9 Great Travel Books You Have Never Heard Of


Well hello you good-looking, adventurous fox! Let’s dive right in, shall we? Here goes with 9 great travel books that are lesser known, and altogether GREAT. And personally get us throthing at the mouth to hit the road next year as Aussie Overlanders.


1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (click to buy book here)

 “It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you have got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life”

I’m often surprised by how many people have never heard of this book. It is one of my all time favourites – because, goddamn can Roberts write. It is a true story of a personal Indian odyssey so beautifully written that you feel every pain and joy arise within you.


2. Wild: From Lost To Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (click to buy audio book here)

 “I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me?

The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one.”

 I am reading this book right now. Half way through and I am raving about it to all who are within earshot. It’s one of those ‘can’t put it down’ ‘don’t want it to finish… ever’ kind of books.


3. Marching Powder by Rusty Young (click to buy book here)

 “You have fallen badly, señor gringo. Bribery is a very serious crime in this country. You will have to pay.”

Based on surviving one of the World’s most intoxicatingly corrupt prisons (San Pedro Prison in Bolivia that Gareth and I ventured to the gates of in 2008) this one will send chills up your spine.


4. Cooked In Africa by Justin Bonello (click to buy book here)

 “Everyone has a story about Long St (Cape Town) where secrets are seldom sacrosanct. Mine emanates from a seedy pub…”

A trip for your tongue through Southern Africa as Justin marries the beauty of travel and cooking together. Side by side, as they most perfectly fit. Your taste buds can thank me, later.


5. My Heart Wanders by Pia Jane Bijkerk (click to buy book here)

 “What would happen if one day you decided to follow  your heart? Where would it take you?

Pia travels to Paris and onwards as she learns how to follow her wandering heart, instinctively and unconditionally. Overflowing with photos that make you want to jump on a plane to somewhere, anywhere.


6. Somebody’s Heart is Burning: A Tale of a Woman Wanderer in Africa by Tanya Shaffer (click to buy book here)

“Here’s what I love about travel: Strangers get a chance to amaze you. Sometimes a single day can bring a blooming surprise, a simple kindness that opens a chink in the brittle shell of your heart and makes you a different person when you got o sleep – more tender, less jaded – than you were when you woke up”

A true story Shaffer stays a year in Africa and works in remote communities volunteering. One woman, one year, one Africa.



7. A House Somewhere edited by Don George & Anthony Sattin (click to buy book here) 

“I know well the delectable thrill of moving into a new house somewhere altogether else, in somebody else’s county, where the climate is different, the light is different, where the mundane preoccupations of life at home don’t seem to apply”

Have you ever dreamt of living ‘some place else’? Well, this collection of stories from people who have upped and re-rooted their lives some place exotic will spur on your dreams.


8. Single White Female In Hanoi by Carolyn Shine (click to buy book here) 

“There’s something to be said for being in new places. Accidental death notwithstanding, it extends your life… your brain has to make so many neural connections that, experientially, time elongates. Maybe that’s why time passes so slowly when you’re a child too – so much information going in, being laid out like a map. In Hanoi, most of this initial information is traffic-related”

Told by a young Australian woman who ventures off to live in Vietnam on a whim. The smells, tastes and textures of Hanoi’s streets come flooding off the page.


9. Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux (click to buy book here)

“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.”

“What I remembered most clearly about this Jinja road was that on portions of it, for reasons no one could explain, butterflies settled in long fluffy tracts. There might be eighty feet of road carpeted by white butterflies, so many of them that if you drove too fast your tires lost their grip, and some people lost their lives, skidding on butterflies.”

Theroux describes the raw beauty and dangers as he travels the length of the ‘dark continent’ and has a way with words that leaves you wanting more.


In the comments below I want to know:

What is your favourite travel book?

What book do you always recommend to your friends?

Do you have any travel books worthy of a read that most of us ‘probably haven’t heard of’?

As always thank you for reading and contributing. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to suggest.




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4 thoughts on “9 Great Travel Books You Have Never Heard Of

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