One of the things that inspired the wanderlust that led to my Grand Adventure was, of course, books. Growing up, I read plenty of fiction set in other parts of the world — maybe I’ll blog about that another time. But I also devoured autobiographies and memoirs by people who had travelled or lived in places far from their homes. Here are a few of them…
- Touch the Dragon by Karen Connelly. As a teenager, Connelly spent a year in Thailand — living with a Thai family and studying the language. This is her story of that time. She’s also a poet, so the memoir is full of evocative details. (She later spent time in Spain, detailed in a second memoir, One Room in a Castle.)
- Call Mama Doctor by Louise Jilek-Aall. Not exactly a travel memoir, but deserving of an honourable mention, this is the story of a young European woman doctor working in remote parts of East Africa, and the people she met along the way.
- All in the Same Boat by Fiona McCall and Paul Howard. This family built a boat in their backyard, then sailed around the world with two small children. They do a great job balancing personal tales with the history of the places they visit, and there are maps and photos as well. (They’ve also written a sequel about the later part of their voyage, Still in the Same Boat.)
- Solo: Writers on Pilgrimage, edited by Katherine Govier. A collection of short pieces by writers talking about solo journeys they have made. Travelling solo (which I’ve done) can be very intense and also very rewarding, and it’s fascinating to hear the differing experiences.
Also worth mentioning are the fabulous collections of women’s travel writing put out by Travelers’ Tales.
You might notice that all my examples are older — I haven’t read much travel writing lately. Here’s where you come in. Do you have a favourite travel writer, or perhaps a favourite biography of an intrepid wandering soul? Please share!