Wednesday 29 November 2017

Books that have inspired my travels

I've always been a reader, and I've always been interested in travel - and I've found that many times something that I've read has inspired me to visit a place. I wanted to share how some of my favourite books have inspired me to visit different cities and countries, and while I was putting the list together I realised that there are many more places that I've not yet managed to visit inspired by my reading!

So here's my list, both of places that I've visited and places that I haven't. Do you have a reading inspired travel wish list?


I had always been desperate to visit Australia, and after our visit back in 2007 it's definitely my favourite place that I've been, I'd love to go back! I first read On the Beach by Nevil Shute many years ago, and although it's not the most cheerful of stories (it's a post-apocalyptic novel following the last survivors of a nuclear world war, as they wait in Melbourne for the deadly radiation to reach them). I was fascinated reading about a country that seemed so similar to the UK and was yet so different. Further reading, in particular A Town Like Alice, further sparked my interest, I found it amazing to learn that to get to Australia in the 50's you used to have to take something like fifteen different flights hopping about the globe, and even now it's still quite a mission. Especially I would imagine with small children, but I really hope we can take them one day!

I was also further inspired by Bill Bryson and Down Under, where he takes a three day train ride across Australia. We investigated when were planning our trip but it was so expensive to get a decent cabin - maybe one day!


I went through a phase of reading Jules Verne, and of all his novels it was Journey to the Centre of the Earth that really captured my imagination. The protagonists find the entrance to the centre of the earth on Snæfellsjökull, a glacier capped mountain in Iceland. When we visited Reykjavik a few years back we hired a car and drove a little way around the coast. Unfortunately we didn't get as close to the mountain as I would have liked as we were turned back by snow, but we did catch a glimpse!


I've always loved the novels of Daphne du Maurier and I've read most of them several times. I enjoyed the classics Rebecca and Jamaica Inn but my favourite is her first novel, The Loving Spirit. It tells the story of a family over four generations and the changes that they experience over time and it fascinates me, I've read it over and over. I've visited Cornwall several times

And here are some of the books I've read that have inspired my future travel wishlist!


I recently finished The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell and I really enjoyed it. I will be paying a brief visit to Copenhagen next year as part of a cruise and I'm really looking forward to it, but reading this book has made me want to settle down for a bit longer and indulge in some Danish hygge!

Hammerfest and the Appalachian Trail

I mentioned Bill Bryson above, he is absolutely my favourite travel author and has written about so many places that I'd still like to visit. Hammerfest in Norway is the first place that he visits in Neither Here nor There, a book about his travels around Europe, and for some reason it has really stuck out to me as somewhere that I want to go! He begins in Hammerfest because it is the northernmost town in Europe, and at the time he wrote the book he had to take a thirty hour bus ride from Oslo. I think that it's a little more accessible these days (the book was published in 1991) and my parents were actually lucky enough to visit on a cruise last year, but it is so remote that it requires a special trip and I can't see me making it there any time soon!

I'm also inspired to hike the Appalachian Trail after reading A Walk in the Woods, I'm not sure it's a realistic goal and you do need to set aside a good amount of time, not to mention equipment, but maybe I could try part of it one day!

Mount Everest

This is one that I think is very unlikely to happen, but after reading Above All Things by Tanis Rideout I developed a sudden interested in Mount Everest, and even started researching how one goes about climbing it. I quickly realised that it wasn't something I was going to manage. Especially after I followed up my reading with Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which is a personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster when a major storm claimed the lives of eight climbers. So I've accepted that I'm not going to climb it, but wouldn't it be amazing to at least visit Base Camp?!

I'd love to hear what books have inspired your travels, I'm always looking for some new reading!

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