Travel in your mind — Tour the world from the comfort of your sofa
Through books, we can escape from our coronavirus isolation to countries we miss and experiences we crave. The editorial team of DW's Travel desk brings you a few wanderlust-inspired reading tips.
William Finnegan: "Barbarian Days"
The autobiography of the surfing writer takes the reader from the Californian Pacific coast via Hawaii to Australia. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 2016, Finnegan succeeds in describing the sea as an element as frightening as it is fascinating. Always on the move, in search of the perfect wave. (Andreas Kirchhoff)
Joseph von Eichendorff: "Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing"
The 1826 novel tells the story of a daydreaming rogue whose father sends him out into the world to force his lazy son to face his responsibilities. On his journey, which takes him to Italy, the young man proves to be a creative artist. From today's perspective, a classic backpacker story. (Winni Modesto)
Karl May: "The Orient Cycle"
With Karl May's travel stories, I discovered the world! In the six-volume Orient Cycle, May's alter ego Kara Ben Nemsi embarks on incredible adventures between the Sahara and the Balkans (Photo: Osum Gorge, Albania). That he never experienced all this himself really doesn't matter. I also followed him in his other books to the Wild West. (Jens Fritze)
Ari Shavit: "My Promised Land"
Ari Shavit tells the story of Israel, his homeland, whose existence has been threatened since its foundation, in a very personal way. He enthrallingly weaves together historical facts and his own experiences. As a reader, I feel the urge to travel there myself to visit the places, get to know the country and its people and hear their stories. (Jannis Hektor)
Margaret Mitchell: "Gone with the Wind"
The book made perfect reading on my tour of the southern states of the US. I had already seen the film umpteen times, but the book describes the tragedy of the Civil War and the difficult reconstruction after the defeat of the southern states even more impressively. Mitchell’s novel is a love story and a historical epic at the same time, a real page-turner! (Kerstin Schmidt)
Paulo Coelho: "The Alchemist"
To hold on to your dreams — that's what this novel taught me. An Andalusian shepherd boy, Santiago, has a recurring dream of a treasure that lies at the foot of the pyramids. Bravely, he embarks on an adventurous trip. He travels with a caravan through the desert to Egypt — on a journey of learning and realization. (Nicole Meissner)
Alexandre Dumas: "The Three Musketeers"
Written in 1844, the novel is set in 17th-century France during the reign of Louis XIII. The story takes place predominantly in Paris, but the protagonist’s adventures take him across the French countryside and as far as England. Reading it made me want to explore the historical sites in Paris, but most of all I wanted to experience the French countryside, especially Gascony. (Susan Bonney-Cox)
David Mitchell: "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet"
Japan in 1799, isolated from the world for a century and a half. No one is allowed out; no foreigner in. The only window to the outside world is Dejima Island off Nagasaki. The young Dutchman Jacob de Zoet hopes to make his fortune on the island inhabited by dubious racketeers. It will be the adventure of his life — and for the reader, a captivating journey into a mysterious world. (Anne Termèche)
Rusty Young: "Marching Powder"
Based on a true story of a man who tries to smuggle drugs out of Bolivia and then ends up in a completely crazy prison, right in the center of the megametropolis La Paz (photo). The incarcerated protagonist manages to make the most of it, bribing guards and leading tourists through his world — one of whom is Rusty Young, the book’s author. (Lukas Stege)
Elena Ferrante: "My Brilliant Friend"
Admittedly, it is not about la dolce vita (the sweet life), but rather about the dark side of Naples — about violence, crime, and a lot of chauvinism. But the Neapolitan saga captivated me so much that I spent weeks in my own mind traveling around the locations: the narrow streets of Naples, elegant Florence, and the sunny island of Ischia. (Christina Deicke)
Lutz Seiler: "Kruso"
A journey back to the last years of communist East Germany and to the Baltic Sea island of Hiddensee, a refuge for dropouts. For one summer, the hero of the novel, Ed, works as a dishwasher in a traditional restaurant. At the foot of the lighthouse, on a sandy beach below the cliffs, would be the ideal places to immerse yourself into the magic of this story. (Christian Hoffmann)