The following post is a guest post written by the lovely Caroline from Culture Coverage. In the midst of my hiatus while traveling, I thought this would be a fitting piece to post now! Enjoy!
One of the most beautiful things about books is their power to transport you to another place, time or even universe. Through the adventures of others, we can vicariously explore worlds that often don’t even exist. However, unfortunately sharing these epic journeys with our favorite characters often gives us our own case of itchy feet.
These five enchanting novels are not only excellent reads; they are also sure to give you severe wanderlust. Encapsulating both the spirit of travel, with an actual physical journey, each of these books is sure to have you packing your bags, buying tickets and jetting off into the horizon.
1. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Pitched as a story about following your dreams, this world-famous novel by Paulo Coelho is a true masterpiece. Easy to read and beautifully crafted, it explores what happens when you give into the unknown and allow the universe to guide you.
Santiago is a young sheep farmer in Andalucia, the southernmost region of Spain, whose is told by a fortune-teller that his recurring dreams are encouraging him to search for treasure in the pyramids of Egypt. Galvanized by the prophecy, he sells his sheep and begins on his journey, but things fall apart as he is robbed soon after entering North Africa.
Lost, hopeless, broke and with nowhere to go, Santiago is forced to adapt to his surroundings, and the journey this takes him on is far more profound and life-changing than anything he could have experienced otherwise. This book is a best-seller worldwide, and on most ‘best travel books’ lists, so if you haven’t checked it out already, I recommend you buy it immediately!
2. Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
Following the internal and external journey of the protagonist, Kvothe, this fantasy epic has been inspiring young adults to travel since its release in 2007. This first installment of the “Kingkiller Chronicles” is a beautiful metaphor for how traveling helps us find ourselves.
Growing up on the road all his life, Kvothe is used to drifting from place to place and spends a lot of time reflecting on lessons each journey has taught him. Split into two narratives—one past and one present—we get to see how these important observations have helped shape his character and ultimately influenced his life.
This book is also a fantastic traveling companion, with each short story within the main narrative providing succinct and relatable reading when on the road yourself. However, if you are planning on buying the e-book on your Kindle, while overseas, I would recommend ensuring you protect your credit card details.
Home or abroad, if you aren’t inspired to set off on your own quest after reading this epic adventure, I don’t know if you ever will be!
3. The Wind Singer – William Nicholson
Part one of the “Wind on Fire” trilogy reads like a cross between “the Hunger Games” and one of Tolkien’s sagas. Set in the fictional city of Aramanth, where a class system based on skill and merit divides citizens into varying castes and very few dare to think bigger.
However, the Hath family have other ideas, and when their rebellious youngest daughter finds herself face to face with the Emperor, she discovers that corruption in the city reaches to the very highest levels. Armed with a map from her unlikely new friend, Kestrel and companions leave the city to find the evil that plagues her homeland and bring back the magical voice of the wind singer.
Again, the joy of the story is in the unexpected events and people that the characters meet along the way; the true freedom to explore that full-time travel affords you is so beautifully encapsulated that it’ll have you itching for adventure in no time.
4. Journey to the River Sea – Eva Ibbotson
The only book from this universe to make the list, this beautiful tale by Eva Ibbotson follows a young orphan as she’s plucked from her familiar British surroundings and is sent to live in the Amazon.
Set in the early twentieth century, the journey is a representation of freedom—an escape from the stiff, structured English society of the 1900s. The transformation that travel brings is perfectly summarized through the emotional growth of the young girl’s governess, culminating in a ceremonial discard of her bra into the river itself.
A beautiful account of another culture and cleverly written to be filled with as much intrigue, excitement and emotional turbulence for the reader as for the characters themselves, this wonderfully relatable children’s story is sure to inspire wanderlust in people of all ages.
5. Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman
Perhaps one of the most famous young adult book series of all times, the “His Dark Materials” trilogy follows the young and naïve Lyra Belacqua. All her life she had been content playing with her dæmon, a personal side-kick that all in this universe have, around the vast grounds of Jordan College, Oxford.
However, in this first installment of the series, one of Lyra’s contemporaries goes missing, and her reality is transformed forever. Along with friends and foes, she ventures northward to the alien landscape of the Arctic in search of the Northern Lights and the wonders that are held beyond them.
An epic tale of adventure both in this world and through the very fabric of our universe, this book is a beautiful testimony to how even the most unlikely of candidates can become avid and world-wise explorers. Although we can never replicate Lyra’s journey, it inspires us to visit some of the most northern reaches of our world.
Any more books that should be on this list? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your ideas.
About the Author: Caroline is an entertainment and security blogger for Culture Coverage. She loves books of all kinds and has been reading since she was very small. As an avid traveler, she knows there’s no greater companion than a good book.