Alice Roberts, in
Ok, so, traveling mid-semester is probably not going to happen. The combination of multiple deadlines and the advancing winter does not particularly lend itself to day trips, international flights or any other such time-consuming activities. However, although physical travel is unlikely, this doesn’t mean you can’t let your imagination run free. For inspiration and advice, here are some of the best in ‘travel literature’ to provide light relief between essays, dissertations, maths equations or whatever else. Read their implicit tips and wisdom with care:
1) Lonesome Traveller, Jack Kerouac. A collection of Kerouac’s short stories, easy to read and a particularly beautiful example of his spontaneous prose style. ‘Alone on a Mountaintop’ is one of his best; arguably, the fragmented nature of the short stories are more suited to his way of writing. There is On The Road too, but for fear of being too cliched, I thought I would just mention it in the description. All Kerouac is good Kerouac.
2) Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell. For the more politically minded reader – full of Orwell’s reflections on poverty, urbanization and labour. Interestingly, also his first published novel. For all those looking to see both the good and bad in these metropolises, emphasis on the bad, this is where you should start.
3) Into the Wild, John Krakauer. The captivating story of Alexander Supertramp, whose choice to disappear into the wilderness seems to be the only thing he could have done. Recommended if you feel like reading something haunting.
4) As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, Laurie Lee. Beautifully written account of Spain and the impending civil war. Laurie Lee’s poetic style makes it easy to get lost in the descriptions of the countryside, as well as his sensitive descriptions of playing the violin. Great for tips on traveling alone.
5) The Motorcycle Diaries, Che Guevara. Once again, for the more politically-minded reader, but also a touchingly realistic story about growing up and becoming aware of life in its various forms. A very thorough account of South America in the 1950s, and full of indispensable advice if you are ever planning on riding a 1939 Norton 500cc.
6) Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway. For Hemingway-style documentary, this is a good bet. It’s Hemingway, enough said.
7) Around the World in 80 Days or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne. If you are seeking pure escapism, it is hard to find anything more entertaining than Jules Verne. Mysterious submarine captains, volcanoes, hot air balloons and almost every exotic country (or sea) you could wish for will be in there somewhere.
8) Robinson Crusoe – To end with arguably the most useful in this list, Robinson Crusoe features the hard facts of all that can go wrong whilst traveling, in this list. Just in case. Sh*t happens.