One thing's for sure, a good book is a perfect prelude to escape. An ideal travel companion is also, when you can't leave right away, a very good escape while waiting for the next escapade! Here is a selection of 10 books to travel with. Your suggestions to enrich it are welcome!
Gustave Flaubert's Salammbô, exoticism in space and time
It's time to revise our classics! This historical novel published in 1862 takes us to the 3rd century BC, during the Mercenary War that took place in the city of Carthage. A meticulous writer, Flaubert travelled to Tunisia in 1858 to describe the setting of his novel more precisely. Djerba fascinated him to the point where he said that "the air [there] is so sweet that it prevents you from dying". Would you like to travel to Tunisia in the 3rd century BC?
Alex Garland's Beach, a Thai trip
Leonardo di Caprio and Virginie Ledoyen thrilled you in the film adaptation of The Beach. But have you read the novel? The change of scenery is guaranteed from the very first lines! We follow Richard, the main character and backpacker. In the company of a French couple, he sets off in search of an idyllic beach in a Thai archipelago. A seemingly utopian community lives there, but the situation will quickly degenerate ... To be discovered!
Latin Americana motorcycle trip, the true story of Ernesto Che Guevara
On December 29, 1951, a 24-year-old medical student named Ernesto Rafael Guevara got on the back of his friend's beat-up motorcycle for a road trip to Latin America, from Argentina to the United States. During this initiatory trip, the two young people cross landscapes that are certainly sumptuous but where people are oppressed and their rights are often violated. This exceptional notebook retraces the origins of the political commitment of the man who would become Che Guevara. Fascinating!
Jules Verne and Around the World in 80 Days, a feasible wager?
Phileas Fogg inspired many travellers who were also tempted to take up this rather crazy challenge: to cross the world in 80 days... and by land! Today, the modernization of transport has reduced travel times and abolished borders, but what was the situation at the time? This novel makes us consider the journey in a different way, keeping us on tenterhooks until the last page: will Phileas take up his challenge?
Wild by Cheryl Strayed, travelling to exorcise her demons
Cheryl Strayed's life is thrown into turmoil the day she learns that her mother is gravely ill. She begins a descent into hell before packing her backpack for one of the world's most challenging hikes: the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. Throughout the pages, the reader is led on the trail for this moving initiatory walk, which has also been adapted for film by Jean-Marc Vallée
On the road to Jack Kerouac, the American dream
A cult book for a whole generation of travellers, Sur la route is a hymn to life and sharing. Two friends, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, take us on their road-trip through the heart of the United States, from East to West and North to South, all the way to Mexico. We travel the long roads between New York and San Francisco with them, in a jazzy atmosphere where alcohol reigns supreme
Jon Krakauer's Journey to the End of Loneliness, Travel to Flee
Better known as Into the Wild, the life of Christopher McCandless, adapted for film by Sean Penn in 2007, was also told by Jon Krakauer in 1996 in his brilliant Journey to the End of Solitude. The story of this American student who decides to leave everything behind and take to the roads to Alaska has moved many readers and viewers. We retain the sublime moral of his story: happiness only real when shared.
The complete works of Arthur Rimbaud, "the man with the soles of the wind"
Who better than Arthur Rimbaud to illustrate the journey? His adventurous life took him as far as Abyssinia, in the north of present-day Ethiopia and the east of Sudan. So few texts written during this period are in our possession today, all Rimbaud's work is marked by this desire to escape. La Bohème is certainly one of the most famous poems in French poetry: a true hymn to vagrancy, it makes us want to put on our backpacks and hit the road!
Jean Giono's Journey to Italy
From the very beginning of the book the author himself admits: "I'm not a traveler, that's a fact." Yet he tells us his discovery of Italy, his father's birthplace. Travelling to Italy is a true praise to the dolce vita and the eternal joie de vivre that characterizes our transalpine neighbors. From Turin to Florence, passing through Milan, Venice or Bologna, we follow Jean Giono on his road-trip with undisguised pleasure and a certain desire to jump on the first plane that will take us across the Alps!
Paulo Coelho's Alchemist or the essential initiation journey
Just like travelling, reading Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist changes our vision of the world. Marked by spirituality, the story of Santiago, the young Andalusian shepherd who goes to Egypt in search of treasure, is troubling. Everyone learns his personal lessons and a desire to fulfil his wildest dreams. To be read on a trip or quietly at home before packing your bags!