Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Iris Sinilong
When life gets too hectic and you aren’t able sneak away some travel time, why not venture to a faraway place from the comfort of your couch, front porch, or local coffee shop? Experience historic cities and serene beaches through the pages of travel novels, and maybe find some romance or mystery in there too.
Travel literature helps our minds escape when our bodies can’t. In these novels, settings are as important as characters, acting not only as the backdrop in which lives are set but as the influencing and inspiring forces.
We’ve chosen three feel-good travel novels that have at their core a journey of self-discovery- something common in travel literature that captures the essence of travel itself. As author Elizabeth Eaves says: “The best kind of travel- the kind I wanted to experience- involves a particular state of mind, in which one is not merely open to the occurrence of the unexpected, but to deep involvement in the unexpected, indeed, open to the possibility of having one’s life changed forever by a change encounter.”
- In Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, Elizabeth Gilbert recounts her time abroad hoping to find herself again.
- Jack Kerouac’s On the Road documents the adventures of Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise as they journey throughout America over the course of years.
- Pi, the protagonist in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi embarks on a spiritual quest through India, Mexico, Toronto, and the Pacific Ocean while struggling to survive on a shipwrecked boat.
Have you read any of these novels? Do you have a favourite travel novel about self-discovery? Tell us in the comments below!