We’ve all been meaning to do more reading, and now we’ve finally been given the time to let our imaginations run wild with each turn of a new page. We’ve collaborated with some of the most inspiring travel influencers to bring you the best travel books that transport you from your couch to faraway lands. Whether you’re the type to devour a novel or flick through picturesque coffee table books, there’s something for everyone looking for a mental escape.
Fruit of the Drunken Tree – Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Set in Bogota during infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar’s reign, Fruit of the Drunken Tree follows the story of Chula and her mother’s maid Petrona as they become entangled in a web of secrecy. Inspired by the author’s own life, Fruit of the Drunken Tree is a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.
Recommended by Fredrika Akander from @fakander, a Melbourne based Swedish influencer & yoga instructor with a Master of Science in Inclusive Development.
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
With profound empathy and radiant generosity, Elizabeth Gilbert offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks readers to embrace their curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows them how to tackle what they most love, and how to face down what they most fear. Whether you’re looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in your work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse your everyday life with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
Recommended by Sydney and Davis from @the_escape_artists, an American travel and creator couple.
“It opened our hearts to our individual creative process. We learned that creativity doesn’t need to be fear driven, and that curiosity alone can lead to beautiful things.”
The Why Cafe – John Strelecky
In a small cafe in the middle of nowhere, John is at a crossroads. Intent only on refuelling before moving along on his road trip, he finds sustenance of an entirely different kind. The cafe menu lists three questions all diners are encourage to consider: Why are you here? Do you fear death? Are you fulfilled? With this food for thought and the guidance of three people he meets at the cafe, John embarks on a journey of self-discovery that takes him from the executive suites of the advertising world to the surf of Hawaii’s coastline.
Recommended by Debie Flügge from @debiflue, travel influencer and author of ‘Living Healthy Every Day‘.
“We live in a society where the vast majority of people work a steady job with decent benefits. However, is this what people really want? This is what the book is all about, questioning your current lifestyle and what you want to do with your life!”
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Coelho tells a story of a young shepherd named Santiago who has a dream of finding his treasure and therefore travels to the Egyptian pyramids to find it. On his journey, Santiago learns to never give up on his dreams because he realizes that it is not only about the end goal as unexpected treasures lie in his journey.
Recommended by Dimag Ozgum from @vacationwolf, entrepreneur, creator and travel influencer who teaches others how to master their freedom.
“The Alchemist is a masterpiece by Paulo Coelho, reminding us that we all have a purpose in life and if we pursue our purpose, we will find treasures in our journey as the journey will be the very first thing that will transform us into better beings. It feels more like sitting around a fire listening to an ancient story being told rather than reading a book.”
Where To Go When – DK Eyewitness
Showcasing the most amazing places in the world and the best time of year to visit them, this simply stunning book will have you reaching for your passport in seconds. Combining an inspiring narrative with sumptuous photography, Where to Go When brings to life over 100 destinations across the globe – discover when to explore Costa Rica’s rainforests, journey into the clouds in Nepal, sail between Croatia’s cypress-clad islands, or gaze at the saw-toothed crags of Canada’s Rocky Mountains.
Recommended by Becky van Dijk from @beckyvandijk, travel blogger and founder of @WeAreTravelGirls, @TravelGirlsGetaways and The Blogger Course.
“It’s a visually stunning book that transports you to beautiful destinations no matter the time of year. It’s the perfect travel inspiration book to flip through from home and plan your next adventure!”
What Would Boudicca Do? – Elizabeth Foley
Elizabeth Foley laments that in What Would Boudicca Do? that it’s time to start channelling the spiky superwomen of history and conquer the modern world. It’s time to turn to women like Mae West and Agatha Christie, Hypatia and Cleopatra, Coco Chanel and Cixi. In this irreverent guide they will help you figure out how to cope with impostor syndrome, dispatch a love rat, stand up for yourself, get politically engaged, kill it at work, and trounce FoMo. What Would Boudicca Do? will make you fired-up and ready for anything.
Recommended by Sarah Eichhorn from @josieloves, who is sharing her love for fashion and travel on www.josieloves.de.
“It sums up how some of the most remarkable women in history from all over the world (Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo or Cleopatra to name just a few) solved everyday problems. An inspiring and entertaining book.”
Last Days of Summer – Akila Berjaoui
Photographer Akila Berjaoui shows how her love for the beach is inextricably linked with her artistic vision. Akila Berjaoui’s incredibly sensual photographs often feature sand, sun, water―or a combination of all three. In her first book, this highly sought-after fashion photographer, armed with her favourite old analogue cameras, takes us to breathtaking seaside locations, from her hometown of Sydney, Australia, to the bathing hotspots of Italy, France, and Brazil.
Recommended by Danielle Greentree from @travel_a_little_luxe, a content creator with a love for luxury travel.
“I get lost in her sunkissed pages of the perfect life, seaside on the Amalfi Coast, Capri and beyond.”
Eleven Minutes – Paulo Coelho
Eleven Minutes is the story of Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that “love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer…” A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune. Maria’s despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness or risking everything to find her own “inner light”.
Recommended by Sebastian Schmidt from @sebastian.schmidt, a German language & literature teacher and blogger with a passion for interior, fashion and travel.
“Paulo Coelho tells of (more or less everyday) problems packed in with wisdom and the readers recognize themselves in them: with their weaknesses and fears as well as with their longings and dreams.”
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-grey eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men’s solicitude and the money that goes with it.
Recommended by Zowie Palliaer from @zowiepalliaer, a travel writer, digital creator and commercial model.
“This book takes me on an imaginative journey from pre-war Japan to post-war New York, from a young girl finding her way in the world to a wise woman who’s been through a heck of a lot to get where she is. Memoirs of Geisha is sometimes confronting but always inspiring.”
A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
In A New Earth, Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence.
Recommended by Rodiney Santiago from @rodineysantiago, a Brazilian TV personality and model turned mindfulness advocate.
“A New Earth teaches you to stay positive whilst dropping the unhelpful filters we have personally constructed from our religious culture and truly connect with the source. It encourages us to go beyond just our ideas and just our religions.”
THE ASIA COLLECTIVE’S SELECTION OF THE BEST TRAVEL BOOKS
My Friend Anna – Rachel DeLoache Williams
Former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams has written her first book, My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress. This is her shocking account of how she became friends with con artist Anna Delvey and was scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars. Tales of expensive dinners at the Michelin starred French fine dining restaurant Le Coucou in Manhattan, cocktails at Soho’s trendy 11 Howard Library bar, an all-expenses-paid trip to Marrakech’s palatial five-star hotel La Mamounia bring the story to life.
Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman
New York Times best seller and now a major motion picture starring Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name is a compelling story of unexpected and all-encompassing romance. It is a beautifully written tale of a summer of curiosity and deep intimacy shared between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the breathtaking Italian Riviera.
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah, the brilliant comic and host of “The Daily Show” or “The Daily Social Distancing Show” as he is now referring to it as, tells his story of growing up during South Africa’s infamous apartheid era. Born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison, Trevor spent much of his early years inside the home, in an attempt by his mother to shield him from the government. How does one make their way in a world that they were never meant to legally exist? Born a Crime is honest, eye opening and yet incredibly witty and humorous.
Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
Hot Milk follows a mother and daughter, Rose and Sofia, who embark on a journey to rural and rugged Andalusia to visit a Spanish clinic in search of a medical cure for Rose’s paralysis, which confines her to a wheelchair and limits Sofia’s freedoms. The story explores such topics as hypochondria, dependency, and accountability, awakening sexuality and ultimately what it means to truly live.
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
A thinly-veiled memoir, Shantaram is the story of Lim, an escaped Australian convict who flees to the vibrant city of Bombay in order to escape into the protection of the region’s criminal underworld. At over 900 pages, the fascinating Shantaram is meticulously detailed and brimming with twists and turns.
Red Notice – Bill Browder
Red Notice is certainly a case of “fact is stranger than fiction”, this standout political thriller is based upon Bill Browder’s life in high finance in unruly and treacherous Russia. Browder made his fortune heading the largest investment fund in Russia after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Rocked and devastated by the murder of his noble tax attorney, a father also, he embarks on dangerous lengths to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. This bombshell of a book is one of the best exposés that we have read in a very long
Normal People – Sally Rooney
Normal People follows the intricacy of love and relationships between Connell and Marianne, throughout their time at school and then at the historic and imposing Trinity College in Dublin. Set to be released as a twelve part series for the BBC, the story explores the magnetic pull that can exist between two “normal people” and the effects that social statuses have on our relationships. The tale is set amongst the backdrops of rural Ireland, the big bustling city of Dublin and idyllic Italy.
Looking for a new soundtrack to go with your isolation downtime? Our #HouseHoliday playlist in collaboration with some of the world’s biggest travel influencers and DJs is guaranteed to lift your spirits and put pep in your step.