Ever feel that little green monster pop up when he’s least expected? For example, you might feel him rear his ugly head when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and see photos of a friend in a new country. Or perhaps he dances across your vision when you see a new Facebook announcement of someone heading off to a new country for the summer to intern or study abroad. They call it wanderlust for a reason—there’s something impatient and all-consuming about it. Why can’t it be you on a beautiful beach or traipsing through a timeless city?
We live in an era where travel is easier than ever: booking trips can be done from the comfort of your couch and finding internships and opportunities to go abroad are more abundant than ever. However, just because it’s easier doesn’t mean that it’s easy. For a lot of us, the summer is a way to get ahead of the curve. A lot of people choose (whether voluntarily or by necessity) jobs, internships, and classes over international travel. And while all of these opportunities have their pros, they can really put a damper on a wanderer’s dreams.
But what if I told you that you could do even more than just book trips from your couch—that there was a way to travel from the comfort of your living room, local café, or park. No internet required. No packing. No long plane rides or language barriers.
As corny as it may sound, reading is one of my favorite ways to get out of my head and escape my own small world. With just a little focus and maybe a good cup of coffee, I can travel all over the world. Here are some of my favorite
books places and times to travel to when life gets a little dull.
Thinking Paris is a good idea? Try A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
A memoir of his time in Paris during the 1920s, this book is all the best parts of Midnight in Paris (if you haven’t seen it, you’re doing yourself a great disservice). Hemingway paints a beautiful and unforgettable portrait of Paris and the je ne sais quoi quality that makes it so magical.
Dreaming of the African savannah? Check out Out of Africa by Karen Blixen.
If you’re like me, you’ll be delightfully surprised to find out that the 1985 Meryl Streep and Robert Redford film was an adaptation of an even better (and autobiographical!) novel. The book follows a Danish baroness during her time in British East Africa (present-day Kenya) in the early twentieth century. Although the story takes place in a colonial setting, the beauty of the African savannah shines through the pages of this memoir.
Prefer to travel further east? Venture through Thailand in The Beach by Alex Garland.
“The Beach” is a mythical, idyllic, Eden-esque location in Asia that is a rumor amongst travelers—or so Richard, the story’s protagonist, thought. This novel is a triple threat with the makings of a utopian novel, thriller, and travelogue that is too good and too suspenseful to put down.
Or maybe you want to take a magical trip to Sri Lanka? Read Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family.
In Ondaatje’s fictionalized memoir, he uses his own family history as the background and inspiration for a series of vignettes about life in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka). Ondaatje’s writing is as beautifully lyrical, spellbinding, and mysterious as the setting of this book.
Or maybe you’d like Florentine views with a dose of female empowerment? Try E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View.
Fear not, reader. Although this novel is a “classic,” a term which haunts students with a disdain for their high school English literature class, it is definitely worth a shot. The novel follows its female protagonist in her trip to Florence and the Tuscan countryside. In the foreground of this tale of travel is a wonderful story about female empowerment; think Jane Eyre, but Edwardian English social rules and much better views.
Featured Image via @hopekelham