#1 WHEN TRAVELLING TO… INDIA
If there was ever a book that stays with you for years after reading, Shantaram is it. The author, Gregory David Roberts, certainly has a way with words as he tells his personal story – a man, a heroin junkie, a prison escapee who finds himself fleeing to India. His vivid portrayal of life in Bombay has you wanting to jump on the next plane and immerse yourself into his world.
“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is an universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.”
#2 WHEN TRAVELLING TO… THAILAND
“Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is the generation that travels the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite & never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience— And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.”
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, make sure you take The Beach with you. Written by Alex Garland, it’s the story of a young backpacker’s quest for adventure. Tired of the regular tourist routes, he sets off in search for an isolated beach perfect combination of I sat on Maya Beach in Thailand reading it and felt as though I was transported into the story, an extra character to add to the mystery. So if you don’t do anything else while you’re there, make sure you travel to ‘The Beach’ (Maya Beach, which is the setting for the Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘The Beach’) and read The Beach while you’re there. It’s definitely paradise.
#3 WHEN TRAVELLING TO… ALASKA
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is the true story of Christopher McCandless, the man who gave away his $25,000 college fund to Oxfam and began travelling across the United States, before hitchhiking to the Stampede Trail in Alaska. The novel tells the story of his journey after the author was able to retrace his steps up until his final days.
“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
#4 WHEN TRAVELLING TO… INDONESIA
The International Best Seller, Eat Pray Love, is Elizabeth Gilbert’s personal story of heartbreak, love, language and spiritual enlightenment, spanned across three countries – Italy, India and Indonesia.
“I have my own set of survival techniques. I am patient. I know how to pack light. But my one might travel talent is that I can make friends with anybody. I can make friends with the dead. If there isn’t anyone else around to talk to, I could probably make friends with a four-foot-tall pile of sheetrock. That is why I’m not afraid to travel to the most remote places in the world, not if there are human beings there to meet. People asked me before I left, “do you have friends there?’ and I would just shake my head no, thinking to myself, But I will.”
#5 WHEN TRAVELLING TO… ITALY
When author Frances Mayes’ life is turned upside down from a cheating husband, she embarks on a journey of self discovery, one that sees her impulse buying a Tuscan villa. The novel is a journey into the simple life, filled with renovations, recipes and romantic descriptions of life under the Tuscan sun.
“Whatever a guidebook says, wether or not you leave somewhere with a sense of the place is entirely a matter of smell and instinct.”