Thanks to everyone’s least favourite virus, COVID-19, it looks like all of our travel plans are on hold for the next little while. While our team can’t be exploring the world in real life, we’re hoping to catch up on our reading lists. We love reading about travel, adventure, and amazing places around the globe, and we think you probably do too. Here are a few of our staff’s favourite books that we hope might inspire your future travels and help keep your spirits up:
Two In The Far North by Margaret Murie
This enduring story of life, adventure, and love in Alaska was written by the woman who is considered the ‘mother of conservation’ in both Alaska and Montana. Her story spans her fascinating life from growing up in Fairbanks in the early 1900’s, falling in love with her caribou biologist husband, and their travels throughout BC, Alaska, and the Yukon.
The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry; Love, Laughter and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
A hilarious story of a middle manager who moves to Paris to pursue her dream: a diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. This book provides an inside look at what it’s like to study at the school and paints a vivid portrait of Paris. Our Operations Coordinator, Cat, says “I loved it because it brought to life Paris and cooking – two things I love!”
Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan by Jamie Zeppa.
Beyond the Sky and the Earth is a memoir by a young Canadian English teacher who lived in Bhutan for two years. The title of the book is derived from an expression of thanks in Bhutanese which means ‘I am thankful to you beyond the earth and sky’. Our fearless Tour Guide, Marion, says, “I loved the book because it is a candid, heart-warming story from a Canadian perspective.”
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
The main character in this page-turner is an escaped convict from Australia hiding out and ultimately making a new life in the slums of Bombay, India. It’s advertised as a memoir of sorts; however, the author has taken many creative liberties. It’s a riveting story and completely immerses the reader in the daily life of the slums. Our Victoria Sales & Office Assistant, Alia, says “It’s both fascinating and heartbreaking- I couldn’t put it down! It’s a long one but hey, what else are people doing?“
Ratriver Trapper by Thomas P. Kelley
Our Reservations Manager, Paige, recommends this true story of Albert Johnson, dubbed “the mad trapper of Rat River” who was the fugitive in one of the most dramatic manhunts in Canadian history. Set in the Mackenzie River Delta in the northwest corner of Canada’s Northwest Territories, this book chronicles the forty-eight-day manhunt across the harshest terrain in the world where winter temperatures average forty degrees below zero.
What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
“Though it sounds like a religious text, this book is more of a way to gain understanding of cultures in Asia that are Buddhist,” says our Marketing Director, Kerrie, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. If you’re interested in learning more about the foundations of Buddhism with examples from modern Western life, this book is for you!
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This modern classic tells the enthralling story of an Andalusian shepherd who wants to travel in search of treasure. But during his adventures, he finds himself, instead. Coelho teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams. If you need some inspiration in these challenging days, this might be a good choice.
Wilderness; A Journal of Quiet Adventure in Alaska by Rockwell Kent.
In 1918, American graphic artist Rockwell Kent and his 9-year-old son, embarked on a 7 month ‘adventure of spirit’ on Fox Island in the Resurrection Bay in Alaska. This edited and illustrated compilation of his letters home creates a beautiful journal of daily adventures.
The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
If you’ve already read and enjoyed Life of Pi, then you might enjoy this more recent novel by Canadian author Yann Martel. Written as three stories set in different times, but oddly connected by a village in the mountains of Portugal, this book is just as surreal and philosophical as Life of Pi.
Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey by Alison Wearing
This travelogue is about a young woman travelling in Iran for five months with her platonic male friend under the guise of being a newly married couple. This book was written in 2000 and a lot has changed since then, but it’s a unique look at Iranian culture. Marketing team member Pam says, “I loved reading about travelling in Iran and learning about what daily life is like, especially since it’s not somewhere I can travel safely now.”
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson was recommended by several of our team members, for good reason! He is the master of the travelogue with a solid selection of titles to inspire your adventures around the globe. If you’ve never read any of his books, A Walk in the Woods is a good place to start. The book chronicles Bryson’s attempt to walk the 2,100-mile trail with his college friend, and shares plenty of interesting history about the American wilderness along the way.
The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909 by Pierre Berton
Fraser, our Director of Product Development, says this chronicle of the golden age of Arctic exploration is his favourite book ever. It tells the stories of various personalities seeking the Northwest Passage and their quests for fame and riches. Fraser says, “I read this book before going on Adventure Canada’s Ocean Endeavour in 2017. As we turned into Lancaster Sound and headed west, I thought back to all the explorers from centuries past who also looked west down this passage, wondering if it held the long-awaited answer that they were looking for.”
We hope this list provides some inspiration for the next few weeks. We’d also love to hear what you’re reading! Let us know in the comments and we might share it in a future blog post.