I’m often surprised at how wanderlust suddenly hits me. From movies to conversations or even food, the drive to grab my backpack and go wander is often difficult to fight. When I look back at my childhood trying to find out what might have started it all, it’s often books that come to my mind.
Here is a selection of three books that definitely gave me the travel bug and triggered long-lasting obsessions for some places.
I) City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende
Sent off to NYC to live with his grandmother while his mum faces cancer treatment, Alexander Cold has no idea of what is awaiting him. Kate, his eccentric grandma reporter for a magazine, embarks him on an investigation through the Amazon rainforest to find what locals call the Beast.
City of the Beasts takes us through an epic adventure in the heart of the Amazon. Deep friendships, unexplored wilderness, and spiritism are all brought to us by Chilean author Isabel Allende.
This book is surely the one that made me fall in love with Amazonia. Both the difficulties faced by the characters to reach it, the amazing wildlife described, and the quest of Alexander to find his spirit animal completely won me over.
It was one of these books that I just couldn’t close before having reached the very end of it. Well researched, it made me very curious about Amazonian culture and the concept of animal spirit. If you want to be transported to the Amazon in an intense quest, this book is definitely for you.
II. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Behind this intriguing title hides a curious story. While London emerges from WWII, writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next subject. An unexpected letter from a man living in Guernsey is going to set up a series of correspondence between Juliet and various members of a literary club called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
After a few letters, Juliet decides to head to the island to meet her new friends and falls in love with the place. Through the description of the island landscapes and living conditions, I have to say that Juliet managed to make me fall in love with the place as well! The book left me with the certainty that I had to go explore Guernsey one day.
This book is proof that reading can definitely broaden our horizons and give us the will to see what is described through her own eyes. I had never really given a thought about going there before but after reading the book, Guernsey is now definitely on my travel wish list.
III. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
From Oxford to the far North, the brave and young Lyra will take you on an epic adventure. When her friend Roger goes missing among many other children, Lyra decides to do everything in her power to get him back. Her trip will take her from Gypsy boats to talking armoured bears and she will face serious threats across the way.
Brilliantly written, this book is a chef-d’oeuvre of children’s literature. Philip Pullman creates an entire world filled with daemons, witches, and multi-faceted villains. All the steps of Lyra’s journey are described in such a way that I felt like I was living it all while reading the book.
The vivid description of this slightly different Oxford left me curious to discover the real one while the scene of the Aurora Borealis left me in deep awe. In terms of traveling means, I have to admit that Lyra got me jealous: flying over the far north in an air balloon and running on the back of an armoured bear sounded like a pretty cool way to explore the region!