificent architecture (like this train station in Khabarovsk, Russia).”
-Carly of Fearless Female Travels
Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo by Zlata Filipović
“I was only 11 years-old when I first read the story of Zlata Filipović, a young girl living in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War of the 90s. I was familiar with the heartbreaking story of Anne Frank, but completely disheartened to know things like these were still happening, just a few miles from my home. Zlata’s Diary is a love letter to life, to hope, and to Sarajevo. I never forgot about Zlata and I knew I had to visit Sarajevo to better understand her story. Eleven years after first reading the book, I finally did.
I revisited the book before my visit, and it was as meaningful as I remembered. Thinking of all the bullet holes in the buildings and the graveyards across the city still makes my heart ache, but while visiting I was able to see a city that is full of life, diversity, and invested in reconstruction. I visited Sarajevo with a heavy heart, but left with a heart filled with love and hope due to all the kindness and inspiration I encountered.”
-Maria & Rui of Two Find a Way
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
“I became a total Francophile after reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Published posthumously, the delightful memoir about the literary expat community in Paris during the roaring 20s shows the City of Lights at its best. From street-side cafes to crowded bookshops, everything about the French capital sounded alluring.
When I visited the city with my husband two years ago, I went on a quest to find Hemingway’s Paris. We browsed the overstuffed shelves at Shakespeare and Company (the English bookstore Hemingway frequented), meandered the charming streets of Montmartre (the artistic crowd’s preferred neighborhood), and spent an afternoon people watching in the Jardin du Luxembourg (the urban park where Hemingway hunted pigeons).
Though many years have passed since Hemingway strolled along the banks of the Seine, I believe the city remains as magical as ever. I am already planning a return trip!”
-Carrie of Maple & Maps
Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison
“The African bush is a place of both great beauty and great mystery and, having explored South Africa’s Kruger National Park and Etosha National Park in Namibia, we were hungry for an insider look at life behind the scenes. We picked up a copy of Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison, a safari guide who spent many years in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. His humorous take on the reality of working and living in the Delta raised many laughs and allowed us a fascinating look at what happens in the safari camps and in the Okavango Delta itself.
We were hooked and planned our own adventure. From the moment we hopped on our tiny jet and soared above the Delta we were caught in its magic, a magic which had come to life through the pages of the book. It is a must read for anyone planning the trip of a lifetime into one of the greatest places on earth.”
-Elaine & David of Show Me the Globe
Come Over to My House by Dr. Seuss
“As a small child growing up in rural Newfoundland I only knew the place I lived. The thought that there was life outside my town was mind-boggling. We didn’t have internet back then, so I relied on books to add wonder to my life. Dr. Seuss’ book Come Over to My House inspired 10-year-old me to have an expanded view of the world.
The recognizable Dr. Seuss prose, with easy-to-read words and fun pictures showed children all over the world and how they eat, sleep, play, and live. I sat dreaming of houses on stilts, kangaroos, streets made of water, and sliding down pine needles. Little did I know then, that I would grow up to visit most of the places in the book. Now as a mother, I read the book to my children and feel pride as they are able to recognize the places on the pages and have even visited a few.
Written in 1966, the book was recently re-published after being unavailable for 20 years and is even more inclusive.”
-Paige of Piece of Pie
La Danta Que Hizo Dugú by Mario Gallardo
“I still don’t know if it was destiny or just coincidence, but whatever it was, it surely was very special. It all started when I met my boyfriend Samuel at La Ceiba, at the Honduran Caribbean after he had spent a week learning how to dive. He had found a book at his hostel called La Danta Que Hizo Dugú, written by a Honduran professor who had met two Garifuna ladies (Mama Chenta and her daughter Caya) in Masca, a tiny village by the Caribbean around the year 2000. He listened and wrote down all of their stories as a compilation of Garifuna culture.
We both got obsessed right away. It didn’t take us long to decide to go to Masca and see the little village for ourselves. We hitchhiked there and got us a room at the cheapest hotel we’ve been to. Samuel was feeling sick and I went out to get us some dinner when the storm started. Hiding from the pouring rain at a closed restaurant, its owner showed up and started talking to me. I told her of my sick boyfriend and she gave me some leftover rice and chicken while she asked what we were doing in Masca. I explained and asked whether she knew the ladies from the book, and her answer was ,“Cayita is my aunt!” In the morning she guided us to Caya’s house, where we could listen to her stories for hours. At this point, I still can’t believe it!”
-Alba of Waddling in the Wild
The Island by Victoria Hislop
“With a tale about love, tragedy, and war, Victoria’s Hislop book captivated me from the first few pages. The book The Island centers on the small island of Spinalonga facing the village of Plaka in Crete. This island used to be an exile for the lepers (people suffering from Hansen’s disease) during the 20th century and the book talks about the dramas and joys of the people who lived there and their families. My grandmother was from Crete and though I have been staying there almost every summer it took reading Hislop’s book to prompt me to visit Spinalonga.
A short boat ride across Plaka, the island of Spinalonga is a place frozen in time. Walking through the streets of the small leper colony you’ll probably find yourself in awe of the strength the people that lived there exhibited. Just a 10 minute swim away from their loved ones. So close yet so far away! I felt so sad about the tragedy their life was. But, I choose to think they had some joy in their life too, if the stories of the book hold any kind of truth. I hope they do!
Spinalonga is now an archeological site which thousands of tourists choose to visit.”
-Maro of Akamatra
Egil’s Saga by Anonymous
“In 870, Iceland was settled by Viking explorers who were fleeing conflict with Norway. They put down roots there and began farming. But, being Vikings, they still occasionally had the urge to go out marauding and plundering. Such is the story of Egil and his saga.
The Sagas of the Icelanders began as oral stories but they were set to paper in the 1300s. They are notable for being one of the earliest forms of non-fiction prose. Other contemporary works were either fiction (Shakespeare), or poetry (Beowulf), or both. This early form of prose was unique for the time and it’s credited with giving Iceland such a strong literary culture.
Egil was one of the early settlers of Iceland, trying to make a life on the harsh landscape. He was also one of those marauding Vikings and he had a very unforgiving nature. He harbored a huge beef with the King of Norway and he took every opportunity to aggravate the king by murdering, plundering, and enslaving anyone in his path. National founding father…or…psychopath? You decide, when you read the book.
For my part, I found Egil’s Saga an instrumental part of understanding and enjoying my recent winter trip to Iceland. Fortunately, I didn’t find any psychopathic Vikings (they have an extremely low crime rate in Iceland), but I did find traces of its settlement history and a hardy people who value their literary voices.”
-Carole of Wayfaring Views
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
“Although it might be cliche The Alchemist remains one of my favorite novels. I love the colorful way Brazilian author Paulo Coelho tells stories. I first read The Alchemist in high school and like any angsty teenager who is unsure of who they are I deeply related to the plot of self-discovery throughout the coming of age tale.
At the time, world travel seemed so far-fetched that I didn’t even remember the exact locales of the settings until I reread the book in Spain. Soon I found myself following the footprints of Santiago with a caravan traveling in the Sahara Desert. To quote the novel, when ‘you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Since moving to Spain in 2015 I’ve now explored over 50 countries and have been living in Asia for nearly two years!'”
-Lola of Miss Filatelista
I hope this post inspires you to go the old fashioned route every once in awhile— grab a book and dream of far off places.
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