If you don’t have the time, fitness or inclination to scale a mountain, then these book recommendations from Sean Jones will make you feel like you are taking each step with the authors…
“If I filled my backpack with all my best-loved travel books then I would need a team of sherpas to carry the load! However here are a few of my favourites:
8 Feet in the Andes, Dervla Murphy. A wonderful true story of Dervla and her 9 year old daughter (I think she was 9 anyway, certainly she was very young for a 1500 mile trek through the Andes along the legendary Inca Trail). The other 4 feet belong to the donkey who accompanied them. An inspiring tale of adventure, hardship and beautiful majestic scenery.
From the Holy Mountain, William Dalrymple. William has to be up there at
the top of travel writing. Every book of his, White Moguls, In search of
Xanadu and The age of Kali to name but three, are all deeply captivating and
literally take you there to where he is. From the Holy Mountain is his personal journey along the old Christian trail through all the Othodox monasteries within the Middle East. It’s like a trip back to a time forgotten as the monks live in solitude and their customs are pretty much unchanged for over 1500 years. We meet hermits and many fantastic and colourful people along the way and learn how these monks and their ways are dying out, after surviving many years or persecution from other religious denominations.
I had never heard of a ‘stylite’ before I read this book. These were martyrs who did unbelievable things to bring them closer to God. One chap stood on a 25ft pillar for years, yes years just standing there. Unbelievable! Dalrymple captures it all, educates and occasionally makes you laugh. A must read for all.
My final one is a mainstream writer not known for his travel books, Michael Crighton of Jurassic Park fame. He has however written a book called Travels, which is an excellent read and is surprising in such that the man behind the fiction was, in my view, completely different to how I imagined him. I won’t say too much much except the bit where he is out in the desert and talking to the cactus is very funny.”
If a book has inspired you to travel or simply makes for great reading while on the road, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – let us know a little of what it’s about plus an indication of the size, as we would love to hear your recommendation for a great backpack book!
You can check out other recommendations from Intrepid Express readers by clicking on the ‘books for your backpack’ travel theme in this blog or seeing the latest book reviews on the Intrepid travel website.
* photo by Kelly Benson – Intrepid Photography Competition