Kobo and G Adventures continue our monthly series of reading lists with a bit of a different angle this month. Instead of selecting one of the world’s greatest destinations, we’ve decided to feature some of the best books having to do with solo travel. Have a look at the full list here. Many of them are travelogues and there are some fiction pieces as well, but what they all have in common is a quest taken by one person to learn, to live or to love. Take a look at some of these pieces and order one up on your Kobo. Your adventurous spirit will only be too grateful.
Travels with Charley is a famous travelogue written by author John Steinbeck. In it, he recounts his 10,000-mile journey around the United States in 1960 with Charley, his wife’s standard poodle. It’s been said Steinbeck knew he was nearing the end of his life when he worked on this book and wanted to see the US one more time before he was too sick to make the journey. He spends the book having mental conversations with Charley and real ones with the people he meets throughout the country. This is the best of American travel writing written by one of America’s best-ever writers, and was published mere weeks before Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World by Daniel Baylis is another travelogue written about an undertaking we all dream about sometimes – to leave everything you know and travel the world. At the age of 30, Baylis decided to set aside his regular life for a year to tour the globe, meeting people and offering his assistance in volunteer positions in places like Scotland, Peru, and Israel. Traveller is the ideal story of connecting with others – a tale of inspiration for anyone even remotely considering a tour of his or her own. Be warned. This one will really make you want to go away.
Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach is a travelogue written by a woman who decides to travel throughout Europe alone for a year. Steinbach writes of the friendships she makes on her grand tour as well as the feeling of what it really means to travel alone. She speaks of the desire to travel as an independent woman, and yet what she reveals is the human need to make personal connections with the people she meets. Anyone who has travelled alone for any amount of time will recognize the struggle of this dichotomy.
There’s something about solo travel that’s appealing; leaving everything behind to travel far away and learn things about yourself sounds exciting and life-changing. And what so many solo travel stories have in common is the desire within the traveller to learn something about his or herself. It’s the need to find one’s self that’s usually the impetus for going alone to the other side of the world. Whether or not you have this need, I think you’ll discover when you start to read some of these stories.