Classic Travel Books

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Classic Travel Books

The Travels of Marco Polo, (1271-1295) Marco Polo
Also called "Book of the Marvels of the World"  or "Description of the World", in Italian "Il Milione" (lit. The Million, deriving from Polo's nickname "Emilione"), The Travels is a 13th - century travelogue written down by Rustichello da Pisa from stories told by Italian explorer Marco Polo, describing Polo's travels through Asia between 1271 and 1295, and his experiences at the court of Kublai Khan.

The Alchemist, (1988) Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is  one of the most famous book, well know by travelers. It follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to the pyramids of Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding a treasure there, meeting people and surmounting obstacle along the way. The book is evocative and full of awesome quotes about being.

On The Road, (1957) Jack Kerouac
The two main characters of the book are the narrator, Sal Paradise, and his friend Dean Moriarty, much admired for his carefree attitude and sense of adventure, a free-spirited maverick eager to explore all kicks and an inspiration and catalyst for Sal's travels.  The narrative takes place in the years 1947 to 1950, is full of Americana, marks a specific era in jazz history, and is largely autobiographical, Sal being the alter ego of the author and Dean standing for Neal Cassady.

The Little Prince, (1943) Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The narrator is a pilot that plane crashes in the Sahara, far from civilization. He has 8 days of water supply and must fix his airplane to be saved. In the middle of the desert, the narrator is unexpectedly greeted by a young boy who is nicknamed as "the little prince". The prince has golden hair, a lovable laugh, and will repeat questions until they are answered.

Candide : Or The Optimism, (1759) Voltaire
A young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow and painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting Leibnizian optimism outright, advocating a deeply practical precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best" in the "best of all possible worlds".

Shantaram, (2003) Gregory David Roberts
In 1978, Lindsay "Lin" Ford (pseudonym of Gregory David Roberts), a 24-year-old philosopher and revolutionary, became addicted to heroin when his marriage collapsed and he lost custody of his daughter. He is guilty of a series of robberies using a fake firearm. He becomes famous under the name of "Gentleman Bandit". He was sentenced to nineteen years in prison but escaped and spent ten of his fugitive years in Bombay. This is the beginning of a long journey of initiation, during which his life will be turned upside down. Doctor in a slum before joining the Mumbai mafia, Lin will know friendship, love but will also face treason and violence.

Into The Wild, (1996) Jon Krakauer
On September 6, 1992, Christopher McCandless' body was found inside an abandoned bus in Alaska. One year later, author Jon Krakauer retraced McCandless' steps during the two years between college graduation and his demise in Alaska. McCandless shed his legal name early in his journey, adopting the moniker "Alexander Supertramp". Krakauer interprets McCandless' intensely ascetic personality as possibly influenced by the writings of Henry David Thoreau and McCandless' favorite writer, Jack London.

This is maybe the book the most posted in travel book lists, thats is why it's here as well, in our classics !

Motorcycle Diaries, (1952) Ernesto Che Guevara
This memoir traces the early travels of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, then a 23-year-old medical student, and his friend Alberto Granado, a 29-year-old biochemist. Leaving Buenos Aires, Argentina, in January 1952 on the back of a sputtering single cylinder dubbed La Poderosa, they desired to explore the South America they only knew from books. During the formative odyssey Guevara is transformed by witnessing the social injustices of exploited mine workers, persecuted communists, ostracized lepers, and the tattered descendants of a once-great Inca civilization.

Africa Trek 1 & 2, (2011) Sonia & Alexandre Poussin
From Cape Town to Israel, the french couple Poussin crossed the continent from south to north through East Africa, traveling more than 14,000 km. They describe their experience and their feelings with the inhabitants of real Africa, very far from the tourist sites.

Around The World In 80 Days, (1873) Jules Verne
The novel tells the race around the world of an English gentleman, Phileas Fogg, who made the bet to achieve in eighty days. He is accompanied by Jean Passepartout, his French servant. The whole of the novel mixes travel story (traditional for Jules Verne) and scientific data like that used for the rebound of the fall of the novel.

The Adventures Of Tintin, (1929) Hergé
The Adventures of Tintin is a series of 24 comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. Both for kids and adults, Tintin makes you travel in all part of the globe, living great adventures.

These are just some classics selected by Exit Stamp but obviously there is much more classic travel books that will make you travel by reading. Let us know if you think a book is missing. We wanna hear from you !

If you already know these ones and want to discover other books and get a deeper reading to understand better the world we travel, please have a look at our Essentials Booklist where you will find archeological, social, historical and political stuff.

Tags: Culture Books
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