15 Top Travel Books of 2016: Guaranteed to Inspire Wanderlust

Travel books that inspire wanderlust

Do you suffer with Wanderlust?

Travelling the world is now easier than ever before, but deciding where to head can offer be as daunting as the journey itself.  With so many great travel writers out there, the knowledge we now have at our finger tips is immense.  However, with so many fantastic travel reads now available to us, how do we even begin to decide who to read first.

Are you in need of a little inspiration for your travels this year?

Whether you are a seasoned traveller or prefer to enjoy travelling from the comfort of your armchair this is a list that will appeal to everyone.

Travel Books to look out for in 2016

#1 Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood

Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood, book published 2016

Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood

Publication Date: 4th Jan

The Story

Following his trek along the length of the Nile River, explorer Levison Wood takes on his greatest challenge yet-navigating the treacherous foothills of the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range.

Following in the footsteps of the great explorers, Levison recounts the beauty and danger he found along the Silk Road route of Afghanistan, the Line of Control between Pakistan and India, the disputed territories of Kashmir and the earth-quake ravaged lands of Nepal. Over the course of six months, Wood and his trusted guides trek 1,700 gruelling miles across the roof of the world.

#2 No Baggage: A Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Benson

Publication Date: 5th Jan

The Story

One dress, three weeks, eight countries — zero baggage.

Newly recovered from a quarter-life meltdown, Clara decided to test her comeback by signing up for an online dating account. She never expected to meet Jeff, a wildly energetic university professor with a reputation for bucking convention. They barely know each other’s last names when they agree to set out on a risky travel experiment spanning eight countries and three weeks.

The catch – no hotel reservations, no plans, and best of all, no baggage. Clara’s story will resonate with adventurers and homebodies alike. It’s at once a romance, a travelogue, and a bright modern take on the age-old questions: How do you find the courage to explore beyond your comfort zone? Can you love someone without the need for labels and commitment? Is it possible to truly leave your baggage behind?

#3 Jalan Jalan: A Novel of Indonesia by Mike Stoner

Publication Date: 12th Jan

The Story

“What sort of idiot takes a job after a five minute phone interview, in a country he knows nothing much about and on the other side of the world, in a school he’s never heard of?”

Newbie is on the run from England; from the past and from memories of his dead girlfriend, Laura. Indonesia is as good a place as any to reinvent himself—cheap beer, exotic landscapes, a beautiful Indonesian girlfriend, and a bunch of misfit mates all masquerading as English teachers.

Jalan Jalan or “just walking, out for a stroll”, is a local phrase that sums up Newbie’s quest for emotional detachment, to block out the pain of the past. But Laura won’t leave him alone—her ghost haunts him, her voice fills his head, her gaze follows him everywhere. It will take a breakdown and an exorcism at the hands of an Indonesian shaman to make Newbie realize that the events of the past might not always be what they seem.

#4 Destination Thailand by Katy Colins

Publication Date: 21st Jan

The Story

What if you had a second chance to find yourself?

Instead of slipping on her something borrowed and tripping up the aisle to wedded bliss, Georgia spends her big day crying into a warm Sex-on-the-Beach, wondering where it all went wrong.

Forced to make a bucket list of her new life goals by best friend Marie, it’s not long before travel-virgin Georgia’s packing her bags for a long-haul adventure to Thailand.

Yet, Georgia’s big adventure doesn’t seem to be going to plan. From strange sights, smells and falling for every rookie traveller scam in the book Georgia has never felt more alone.

But the good thing about falling apart is that you can put yourself back together any way you please. And new Georgia might just be someone she can finally be proud of.

This could be a new favourite series for fans of The Curvy Girls Club, the Shopaholic Seriesand Eat, Pray, Love.

Read our review of Destination Thailand here.
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Other Books in the Series being published this year are:

Destination India

Publication date: 27th March

The Story

Georgia Green is about to board a plane to India, alone – again. Things were supposed to be different this time, but Georgia backpacked solo to Thailand and survived, what could possibly go wrong?

Only she is about to find out that when in India the country calls the shots – not you.

Destination Chile

Publication Date: 25th May

The Story

Next on her bucket list Georgia Green is heading to Chile, but this time she’s not going alone.

#5 Travels with Harley by H. Christopher

Publication Date: 9th Feb

The Story

A journey through America in search of personal and national identity is one veteran’s rumination on citizenship and service, freedom and responsibility, and what it means to be an American in today’s world.

This journey within a journey is more than a book about insights and perspectives gained from a 30-year civil-military career and seeing America from the outside in. It taps into a broader movement a call to action for every one of us, in every generation, to go through our own journey to find out who we are and what we’re about so we can face today s complex and dynamic world, navigate the fog of uncertainty, and weather the storms of change.

#6 Dispatches from Pluto by R. Grant

Publication Date: 11th Feb

The Story

Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta.

Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. Imagine A Year in Provence with alligators and assassins, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining.

On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters—blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman.

Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes. Reporting from all angles as only an outsider can, Grant also delves deeply into the Delta’s lingering racial tensions. He finds that de facto segregation continues. Yet even as he observes major structural problems, he encounters many close, loving, and interdependent relationships between black and white families—and good reasons for hope.

#7 Incarnations: India in 50 Lives by Sunil Khilnani

Publication Date: 25th Feb

The Story

For all of India’s myths, its sea of stories and moral epics, Indian history remains curious. Sunil Khilnani’s Incarnations fills a space: recapturing the human dimension of how the world’s largest democracy came to be. In this stunning and deeply researched book, accompanying his major BBC Radio 4 series, Khilnani explores the lives of 50 Indians, from the spiritualist Buddha to the capitalist Dhirubhai Ambani –lives that light up India’s rich, varied past and its continuous ferment of ideas.

As he journeys across the country, and through its past, Khilnani uncovers more than just history. In rocket launches and ayurvedic call centres, in slum temples and Bollywood studios, in California communes and grimy ports, he examines the continued, and often surprising, relevance of the men and women who have made India – and the world – what it is. Their stories will inform, move and entertain this book’s many readers.

#8 The Silk Road: Taking the Bus to Pakistan by Bill Porter

 

Publication Date: 25th Feb

The Story

To travel upon the Silk Road is to travel through history. Millennia older than California’s Camino Real, and perhaps even a few years senior to the roads of the Roman Empire, the Silk Road is a network of routes stretching from delta towns of China all the way to the Mediterranean Sea — a cultural highway considered to be essential to the development of some of the world’s oldest civilizations.

It was upon this road that that Chinese silk travelled and was exchanged for incense, precious stones, and gold from India, the Middle East and as far the Mediterranean, contributing to the great tradition of commercial and idea exchange along the way.

In the fall of 1992, celebrated translator, writer, and scholar Bill Porter left his home in Hong Kong and decided to travel from China to Pakistan by way of this famous and often treacherous Silk Road. Equipped with a plastic bottle of whiskey, needle-nose pliers, and the companionship of an old friend, Porter embarks upon the journey on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s liberation from the Japanese after World War II and concludes in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, at the end of the monsoon season.

Weaving witty travel anecdotes with the history and fantastical mythology of China and the surrounding regions, Porter exposes a world of card-sharks, unheard-of ethnic minorities, terracotta soldiers, nuclear experiments in the desert, emperors falling in love with bathing maidens, monks with miracle tongues, and a giant Buddha relaxing to music played by an invisible band.

The Silk Road is the second of a three-book memoir series about Porter’s travels in and around China to be published by Counterpoint. With an eye for cultural idiosyncrasies and a vast knowledge of history, Porter continues to make with his mark as an expert and travel writer.

#9 For the Love of Wine by Alice Feiring

Publication Date: 1st March

The Story

In 2011 when Alice Feiring first arrived in Georgia, she felt as if she’d emerged from the magic wardrobe into a world filled with mythical characters making exotic and delicious wine with the low-tech methods of centuries past. She was smitten, and she wasn’t alone. This country on the Black Sea has an unusual effect on people; the most passionate rip off their clothes and drink wines out of horns while the cold-hearted well up with tears and make emotional toasts. Visiting winemakers fall under Georgia’s spell and bring home qvevris (clay fermentation vessels) while rethinking their own techniques.

But, as in any good fairy tale, Feiring sensed that danger rode shotgun with the magic. With acclaim and growing international interest come threats in the guise of new wine consultants aimed at making wines more commercial. So Feiring fought back in the only way she knew how: by celebrating Georgia and the men and women who make the wines she loves most, those made naturally with organic viticulture, minimal intervention, and no additives.

From Tbilisi to Batumi, Feiring meets winemakers, bishops, farmers, artists, and silk spinners. She feasts, toasts, and collects recipes. She encounters the thriving qvevri craftspeople of the countryside, wild grape hunters, and even Stalin’s last winemaker while plumbing the depths of this tiny country’s love for its wines.

For the Love of Wine is Feiring’s emotional tale of a remarkable country and people who have survived religious wars and Soviet occupation yet managed always to keep hold of their precious wine traditions. Embedded in the narrative is the hope that Georgia has the temerity to confront its latest threat—modernization.

#10 Sky Shamans of Mongolia by K. Turner

Publication Date: 12th April

The Story

Part travelogue, part experiential spiritual memoir, Kevin Turner takes us to visit with authentic shamans in the steppes and urban centers of modern-day Mongolia. Along the way, the author, a practicing shaman himself, tells of spontaneous medical diagnoses, all-night shamanic ceremonies, and miraculous healings, all welling from a rich culture in which divination, soul-retrieval, and spirit depossession are a part of everyday life.

Shamanism, described in the 1950s by Mircea Eliade as “archaic techniques of ecstasy,” is alive and well in Mongolia as a means of accessing “non-ordinary realities” and the spirit world. After centuries of suppression by Buddhist and then Communist political powers, it is exploding in popularity in Mongolia.

Turner gives compelling accounts of healings and rituals he witnesses among Darkhad, Buryat, and Khalkh shamans, and goes on to provide us with his insights into a universal shamanism, principles that lie at the heart of shamanic traditions worldwide.
This astounding, inspiring book will appeal to shamans and shamanic therapists, students of Mongolian culture and comparative religion, and fans of off-grid travel memoirs.

#11 Ticket to Ride: Around the World on 49 Unusual Train Journeys by Tom Chesshyre

Publication Date: 14th April

The Story

Tom Chesshyre has made it his mission to experience the world through train travel – on both epic and everyday rail routes, aboard every type of train, from colonial steam locomotives to high-tech bullet trains. Join him on the rails and off the beaten track as he takes us on a whistle-stop tour of some of the most exhilarating journeys around the globe, from Sri Lanka to Tehran and beyond.

With his trademark wit and humour, Tom takes us on fascinating adventures through diverse landscapes and cultures and introduces us to an ever-changing cast of memorable characters, all of whom share a passion for train travel. Whether you’re an armchair traveller, a daily commuter or a seasoned train adventurer, this platform-hopping odyssey will open your eyes to the joys of life on two rails.

#12 Mother Tongue: My Family’s Globe-Trotting Quest to Dream in Mandarin, Laugh in Arabic, and Sing in Spanishby Christine Gilbert

Publication Date: 17th May

One woman’s quest to learn Mandarin in Beijing, Arabic in Beirut, and Spanish in Mexico, with her young family along for the ride.

Imagine negotiating for a replacement carburetor in rural Mexico with words you’re secretly pulling from a pocket dictionary. Imagine your two-year-old asking for more niunai at dinner—a Mandarin word for milk that even you don’t know yet. Imagine finding out that you’re unexpectedly pregnant while living in war-torn Beirut. With vivid and evocative language, Christine Gilbert takes us along with her into foreign lands, showing us what it’s like to make a life in an unfamiliar world—and in an unfamiliar tongue.

Gilbert was a young mother when she boldly uprooted her family to move around the world, studying Mandarin in China, Arabic in Lebanon, and Spanish in Mexico, with her toddler son and all-American husband along for the ride. Their story takes us from Beijing to Beirut, from Cyprus to Chiang Mai—and also explores recent breakthroughs in bilingual brain mapping and the controversial debates happening in linguistics right now.

Gilbert’s adventures abroad prove just how much language influences culture (and vice versa), and lead her to results she never expected. Mother Tongue is a fascinating and uplifting story about taking big risks for bigger rewards and trying to find meaning and happiness through tireless pursuit—no matter what hurdles may arise.

It’s a treat for language enthusiasts and armchair travellers alike.

#13 Voyager: Travel Writings by Russell Banks

Voyager: Travel Writings by Russell Banks book release 2016

Voyager: Travel Writings by Russell Banks

Publication Date: 31st May

The Story

The acclaimed, award-winning novelist takes us on some of his most memorable journeys in this revelatory collection of travel essays that spans the globe, from the Caribbean to Scotland to the Himalayas.

Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. “Since childhood, I’ve longed for escape, for rejuvenation, for wealth untold, for erotic and narcotic and sybaritic fresh starts, for high romance, mystery, and intrigue,” he writes in this compelling anthology. The longing for escape has taken him from the “bright green islands and turquoise seas” of the Caribbean islands to peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, and beyond.

In Voyager, Russell Banks, a lifelong explorer, shares highlights from his travels: interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba; motoring to a hippie reunion with college friends in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; eloping to Edinburgh, with his fourth wife, Chase; driving a sunset orange metallic Hummer down Alaska’s Seward Highway.

#14 All Strangers are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World by Zora O’Neill

Publication Date: 14th June

The Story

A lively, often hilarious, and always warm hearted exploration of Arabic language and culture.

After years of studying Arabic, Zora O’Neill faced an increasing certainty that she was not only failing to master the language but was also driving herself crazy. So she stepped away. But a decade later she still couldn’t shake her fascination with Arabic and returned to her studies, this time with a new approach.

O’Neill embarks on a grand tour through the Middle East — to Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, and Morocco — packing her dictionaries, her unsinkable sense of humour, and her talent for making fast friends of strangers. She travels along quiet, bougainvillea-lined streets and amid the lively buzz of crowded cities and medinas. She jumps off the tourist track, into families’ homes and local hotspots, and makes a part of the world that is thousands of miles away seem right next door.

#15 White Sands Experiences from the Outside World by Geoff Dyer

Publication Date: 30th June

The Story

Taking the form of ten journeys, White Sands is an exploration of why we travel from perhaps Britain’s greatest globetrotter. Episodic, wide-ranging, funny and smart, it marks a return to the subject of Dyer’s Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, albeit with the wisdom of age.

From viewing a lightning field in the Mexican desert by night, to chasing Gauguin’s ghost in French Polynesia, from falling in love with a tour guide in the Forbidden City of Beijing to tracking down the house of a childhood idol in LA, Dyer pursues all permutations of the peak experience, explores the voyage through time, and plumbs the effects of distance. In his trademark style he blends travel writing, essay, criticism and fiction with a smart and cantankerous wit that is unmatched. This is a book for armchair travellers and procrastinating philosophers everywhere.

And finally, something slightly different…

Travel Between the Lines Adult Coloring Book: Inspirational Coloring for Globetrotters and Daydreamers by Geoff and Katie Matthews

Out Now!

This travel coloring book for grown-ups features 47 beautifully detailed cityscapes and scenes from across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Each illustration was created from a real-life photograph taken during the around-the-world, non-stop travel adventures of the book’s husband-and-wife creators, Geoff and Katie Matthews. Offering a range of difficulty, from relatively simple illustrations of Paris, Guatemala, and Colombia, to extraordinarily detailed architectural cityscapes of Prague, Quito, La Paz, and others, the crisp black and white line drawings will transport colorists from Taiwan to Lithuania to Argentina with the flip of a page. This adult coloring book is perfect for people who love to travel, people who dream of traveling, and those who love to lose themselves in a world of imagination and creativity while completing colorful cityscapes, detailed line work, and memorable vignettes of extraordinary travel destinations.

Creative Haven Hello Cuba! Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books) by Marty Noble

Publication Date: 18th May

Sixty-two stunning illustrations pay tribute to the natural beauty and entrancing culture of this fascinating tropical island. Scenes from town and country include images of vintage cars; tropical wildlife; cigar labels; portraits of fruit vendors, farmers, and señoritas; and much more. Pages are perforated and printed on one side only for easy removal and display. Specially designed for experienced colorists, Hello Cuba! and other Creative Haven® coloring books offer an escape to a world of inspiration and artistic fulfillment. Each title is also an effective and fun-filled way to relax and reduce stress.

So there you have it, a list of books to induce wanderlust. A list that will make you want to pack a suitcase and jump on a plane to some far-flung country.

What have you read that inspired you to travel? Has your wanderlust come from reading a book?

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