this? Our dreams have the power to inspire and motivate, showing us the infinite possibilities that come with travel. And once you’ve settled on a destination, the planning stage allows you to shape your holiday into something that reflects your own personal style.
Perhaps no other medium captures the beauty of the world and the excitement of travel, or the possibilities that are open to us when travelling, quite like a travel book. Whether you’re looking for resources to help plan a trip, or simply want to be transported to a place through images or the written word, then you’re in luck, because books have the power to bring a destination alive.
The firsthand account, told in a personal but entertaining way, allows us to imagine what it might be like to live, work, rest or play in a place. Often times, readers can be taken on a tour of a city or destination, even when the book doesn’t specifically relate to travel itself. Even a fictional story can lead us on a journey through place and time.
Armistead Maupin takes his readers on a fantastic journey through 1970s San Francisco in his fictional Tales of the City series.
Bill Bryson captures Australia and the spirit of the outback with humour and wit in such works as In a Sunburned Country and Down Under.
A few years ago I came across a book by an Australian writer named Janelle McCulloch. The book, called La Vie Parisienne – Looking for Love and The Perfect Lingerie, takes readers on a trip through Paris. McCulloch attempts to create a life for herself in the French capital, and while I myself wasn’t looking for love, and am not the least bit interested in lingerie, the book nevertheless offered an insightful glimpse into the life of a young urban professional trying to make it in the glamourous world of Paris. Through light-hearted anecdotes, McCulloch takes us on a journey of sorts, through intimate cafes and trendy bars, along broad avenues and past the famous, and not so famous landmarks of a city that inhabits the dreams of many.
While the internet has to a great extent supplanted the traditional guide book, there are still many reasons why a trusty guide book can be useful. For me, one of the best on offer is the Lonely Planet guide. No matter where you’re looking at travelling, from the biggest city to the most remote beach or trail, there’s a chance Lonely Planet will have an edition related to that destination. From where to go and what to see, to how to get around and where to eat, sleep, shop or party, these guide books break down a destination in ways that make you want to be there, to discover for yourself the many fascinating elements of that destination.
Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words. Nothing captures the imagination quite like a beautiful image or inspiring photograph. In fact, imagery is often what captures our attention first. It should come as no surprise then, that the ‘coffee table book,’ would be used to highlight the best of a destination. As it turns out, no matter where you want to go, or what you want to see, chances are there’s a photo guide or coffee table book filled with images to enjoy. Take in the colours and textures of a Parisian bakery window, be transported to the art deco capitals of Chicago or Miami or visit the dramatic natural landscapes of Hawaii and its glowing volcanoes, or Africa and its wildlife filled plains. What better way to learn about your favourite destination than through a book dedicated to photography?