Guest Post written by Rebecca Pittore from Alltherooms.com
Reading your first travel book is something like meeting your first love. You can have thoughts and experience emotions that you have never felt before, and be inspired to go places and do things you otherwise would have never considered.
Just like you can fall in love again, you can always catch the travel bug again if you find yourself in a rut. Keep reading for AllTheRooms’ guide to Best Books for Inspiration to Travel.
ON THE ROAD by JACK KEROUAC
A definitive American travel novel, Jack Kerouac’s masterpiece On the Road defined an entire generation of restless road-trippers, and continues to inspire travelers of all ages.
On the Road is essentially a memoir of Kerouac’s travels between the years of 1947 and 1950, crisscrossing the USA with very little money, while accompanied by his lunatic but fun-loving friend. The language of the novel is deliberately reminiscent of the improvisational and flourishing jazz music of this era.
This rhythm of language also typifies the spontaneous spirit which overcomes you as you embark on a new adventure with no goal or purpose in mind. Kerouac himself called the work a “journey to find America and to find the inherent goodness in the American man. It was really a story about two buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him."
Indeed, this accidental, improvised travel masterpiece is if nothing else spiritual, but not “traditional” or contrived spirituality by any means. It’s pure travel and soul-searching for the sake of nothing else but those things. As life goes, it’s equal parts downs and ups -- ecstasy, depression, exploration, captivity, freedom and limitation.
But it’s always on the road. And there are few things more tempting than “the road”. It means getting away and forgetting about your responsibilities for a while. In small measures this is wonderful.
A WALK IN THE WOODS by BILL BRYSON
A Walk in the Woods is another spiritual buddy-travel tale written by an everyman, but of a completely different sort.
Whereas Jack Kerouac is celebrated for his melancholic thrill-seeking, Bryson is renowned for his hilarious observations and unwavering optimism. In 2017, CNN put A Walk in the Woods #1 on their list of funniest travel books ever written.
Published in 1998, A Walk in the Woods recounts Bill Bryson’s often disastrous hike along the Appalachian Trail with his vastly overweight and alcoholic friend. This book established Bryson as a distinguished travel writer, and the preeminent travel author in terms of humor.
What distinguishes Bryson from other travel authors is he is a truly relatable author. Although his writing style is remarkably eloquent and descriptive, at the end of the day this is a chubby, unathletic, middle-aged man embarking on a journey and making the same observations you would, but putting them into words that make you spit out your coffee with laughter.
Beyond its humor, A Walk in the Woods is a spiritual tale of redemption. The isolation and humility felt when undertaking an endeavor such as the Appalachian Trail has the capacity to humble and bring out the best in virtually anyone, regardless of their station in life and past failures. Bryson’s journey through nature reflects our own odyssey on the rugged path of life.
THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER by GEORGE ORWELL
When traveling, it’s easy to get caught up in the the comforts, pleasures and sightseeing of the journey, and think about...well, ourselves. That’s usually the very point of traveling and vacations. But what about the locals? What about the folks making a living, just scraping by, in the towns and cities that we are passing through for our own amusement?
For those passionate about travel, it isn’t just about pleasure and distraction. Few people traveled as extensively as George Orwell, and even fewer were as observant as he was of the people he met along the way. The Road to Wigan Pier is an account of Orwell’s experiences with working class people on his journey through northern England.
As Orwell traveled through this part of the country, he noted in detail the squalor lived in by these families, as well as the shocking and dangerous working conditions of those lucky enough to have a job. There was no comfort or pleasure for the locals here, who were routinely ignored or mocked by the upper class of society.
Orwell notes not only the inhumanity of ignoring the plight of the locals in our travel destinations, but the missed opportunity in learning valuable lessons from them. He observes the sense of happiness and fellowship among the working class, compared to the constant discontent and and grief of the wealthy.
This is an observation we all make in our travels, but perhaps forget after a moment: the laughing and smiling of those with so much less than us, in spite of their extreme daily struggles. Encountering gratitude and humility is one of life’s greatest rewards, and one that is just as easy to notice as it is to ignore.
After you add these books to your library, head over to AllTheRooms for all your accommodation needs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Pittore is a writer with Alltherooms.com.
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