Consolations of the Forest—Alone in a Cabin in the Middle Taiga: Sylvain Tesson

Translated from French by Linda CoverdalePublished by Penguin “I’d promised myself that before I turned forty I would live as a hermit deep in the woods.” That was Sylvain Tesson’s promise to himself, a promise that he kept. Tesson spent six months in a cabin on the shore of Lake Baikal in Siberia from February …

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The Snow Leopard: Peter Matthiessen

Published by Vintage and Penguin I read The Snow Leopard when I was in my early 20s, and I loved it enough to put it on my list of 10 favourite books—where it has stayed since then. Published in 1978, The Snow Leopard is a classic, blending travel and philosophy. Peter Matthiessen was an American …

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A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Pico Iyer

Review by B.V. Tejah Some travel books are well-suited for pandemic lockdowns. We find ourselves locked inside, while our minds can soar to distant places. These books make us ponder over the nature of faraway cultures; they would be a useless tourist guide and would not include maps. Pico Iyer’s wonderful, odd little book (240 …

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The Places in Between: Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart had set out to walk from Iran all the way to Nepal—through Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. But in December 2000, when the Iranian government took away his visa, the Taliban refused to allow him to enter Afghanistan. So Stewart had to go directly to Pakistan. At the end of 2001, when he heard …

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Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat—Chris Stewart

It all began when Chris Stewart, 29 and out of work, bumps into a friend. “My great-aunt Jane has been on at me for weeks to find her a skipper [for her yacht], and I thought of you straightaway.” Which was a little odd because Stewart had never been on a boat before, never mind …

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Women travellers tell their stories

Think of all the travel books that you have read: how many of them are written by men? Almost all? And yet women have been travelling and writing about it for as long as men. As a reviewer for the website, Women on the Road, I have spent the last few years reading these books. …

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A Parrot in the Pepper Tree: Chris Stewart

Many of us dream of giving up the rat-race and living the simple life in a community far removed from the hustle of cities. These remain dreams for most of us, but not for Chris Stewart and his wife Ana. In 1988, they moved to Alpujarras in Andalucia, Spain, and bought a farm called El …

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Terra Australis: Great Adventures in the Circumnavigation of Australia—Matthew Flinders, ed. Tim Flannery

I first heard of Matthew Flinders in July 2014 when a friend, Heather Wicks, told me that she was going to London for the unveiling of his statue. Flinders was her fourth great-uncle, who had been the first European to sail around Australia. That piqued my curiosity, so she lent me this book. Matthew Flinders …

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Deep South: Paul Theroux

Like Paul Theroux, travellers often go in search of adventure in other countries before exploring their own. Having travelled to remote corners throughout the world, he sets out to discover a part of his own country—the United States—that he knows mostly through its fiction. The Deep South of the US is a cultural subregion and …

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Pilgrimage to the End of the World—The Road to Santiago de Compostela: Conrad Rudolph

At a time when more and more people are moving away from religion, this book takes you back to the essence of faith. Conrad Rudolph is not particularly religious, but decides to make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, walking all the way, staying in gîtes and refugios. He writes about what it really means …

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