Sure, travel guides are helpful, but there might be a better option.
Wheelchair travelers have always loved books that take them to new destinations. In confinement, with closed borders, they were a consolation: there was no other way to travel than in his head. But now that we are starting to open up to the world very carefully, travel diaries can whet our appetites for new experiences away from home.
By “travel diaries” I mean more than travel guides, however useful they may be. If you are looking for something complete you cannot pass Lonely Planet’s The travel diary, which features the best of 230 countries – all countries in the world approved by the United Nations.
If you are nervous about going abroad and prefer to travel to Australia, you will enjoy your trip more with some understanding of the world’s oldest culture. Marcia Langton’s Welcome to the country is a different guide: it explores Indigenous languages ââand customs, history, Indigenous title, art and dance, storytelling and cultural awareness and etiquette for visitors.
But sometimes the nicest way to choose or plan a possible trip is to read what the writers have been up to in those places, taking into account the fictitious license. My best preparation for the unlikely combination of Venice and Varanasi, for example, was Geoff Dyer’s sexy, horrible, and hilarious novel. Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi. Don’t do what its narrator did, or you’ll end up being bothered and starving.
We love fearless storytellers, even when few of us would be bold enough to follow in their footsteps – or in Ken Haley’s case, wheelchair trails. This wildly courageous Australian won’t let a small handicap get in the way of his style as he travels the world and records his adventures. His latest book, The one that got away, sees him driving around the Caribbean during the COVID era, encountering a strange flight, a health problem, a hurricane and an unexpectedly active volcano. Haley is very observant, funny and courageous.
The intrepid heroes are all there The independents list of the best travel books that explore more than just a destination, with recommendations for Jon Krakauer In thin air, about a disaster on Mount Everest; two African trips, Levison Wood’s Walking on the Nile and Waypoints: a journey on foot by Robert Martineau; and for female travelers, Mia Kankimaki’s The women I think of at night.
The independent also recommends Bill Bryson’s classic 2000 book Down Under: Travels To A Sunburnt Country. It’s an extremely entertaining read which is also a bit annoying for Australians, as Bryson made such a brief visit and sometimes seems to be content to trot the clichÃ©s, although he always put his own humorous imprint on it.
The trip can be an invitation to the tales of wild and unlikely travelers, which appear in Antoni Jach’s book Travel companions, a novel very loosely inspired by his solitary explorations of Europe in the 1990s and the travelers he met along the way. The realistic problems of travel – delays, strikes, appalling weather – rub shoulders with contemporary philosophical confessions and brilliantly surreal fairy tales with tantalizing titles, such as “The Tale of the Corporate Raider, the Glamorous Stockbroker & the Talking Parrot”.