Long before I left the city limits of South Charleston, I had started to explore the world through books. John Steinbeck took me across the country from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to the promised land of California. There I was confronted by the evil of men. Tom Joad’s words still influence me to this day. I loved the more innocent, gentle stories of Cannery Row. Of course by the time I arrived Steinbeck’s Cannery Row had long since disappeared.
I traveled to Europe with Ernest Hemingway. It is no surprise to me that The Sun Also Rises, often cited as one of Hemingway’s finest novels, now appears on many best travel book lists. I followed every word, every ebb and flow of his expatriates as they immersed themselves in life and love in Paris and Spain. The elegant, violent, pulsating Pamplona bull-fighting sequences created a tourist industry that continues to this day.
Once I started traveling I continued to read. Each new trip was a reason to read a new book or study a new set of maps. Travel writing is now an industry, as is travel blogging. One byproduct is a growing number of lists of the best travel writing. My list changes with each new book I read but here are a few lists for you to look at and then add your own suggestions in the comment section below.