Tag Archives: #Travel

Books That Inspire Your Inner Explorer

The weather is getting warmer now that it is spring here in Australia, and it’s time to start planning our summer vacations…or next winter’s if you like running away from the cool weather…

Here’s a few titles that are inspiring us to pack a suitcase and start exploring…

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It’s an oldie but a goodie, and has inspired many of us to look at our life experiences through a new lens.

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different and far more satisfying than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognising opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

 

 

 

 

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

My Dad put me onto Bill Bryson when I was travelling around Europe and while I was a bit hesitant at first, I laughed out loud so hard that everyone on the boat to Naxos turned around…trust me, it’s worth dipping your toe into a previously considered ‘something-for-Dad-author’.

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognise any more. Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

 

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman

Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer who spurs Rachel on to a yearlong odyssey that takes her to three continents, fills her life with newfound friends, and gives birth to a previously unrealised passion for adventure. As her journey takes her to Australia and South America, Rachel discovers and embraces her love of travel and unlocks more truths about herself than she ever realised she was seeking. Along the way, the erstwhile good girl finally learns to do something she’s never done before: simply live for the moment.

 

Wallpaper* City Guide – New York by The Editors of Wallpaper*

Wallpaper City Guides not only suggest where to stay, eat, and drink, but what the tourist passionate about design might want to see, whether he/she has a week or 24 hours in the city. Featured are up and coming areas, landmark buildings in an ‘Architour’, design centres, and the best shops to buy items unique to that city. Wallpaper City Guides present travellers with a fast-track ticket to the chosen location. The edited guides offer the best, most exciting, and the most beautiful of that particular city.  As well as looking beautiful, the guides are expertly designed with function as a priority, and have tabbed sections so that readers can easily find the information they are looking for. The guides include rate and currency information, maps and a colour-coding system to help you navigate the different parts of the city. They are the ultimate combination of form and function.

Actually they have a whole host of city guides…come and check them out here.

 

The Riviera Set by Mary S. Lovell

This is the story of the group of people who lived, partied, bed-hopped and politicked at the Chateau de l’Horizon near Cannes, over the course of forty years from the time when Coco Chanel made southern French tans fashionable in the twenties to the death of the playboy Prince Aly Khan in 1960. At the heart of this was the amazing Maxine Elliott, the daughter of a fisherman from Connecticut, who built the beautiful art deco Chateau and brought together the likes of Noel Coward, the Aga Khan, the Windsors and two very saucy courtesans, Doris Castlerosse and Daisy Fellowes, who set out to be dangerous distractions to Winston Churchill as he worked on his journalism and biographies during his ‘wilderness years’ in the thirties. After the War the story continued as the Chateau changed hands and Prince Aly Khan used it to entertain the Hollywood set, as well as launch his seduction of and eventual marriage to Rita Hayworth. Mary Lovell tells her story of high society behaviour with tremendous brio and relish.

Enjoy!

Celebrating Readers: Top Travel Books

What’s not to like about travel?  New sights, sounds, tastes, beautiful scenery, different cultures, tranquility or excitement (or both)… even if drop-everything-and-go travelling is not an option right now, it is still fun to indulge in some armchair travel and plan a dream trip.  Whether you like your travel glamorous or rugged, by car or in a plane, there’s a great read waiting here for you!

Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places by National Geographic

Destinations of a Lifetime is a stunning coffee table book that inspires wonder and daydreams.  As befits a National Geographic publication, the photography is amazing – whether it is of a rugged landscape, or a rustic market stall.  These 225 Amazing Places have been chosen from around the world for their natural beauty, architecture and cultural history.  From wildlife reserves to mountain ranges to palaces and even train stations, they remind us that the world is a big and amazing place. Each profile also includes travel tips and how to visit places “like a local”.

Slim Aarons: La Dolce Vita by Slim Aarons

Slim Aarons built his career on photographing “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”.  La Dolce Vita is a collection of his society portraits – chronicling the lives of aristocrats and celebrities for over 50 years.  We see his subjects at home and at play all over Italy – in villas, vineyards, palazzos and on yachts.  The stunning scenery provides perfect backdrops for elegant displays of sumptuous wealth – Slim Aaron’s vision of La Dolce Vita is never crass, but nostalgic and effortlessly glamorous.

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

Twenty years after the journey immortalised in Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson travels around Britain again, to see what has changed – and, as he cheekily reveals, because his agent wants him to write a sequel.  Time has not diminished his love for his “Small Island”, but has enriched it with authority – he makes a passionate plea here, as a seasoned campaigner for preserving the landscape and heritage of rural England. Bill Bryson also enjoys showing his grumpier side as he derides the bad manners and crassness so evident nowadays.  The Road to Little Dribbling is another perfect blend of affable humour, naughty wit and eye for the ridiculous that Bill Bryson fans know and love.

Walking the Camino: a Modern Pilgrimage to Santiago by Tony Kevin

Travel is usually about external stimulation such as new sights and sounds, but can also promote inward contemplation – particularly when walking alone on a long trek. Tony Kevin, an overweight, disaffected retired diplomat, does just that when he treks across Spain along the Camino – the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. During his eight-week journey he experiences physical and mental exhaustion, picturesque  scenery, ancient tradition and spiritual nourishment.  Walking the Camino offers fascinating insights about why the Camino is still relevant and appealing – and in fact is experiencing a revival, travelled each year by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from many different nations and creeds.

The Route 66 Encyclopaedia by Jim Hinckley

Route 66 is one of the world’s iconic travel routes, and Jim Hinckley has the wealth of knowledge to help guide us along it.  True to its name, The Route 66 Encyclopaedia is jam-packed with information, photographs and memorabilia about the history, landmarks, and personalities associated with this road. It is a guidebook, a cultural history as well as a tribute.  With alphabetically-arranged entries, Jim Hinckley has created the definitive reference for “the Main Street of America”.

Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo by Matthew Amster-Burton

You may already know Matthew Amster-Burton and his daughter Iris from the book Hungry Monkey, a chronicle of Matthew’s attempt at turning little Iris into an adventurous eater.  A few years on, Iris is six – still an idiosyncratic eater – and Matthew takes his whole family to Tokyo for a month.  Based out of a tiny apartment, Matthew and his family immerse themselves in the daily life (and food) of this often impenetrable city.  Part guidebook and part diary, I find Pretty Good Number One both endearing and inspirational, because it shows that travelling with children can be delicious and fun.  Cool fact: one fan took Pretty Good Number One as his only guidebook on his Tokyo trip – and ate magnificently.


Holidays in Hell
and Holidays in Heck by P. J. O’Rourke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the hard-living foreign correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine (who knew that they would have one!?), P. J. O’Rourke filed despatches from troublespots around the world, including Mexico, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.  These thought-provoking and hilarious pieces, published as Holidays in Hell, mash politics and pop culture with black comedy.  Holidays in Hell became an instant classic and a game-changer for travel writing.Fast-forward to the present, and P.J. O’Rourke, retired “sh*thole specialist”, now travels for leisure like everyone else.  In Holidays in Heck, let P.J.’s caustic wit and gonzo ways show you the unexpected horrors and hidden dangers of travelling to nice places.

Check out our recommended travel reads on our Pinterest board.

Finland – the true winter wonderland

Window ferns

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas….” This time of year is strongly associated with idyllic images of snowy landscapes, frosty breath, icy window ferns, winter woollies and steaming hot drinks. For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere these are the stuff of fairytales, but in places like Finland in Northern Europe, it is the norm.

I grew up in Finland and only recall one childhood Christmas without snow. Now I live in Melbourne (Australia) and have to make do with paper snowflakes such as these:

paper snowflakes

Visiting Finland

Winter is a great time of year to visit Finland as it really is the true winter wonderland. Here are just some ideas for what to see and do in Finland in winter:

Kemi Snow Castle

Kemi Snow Castle

For a true “Frozen” experience, you cannot go past the gigantic Snow Castle in Kemi. You can even stay there overnight in the Snow Hotel!

(Photo credit)

For more snow inspiration, check out these destinations and ideas.

 

Santa’s hut

cropped santa

For those who believe in the magic of Santa Claus (a.k.a. Father Christmas, or Joulupukki in Finnish); he welcomes you to visit his home near the Arctic Circle in Finland. He may be a little busy bringing cheer and happiness to children everywhere around Christmas time, but is more than happy to hear your Christmas wishes all year round.

 

 

Aurora Borealis – The Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis

The Northern Lights: Celestial Performances of the Aurora Borealis

If it is magic you are after, not much compares to the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis. They are visible on roughly 200 nights a year in Finnish Lapland and the further North you go, the better your chances of seeing them. You can learn more about it here or if you cannot quite justify the cost of flying to Lapland, this coffee table book has some stunning images:

 

 

Now before you book your tickets, here are some useful resources to help you scratch that travel bug bite and prepare for the trip!

Lonely Planet Finland

Finnish for your trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finnish DesignLiving in Finland

City Guide: Bali

Bali is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, friendly people and sense of adventure. Whether you’ve travelled to Bali, have it on your bucket list or are happy to explore it through books, here are our recommended Bali reads:

https-::covers.booko.info:300:GeckoGo to Sleep, Gecko!: A Balinese Folktale by Margaret Read MacDonald

The author of The Girl Who Wore Too Much retells the folktale of the gecko who complains to the village chief that the fireflies keep him awake at night but then learns that in nature all things are connected.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:BaliBalilicious – The Bali Diaries by Becky Wicks

She lifted the burqa on Dubai in Burqalicious. Now Becky Wicks turns her attention to Australia’s number one tourist destination: Bali. It seems to be the new in thing to find yourself these days even if you are not particularly lost.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:roughguideThe Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok by Lesley Reader

With full – colour throughout, clear maps and stunning photography, The Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok will ensure you make the most of these alluring islands, with insider tips on everything from indulgent spa retreats and fantastic shops, to the best hotels, restaurants and bars to suit every budget.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:balihouseA House in Bali by Colin McPhee

In the 1930s a young American composer heard some gramophone records of music of the land that forever changed his life. As a result, Colin McPhee lived for the day when he could travel and study the beautiful island of Bali, its people, culture, and music. His classic text written in the 1940s still remains the only literary narrative of the island by a classically trained musician, and this unique perspective allowed him to immerse himself in the people, and music of his beloved Bali. And in the end, he only left the island in 1938 as the threat of the second World War loomed over the Pacific. McPhee’s work is a landmark look at Bali’s distinctive gamelan tradition, and is now available again more than 50 years after it was written.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:100yearmanThe Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

After a long and eventful life Allan Karlsson is moved to a nursing home to await the inevitable. But his health refuses to fail and as his 100th birthday looms, a huge party is planned. Allan wants no part of it and decides to climb out the window… Charming and funny; a European publishing phenomenon.

 

City Guide: Rome

There is an Italian expression, Roma, non basta una vita, which means that for Rome, a lifetime is not enough to really know her. I visited Rome once, for a period of a few days but during that time I fell in love with this beautiful city. Aside from the obligatory touristy things like lining up for the Colosseum and throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain, it was simply walking the streets, gelato in hand that I loved. We are lucky we can bring Rome to life simply by reading a book. Here are our recommendations:

 

I, ClaudiusI, Claudius by Robert Graves

The emperor Claudius tells of his life during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula and the events that led to his rise to power in a classic novel reconstructing ancient Rome.

 

 

 

 

The Public Image by Muriel Sparkhttps-::covers.booko.info:300:97801

“All homage to Muriel Spark, the coolest writer ever to scald your liver and your lights” (The Washington Post). The Public Image, which the author has called “an ethical shocker,” provides a scalding the reader is unlikely to forget, particularly as it is so enjoyable.

 

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:978111The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Murder and romance, innocence and experience dominate this sinister novel set in mid-19th-century Rome. Three young American artists and their friend, an Italian count, find their lives irrevocably linked when one of them commits a violent crime of passion. Hawthorne’s final novel is “must reading” for its symbolic narrative of the Fall of Man.

 

 

Rome Tales by Hugh Shankland, Helen Constantinehttps-::covers.booko.info:300:978019

In ways no guide book can achieve, these twenty absorbing tales by Italian authors ranging from Boccaccio in the Middle Ages to contemporary new writers offer the delight of discovering and exploring one of the world’s most unique cities thorough a wide variety of individual lives and epochs.

 

 

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:9780143Pleasure by Gabrielle D’Annunzio

This new translation of D’Annunzio’s masterpiece, the first in more than one hundred years, restores what was considered too offensive to be included in the 1898 translation—some of the very scenes that are key to the novel’s status as a landmark of literary decadence.

 

 

New York: Books to inspire

Some people feel that they can only truly understand the essence of a city if they walk its streets themselves. This may be true, but you can also get a fantastic insight from books that feature design, history, the food and the people that belong to a particular city. Here is a selection of books that bring on wanderlust for New York (sigh).

 

Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton

https-::covers.booko.info:300:978125003882120150606

New York Sleeps by Christopher Thomas

https-::covers.booko.info:300:978379134234420150623

Gastropolis: Food & New York City by Annie Hauck-Lawson & Jonathon Deutsch

https-::covers.booko.info:300:978023113653220150623

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

https-::covers.booko.info:300:978022402291020150614

New York In Style: A Guide to the City’s Fashion, Design and Style by Janelle McCulloch

https-::covers.booko.info:300:978052286647620150611