As spring-time beckons, there’s nothing like reading a good book in the park to transport you from the day’s stress. Offering an instant gateway into exotic lands,
travel books provide blissful escapism and a chance to relax and unwind during your lunch break. From the bubbling cauldrons of Marrakesh to America’s wide open plains, here’s my top 5 lunch break travel reads that continue to inspire my own personal journey.
1) Hideous Kinky: One of my all-time favourite travel reads, Hideous Kinky, takes you back to the swinging sixties on the hippy trail to Marrakesh. Written by Esther Freud, the book relives the novelist’s bohemian upbringing in North Africa’s most vibrant city. From the trials of low-rent living to ill-fated love affairs – the book is a magic carpet ride into an exotic and beguiling culture. I’ve since visited Marrakesh twice and will definitely return again to the fascinating city where all life is.
2) Microadventures I interviewed adventurer Alastair Humphreys two years ago and was blown away by his adventurous mind-set. Proving that adventure’s not just found in exotic climes, his book demonstrates how to make your own life extraordinary by embarking on your very own Microadventures. Whether you choose a spot of wild swimming, a night hike or a nature trail, this book is guaranteed to inject excitement into the every day.
3) On the Road: I first read On the Road before a post-University road trip down the East Coast of America. The book’s free-spirited, carefree ethos was just the tonic I needed for my own journey beyond the cloistered world of student life. Drifting from state to state while eking out my dollars, I felt a strange kinship with Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. Free from the shackles of careers and mortgages, their tale highlights the freedom of being able to truly live in the moment.
4) Candyfloss Guitar: Top of my top bucket list is to follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims on the the 500 mile Camino de Santiago. One man who’s been there and done just that is Steve Marriott, whose epic walk inspired him to write Candyfloss Guitar. Telling the story of Diego, a flamenco guitarist who seeks his destiny on the Camino, the book provides an inspiring tale of the importance of following your own path.
You can read my interview with Steve here.
5) A year in Provence: A book that inspired my very own Year in Provence was Peter Mayle’s tale of life in the south of France. With larger-than-life characters, picturesque villages and the Provencale twang (which I never got to grips with), I was instantly captivated with life in the sud. While my own experience of “living the dream” as an English assistant was somewhat different, I still return to this book with fond affection as a reminder of those sunny, lavender-scented days.
What are your favourite lunch break travel reads? Please share your recommendations below.