When summer ends, Nature donates us one of its most beautiful sights.
The smells, the colours and the sounds of autumn transform every place in a little piece of art. The perfect environment to start a new book. And for every adventurer out there, even if the routine returns to flow, there are 10 travel books that will always keep us dreaming.
INTO THE WILD, J. Krakauer
After completing his studies and giving up on his savings for Godwill, Christopher Johnson McCandless – alias, Alexander Supertramp – becomes a nomad traveler and heads to Alaska. Four months after, his body is recovered near the lake Wentitika, inside the National Park of Denali. Jon Krakauer first described Christopher’s journey in the article “Death of an Innocent”, published on the magazine Outside. Then came the book. His goal was to understand the tragic and conscious choice of a young man who thought there was nothing worse than a “secure future”.
ON THE ROAD, J. Kerouak
A case of serial literature, a book written at the end of the 1940s in twenty days, refused by many publishing houses and oppressed by McCarthysm’s censorship. Thus becoming the symbolic statement of the Beat Generation.
While “on the road”, nobody needs orientation. The only thing that matters is the road itself. The trip of Sal Paradise (the author’s alias) and Dean Moriarty (alias of his friend Neal Cassady) tells the story of two restless and wild souls on the run from the American bourgeois society. The snapshot they leave belongs to a particular moment of American history (1947-1950). A moment of evolution and change for the United States as much as for the two friends, both attracted by a horizon without borders.
IN PATAGONIA, B. Chatwin
“In Patagonia” is a story about love for traveling. Bruce Chatwin explores an exotic and unreal landscape, twisted with a deep sense of loneliness. Thanks to this book, he has been confirmed as the father of travel literature.
In 1974, unable to live in only one place, the author leaves in search for an ancient ancestor, captain Charles Milward. He then explores the Argentinean and Chilean Patagonia. With the pleasure of an objective prose, the protagonist here is the travel, not the traveler, who only portraits a land of kindness, legends and different cultures.
EBONY, R. Kapuscinski
Ghana, Nigeria, Etiopia, Eritrea. The African continent told and explained by Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski. His novel is pure, cruel, as much as the condition of the men under that hot sun. During the forty years spent in Africa as an international correspondent, the author meets the tribal people of each state. He is also present at the events that tested – and still test today – Africa: genocides, coup d’etat, civil wars, plagues. All tracks of a man who thought “The real home (…) is not his house but the road. Life itself is a travel that has to be done by foot”.
TRANS EUROPA EXPRESS, P. Rumiz
Central Europe, exposed as few have ever seen it. This is the silent main character of Paolo Rumiz‘s book, a character wounded by the past which still disturbs the surface of the present, like an echo. Leaving for a journey from the “last piece of Norway before the Russian border”, the author leads us to Istanbul, Turkey. The landscape he goes through is wild and strong, crossed by a static civilisation where the kindness of men blooms silently. A sincere kindness, exceeding all the territorial borders and the political traditions. The unique, human kindness, that represent a recurring theme in travel literature.
ITALIAN JOURNEY, J. W. Goethe
Perhaps not everyone knows that Johann Wolfgang Goethe has gathered in a book the memories of a journey in Italy. From 1786 to 1788 he traveled from Karlsbad to Sicily, and discovered the architectural beauties and the fascinating landscapes of places like Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Palermo. Reading “Italian Journey” is amazing because it’s a time travel too. The slow, detailed prose is also particularly attentive to situations that still survives in our postmodern times.
IN VESPA, G. Bettinelli
At the beginning, he meets the motor-scooter by accident. Then, they meet again for the sake of adventure. Giorgio Bettinelli narrates his first journey from Rome to Saigon on a Vespa. In 1992, after receiving a motor-scooter as a gift during a trip in Indonesia, the author starts his new way of living. He travels across 10 countries, for 24.000 kilometers, and comes into contact with different landscapes, climates, cultures, languages and emotions always evolving. Bettinelli’s prose is fluid, detailed. It never tires; actually, it instills the doubt that maybe we’re not fully living.
IN ASIA, T. Terzani
Halfway between autobiography and report, “In Asia” is a journey made of many letters and articles written and collected by Tiziano Terzani during his time in Asia. The heart of the narration focuses on the events he lived firsthand, events that made the history of the Far East. Some examples: the taking of Saigon and the protest of Tienanmen Square.
People from this places are carefully observed: with a mix of respect and admiration, Terzani watches the rituals, the beliefs and the lifestyles that contribute to the uniqueness of each population. All linked to the other ones, all at the same time.
HITCHING RIDES WITH THE BUDDHA, W. Ferguson
For someone, Japan is a road to be walked on. It sure is for Will Ferguson, a Canadian author who narrates his journey inside the Sakura Zensen, the blooming of cherry trees. Retracing the road from Capo Sata – in the south – to Capo Sōya – in the north, in Hokkaido – Ferguson observes, tells and thinks about the thousands of facets belonging to the Japanese culture and to its people. People who never stop to surprise and, moreover, to teach him. Ferguson’s prose shows very little romance, but a lot of attention and humor. A perfect mix that describes the differences outdistancing and, at the same time, bringing near the Western and the Eastern worlds.
MY PLACE, S. Morgan
“My place” is the trip backwards into the Aboriginal origins of a woman, the author. Sally Morgan‘s mission is to give back dignity and voice to people who lost their memory and suffered years of abuse. In the past, the shadow of racism resulted in the Stolen Generation. Around the 1930s, racism forced a lot of “Australian niggers” to live confined to reserves. The features of a culture with a big respect for nature emerge from the book, together with pain and a remarkable spiritual heritage.