Best Travel Books Picks for Covid-19 Lockdown.

As the global Covid-19 puts a halt to our gallivanting on adventures and has most of us adventurous types straining on our virtual leash past the invisible 2km exercise zone,  we can still dream and plan of outdoor adventures to come.   Life has been put in perspective for us all.  So there is no better time to armchair travel with some of the best travel books of all times.  Here is our pick of ripping travel reads to transport you while on lockdown.

Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know- Sir Ranulph Fiennes

An autobiography, written in his 75th year by one of the most macho heroes of travel, adventurism and exploration to the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible places.  From the top of Everest, from Pole to Pole, to finding ‘lost’ cities, the world’s greatest living explorer is not known for taking the easy route at any time.  He lost fingers and almost lost his life, but throughout his entire life has never lost the enthusiasm for thrilling adventure.  Fiennes has been an elite soldier, an athlete, a mountaineer, an explorer, a bestselling author who nearly replaced Sean Connery as James Bond, and indeed, his writing does read like a ‘Boys Own’ Spiffing adventure at times. Live through his ambitious expeditions, extreme adventures and inspiring resilience from the comfort of your backyard hammock and start making plans for your next great escape.

Couchsurfing in Iran – Stephan Orth

For fans of Couchsurfing (the more altruistic and friendlier forerunner of Airbnb) and unusual travel with social and political insight, this book captures all of the most wonderful things about staying on stranger’s couches in a destination that most westerners would never choose to visit. Couchsurfing is banned and yet over a hundred thousand Iranians are registered with the portal.    Orth is a generous storyteller, sharing sights, sounds and emotions to give a fascination and gripping picture of life in modern Iran.  Stephan is the guest of 22 different hosts, travels over 8,400 kilometres in 62 days to discover the hidden Iran.  A bed roll, a haversack and a lot more optimism than most, this is a tale of travel adventures to the max.  From border guards to taxi drivers, we learn more about Iranians and the similarities of people everywhere. The tone is light and breezy, and this is a road that is definitely ‘less travelled’ as the author dispels myths about Iran in a gripping and fascinating read. 

Buen Camino – Peter Murtagh

This book is not a travel or route guide to the wonderful Camino, but rather is a spell bounding recounting of Peter Murtagh’s own experiences on the pilgrimage trail. Peter and his daughter Natasha stepped out on the 900 kilometre walk through the Way of Saint James, over the French Pyrenees and into Northern Spain.  What began as a gruelling physical trek quickly becomes a spiritual journey and a bonding experience.   Despite the hardships, they run with bulls, parade in a fiesta and meet a fine range of other pilgrims on the way.  For anyone who’s Camino journey was cut short this year, this book will keep the fires of adventure lit until you too can walk the well-worn paths to the Santiago de Compostela.  A warm and loving story of friendship, family, camaraderie and wonderful scenery too!

Epic Hikes of the World – Lonely Planet

What an inspiring publication.  It won’t just set you dreaming, it will have you salivating and mentally packing the rucksack.  Lonely planet asked over 200 travel writers to tell them about their most memorable hikes.  Many spoke of personal challenges, both physical and mental. One common theme was the connection that you can find when you hike a certain destination.  The words ‘Life Changing’ were used a lot.   This book brings 50 of the most inspiring routes, stories and adventures for you to enjoy from your armchair.   We may be staying put at the moment, but this wonderful collection will have you planning for a brighter future while living vicariously through the retelling of others.  

Nala’s World- Dean Nicholson

A Scottish man on a bike ride around the world.  His plan. Visit as much of the world as he can. Learn as much as he can.  Retell it in a book and on social media.  Cue Nala, the rescue cat that he finds in the mountains between Montenegro and Bosnia. An unbreakable bond that ensures Dean Nicholson is an overnight Instagram sensation.  Well, it combines travel, cycling, Scottish accents and … a cute cat. Win Win.  Experiencing the kindness of strangers, visiting refugee camps, rescuing animals throughout Europe and Asia, Dean and Nala are a dynamic travelling duo. The book, Nala’s World is on its way to the book shelves and in the meantime you can follow their adventures online and add your view to the over 20 million views of how they met.

Travel Book Recommendations for Lockdown

Essential Books for the Armchair Adventurer

Compiling your bucket list of adventures from the comfort of your squishy sofa.

Winter evenings are the perfect time to dream. A cosy fire, a nice glass of vino and a good book. What could be better! But, just in case you feel bad for not battling the gale force winds, with icicles hanging from your nose, your fingers and toes frozen solid, we have a plan. In the likelihood that you are concerned that you might not maintain your reputation as a bit of an adventurer, we have compiled a list of the very best books to inspire your next big adventure (when the weather is better).

Planning for all those adventures in the future, in the warmth of your own home can be just as much fun as doing them.  Well, maybe that is going a bit far, but all inspirational dreams begin as small ideas.  Here are some books full of inspiration to fuel the fire in your adventurer soul.

  1. Biking it : Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides Of the World

From pedalling in Patagonia and Mongolia, to sedate bicycle tracks in France and Spain, this book is full of first-hand cycling stories. Listing 200 accessible and fun bike rides, it is sure to inspire your next free-wheeling adventure. Each ride is illustrated with stunning photography and a map. All the practical details are included, such as where to start and finish, how to get there, where to stay and more. This book helps cyclists to plan their own trips, based on your own skillset and needs. Each piece shows how cycling is a fantastic way to get to know a place, a people and a culture.

  1. Hiking it: Ireland’s Best Walks by Helen Fairbarn.

A brilliant guide to over sixty rambles, hikes and climbs in this wonderful land. Featuring some of the best one-day walking routes in Ireland, this is a perfect guide for all levels of walkers. The hikes vary from short strolls to full-day treks and a full selection of maps, illustrations and information will help you to plan for, and complete, some amazing treks. Every part of the Republic and Northern Ireland is featured. From rugged peaks and chiselled ridge lines to towering sea cliffs and sheltered loughs. The routes take you past the country’s finest scenery. Many of the walks are hill-walks, with clear descriptions of the country’s classic mountain ascents. Even seasoned hill-walkers will find challenging outings in this book.

  1. Surfing it:  Grey Skies, Green Waves, a surfer’s journey around the UK and Ireland. Tom Anderson

This is not strictly a guide book but more of a biographical trip around the chilly coastlines on a surfing odyssey. But it makes perfect reading for the winter couch surfer who doesn’t fancy braving the wild weather outside and prefers to plan for sunnier days. An amusing and easy to read surfer book, which will go a long way to feeding those plans for summer fun and will add new surfing beaches to the bucket list.

  1. Paddling: Oilean- The Irish islands Guide for sea kayakers. Dave Walsh

Over 570 Irish islands are listed here. Plenty for you to fantasise about paddling around.  This is the second edition of the sea kayaking guidebook, which has a wealth of photos and vital tidal information. The essential information for kayakers or anyone in a small boat is here: landings, camping, drinking water and tidal information. Any wildlife to be found is detailed and on the islands that are or have been inhabited and there is fascinating information on their history and archaeology. The stories are engaging and are often told with a wry humour which makes them very readable. After reading this, you just might be tempted to put a toe in the water and head out to sea.

  1. Camping: Cool Camping Europe by Jonathan Knight

Imagine waking up to the dawn chorus in the Black Forest. Or sleeping in a yurt in the French countryside. This travel guide to over 100 of the best camping experiences in Europe will have you dreaming of hot showers and excellent camping facilities in the most awesome natural surroundings. Featuring twelve countries: Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland, there is much to choose from in this stunning guide to camping in Europe.

Books can transport you to other worlds. Books can help you dream. With adventure books, you can make plans to be truly transported and make your dreams a reality as you plan that next big adventure.