Books can vicariously take you many places, but the Smithsonian has a list of books to inspire real travel – The Top Ten Most Influential Travel Books. From Homer’s Odyssey to Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, the list also includes Peter Mayle (Provence).
One of my favorite travel writers is Paul Theroux; I discovered him as I was flying across the ocean to a new life in Hawaii; his fictional Hotel Honolulu proved to be an irreverent perspective that was easy to adopt. Since then, I’ve discovered his nonfiction – The Tao of Travel.
More recently I’ve turned to Rick Steves as my nonfiction source for all travel to Europe, but for a humorous outlook on travel, I always return to Calvin Trillin’s Travels with Alice.
“So far, no scholar of Franco-American relations has attempted to refute the theory I once offered that some of the problems American visitors have with the French can be traced to the Hollywood movies of Maurice Chevalier. According to the theory, meeting a surly bureaucrat or a rude taxi driver is bound to be particularly disappointing if you’ve arrived with the expectation that every Frenchman you encounter will be a charming, debonair old gent who at any moment might start singing, ‘Sank Evan for leetle gerls.’”
Do you have a favorite travel book?