Armchair Travel: Living Vicariously Through Others

5 years ago

While I consider myself incredibly lucky that we are on vacation this week, there have been plenty of summers where I've done all my traveling while sitting on my couch and reading. Through books I've lived vicariously through others and travel memoirs are some of my favorite books to read. Whether you are going on vacation or just dreaming of travel, here are a few armchair travel reading suggestions to get you through the summer.

Credit: leather armchair on the beach via Shutterstock

Around the World Travel

It's been two years since I read The Lost Girls:Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World and interviewed authors Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbeet and Amanda Pressner but I still find myself thinking about it. I still don't think I'd enjoy spending a whole year traveling around the world (I am a rather determined homebody) but I loved reading about their adventures. From hiking up trails that would make me dizzy, to working with children in Kenya to a mishap with their camper van in Australia I felt like I was there with them.

I Still Dream of Paris

I've made no secret of the fact that I love Paris. I've read numerous books about the city and just when I start to feel like maybe I'm done with books about Paris another comes along that demands my attention. Now, I'm not really chocolate lover (and yes, you can have my share) but I loved the twist that Amy Thomas took with her memoir, Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate). You'll also see some love for New York City in this one. Note: I claim no responsibility for the chocolate cravings that may ensue while reading this book.

Casablanca Beyond Humphrey Bogart

If you've read A Year in Provence or Under the Tuscan Sun you know that tales of people moving to a new country can be absolutely addictive. Most of the books I've read have been centered in France or Italy, so I loved how I could go a bit off the usual living abroad path with Tahir Shah's The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca. I may be fudging the line of a travel memoir with this selection as it's more of a living abroad memoir but you'll forgive me for that, right? You'll learn that life in Casablanca isn't quite the same as a night at Rick's Cafe American.

A Little Taste of Everything

I'm a long time reader of the Best Food Writing anthologies but I'm new to the Best Women's Travel Writing anthologies. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Best Women's Travel Writing 2011. Don't try to tell me an essay about delivering a trophy for best testicles in a small town in rural Serbia doesn't catch your attention! And who hasn't wanted to learn the flamenco in Spain? I know I have! The best part is that I can read back through past anthologies and the 2012 edition is coming out in August. Score!

Reading About Things I Will Never Do

A few months ago I was home alone and flipping through the many channels we have in the hopes of finding something interesting to watch and find it I did! I love to hear stories about people who push their own personal endurance limits and do things like row across the Atlantic Ocean because I'm certainly never going to attempt it. That night I stumbled upon Ed Stafford's story. The British man decided that he was going to walk the whole length of the Amazon. It took him two and a half years but Ed accomplished his gaol. His book, Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step at at Time doesn't come out until late August but I can't wait to read it. Maybe I'll finally find out why he walked the Amazon while wearing shoes that looked suspiciously like Crocs.

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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