Travel Books to Read For When You Can’t Leave Home

A small globe sitting on top of an open book. There are more books beneath and behind the globe.

In today’s trying times, many people have found themselves spending significantly more time at home. Travel plans and events have been postponed or cancelled all around the globe.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to learn about and experience other cultures. We’ve written about how to explore the world through virtual museum tours and baking. Reading is also a fantastic way to explore the world, and to reflect on your own culture and identity. Here are five books to check out:

For those who want to be a better traveler: “The Curious Traveler” by David Livermore

“Harnessing the power of curiosity will improve the way you travel. Based on decades of research on curiosity and cultural intelligence, this book explores the key findings behind curiosity and exemplifies it through exploring the dilemmas faced when traveling abroad. These include quandaries like Why do people always cut in line here? Why do they eat the fish eye? and Why would someone give me the wrong directions instead of just telling me they don’t know? In addition, Livermore provides practical travel tips such as how to exchange money, travel on a budget, and deal with jet lag.”

For public transit lovers: “Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure” by Monisha Rajesh

“Packing up her rucksack – and her fiancé, Jem – Monisha Rajesh embarks on an unforgettable adventure that takes her from London's St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. The journey is one of constant movement and mayhem, as the pair strike up friendships and swap stories with the hilarious, irksome and ultimately endearing travellers they meet on board, all while taking in some of the earth's most breathtaking views.”

For those who explore through food: “A Moveable Feast,” edited by Don George

“From bat on the island of Fais to chicken on a Russian train to barbecue in the American heartland, from mutton in Mongolia to couscous in Morocco to tacos in Tijuana - on the road, food nourishes us not only physically, but intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually too. It can be a gift that enables a traveller to survive, a doorway into the heart of a tribe, or a thread that weaves an indelible tie; it can be awful or ambrosial - and sometimes both at the same time. Celebrate the riches and revelations of food with this 38-course feast of true tales set around the world.”

For history buffs: “Epic Continent: Adventures in the Great Stories of Europe” by Nicholas Jubber

“Reaching back into the ancient and medieval eras in which these defining works were produced, and investigating their continuing influence today, Epic Continent explores how matters of honour, fundamentalism, fate, nationhood, sex, class and politics have preoccupied the people of Europe across the millennia. In these tales soaked in blood and fire, Nicholas Jubber discovers how the world of gods and emperors, dragons and water-maidens, knights and princesses made our own: their deep impact on European identity, and their resonance in our turbulent times.”

For graphic novel lovers: “Shenzen: A Travelogue from China” by Guy Delisle

“Shenzhen is entertainingly compact with Guy Delisle’s observations of life in urban southern China, sealed off from the rest of the country by electric fences and armed guards. With a dry wit and a clean line, Delisle makes the most of his time spent in Asia overseeing outsourced production for a French animation company. By translating his fish-out-of-water experiences into accessible graphic novels, Delisle skillfully notes the differences between Western and Eastern cultures, while also conveying his compassion for the simple freedoms that escape his colleagues in the Communist state.”

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