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World Book Day: our favourite travel reads
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World Book Day: our favourite travel reads

Ellena Morgan
By Ellena Morgan - 7 minute read

Love Home Swap's favourite travel reads

The Art of Travel - by Alain de Botton

With so many travel books telling us where to go, we can easily lose sight of the purpose behind travelling at all. The writer of ‘School of Life’, Botton’s ‘The Art of Travel’ takes a brutally honest look at why we travel and the elements of travel we don’t typically focus on (or even want to see). Talking in-depth about the little, often mundane moments in exploring the world, Botton is able to celebrate all elements of adventuring, and not just the moments of grandeur.

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The Good Life: Up the Yukon Without a Paddle – by Dorian Amos

The Good Life is a great tale of a young couple who give up a comfortable life in England to start a new one in the wilderness of the Yukon. The books talks in detail of the new wild and mountainous landscapes of Yukon, and the many challenges that come with it – from crossing frozen rivers, mushing huskies and hunting caribou, through to facing bears, avoiding wolves and building their own log cabin from the materials around them. If anything will convince you to leave your suburban life behind in pursuit of adventure, then this story is it!

Pinar from our marketing team loves this book, particularly as it got her through the early days of the pandemic. She says: "During the height of lockdown 1, the travel cravings were kicking in and the Good life was the perfect way to travel, without travelling. Full of adventure and awesome Canada inspo. This book is absolute gold!"

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Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will - by Judith Schalansky

Schalansky’s ‘Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands’ is the perfect read for any travel-lover. A great coffee table addition, the book is full of beautiful illustrations, and most importantly, it reminds us that there’s so much of the world left to explore.

For travellers who pride themselves on finding less-travelled corners of the globe, this book humbles as much as it inspires, with mysterious destinations in far-flung areas of the globe to inspire you by the bucket-load. Each of the islands featured has handy facts, as well as a beautifully drawn map to accompany it. Furthermore, every island is presented with the land’s vital statistics, including an intriguing timeline of human interaction. A brief poetic essay follows, with tales of rare wildlife, accidental discoveries or abandoned hopes. What other travel book makes you yearn for places you know you’ll never visit?”

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The Neapolitan Quartet (a novel series) – by Elena Ferrante

A 4-part series originally written in Italian, Ferrante’s Neopolitan series are set against the Italian backdrop of Naples and tells the story of a sixty-year friendship between the bookish Elena and rebellious Lila. Although a tale of two women, each of the four volumes feature the inspiring landscapes and history of Naples.

In fact, they’re so inspiring, that they’re responsible for our Product Manager Ben updating his bucket list! He says: "You'll learn more about Naples from these novels than any travel book! Ischia, an island off Naples, went straight to the top of my travel bucket list after the protagonist spends a sun-soaked summer there in book 2."

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Into the Wild – by Jon Krakauer

Based originally on a 9,000-word essay which then became a film starring Emile Hirsch, ‘Into the Wild’ is a book that tells the true tale of Christopher McCandless (AKA 'Alexander Supertramp') and his journey from recent graduate to intrepid explorer in the Alaskan wilderness.

Although a sad tale that leads to McCandless’ death, the book is written by Krakauer, an experienced adventurer who has tackled Everest himself. In-between McCandless' unique story, he shares his owns motivations for embracing such an extreme way of living. The story creates a dangerous yet very seductive view of the great outdoors, which you can’t help but fall in love with.

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Great Cities Through Travellers' Eyes – by Peter Furtado

Throughout history, intrepid globe-trotters have related their experiences and perceptions of the world’s great cities to bring them alive to those at home. There are 38 cities covered in ‘Great Cities Through Travellers’ Eyes’, with each anthology of tales spread over six continents. From Beijing to Berlin, Cairo to Chicago, Lhasa to London, St Petersburg to Sydney and Rio to Rome, this incredible book will stir up some wistful travel memories – and add other destinations to your ‘must see’ list.

Collated and contextualised by historian Peter Furtado, each of the individual accounts provides a unique perspective and vivid depiction of a destination, with narratives across the millennia – making this a perfect read for those who opt for stories and experiences that won’t be found in your average guidebook.

Our Head of Product, Ayla, particularly loves this unusual read. She says: “This book is sure to inspire wanderlust! It lets me do a spot of armchair travel - not just around the world, but through time too!”

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The Lido – by Libby Page

As a former resident of Brixton in London, Ellena from our Marketing Team adores Page’s story of local reporter Kate and avid swimmer Rosemary, and their mission to save the local lido from being bought by redevelopers.

She says: “I loved this book. It’s a very easy read, the sort you read in one sitting. At the time I was living in Brixton, so it felt lovely to read about my local area which I’d become so familiar with. It features real shops and cafes which I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and also made me appreciate my local area in a whole new light.

“It also got me interested in cold water swimming, so I decided to get a membership to Brockwell Lido. As the pool is outdoors, the shock of cold water made me feel like I was on the coast instead of Zone 2 London. If you’d like an uplifting story this is a great option. It’ll also make you want to pay a visit to colourful Brixton, which I’d recommend to anyone visiting London.”

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Share your inspiring travel reads with us

We’d love to know what our bookworm home swappers are reading. Share your favourite books (travel or otherwise!) with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #welovehomeswap