Top 5 novels about travel and adventure

by | Feb 14, 2020

All frequent travellers know that travel, especially off the beaten track trips, come with a bit of downtime. I’m an avid reader and I love reading about adventure travel almost as much as actually venturing out myself… So, for all you wandering book worms out there; here’s our top 5 of novels about travel and adventure!

1. On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads by Tim Cope
In 2007 Australian adventurer Tim Cope completed a 10,000km horseback ride across the Eurasian Continent, aiming to retrace Genghis Khan’s westward expansion of the Mongol Empire in the 13th-century. The award-winning book recounts his 3-year-long odyssey across the steppe from the former empire’s capital city in Karakorum, Mongolia, to the Danube River in Hungary – which was the furthest extent of Khan’s reign in Europe.

2. My Life as an Explorer by Sven Hedin
In 1880, a 15-year-old Sven Hedin witnessed Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld’s ship sail into Stockholm’s harbour after completing the first-ever crossing of the Northeast Passage – a challenging high latitude sea route that weaves its way through Russia’s Arctic waters from the borders of Norway to the Bering Strait. Inspired by Nordenskiöld’s feat of daring-do, Hedin went on to become an explorer too, undertaking numerous multi-year expeditions from 1885 onward. Published in 1925, My Life as an Explorer covers his decades-long adventures throughout Eurasia; from dodging gun-toting bandits in Ottoman Turkey, traveling on horseback through the Persian and Russian Empires, clandestine visits into Tibet searching for the source of the Indus and Brahmaputra Rivers, and a daring journey by camel into Western China’s Taklamakan Desert.

3. The Raven’s Gift by Jon Turk
American adventurer and writer, Jon Turk, has a quiver full of expeditions to his name; big wall first ascents on Baffin Island, first ski descents in Kyrgyzstan, kayaking across the North Pacific and circumnavigating Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. The Raven’s Gift tells the true story of Turk’s chance meeting with Moolynaut, a Koryak shaman living in Vyvenka village on the north end of Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Although the book has inspiring tales of skiing across the frozen tundra of the Russian Far East, the real journey unfolds when Moolynaut induces a vision in him to heal his injured pelvis – broken the year before in a mountaineering accident – which proves to be a life-altering experience.

4. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The international bestseller, Into the Wild, is a biography on Christopher McCandless, a young American man who cut ties with his family after graduating from university in 1990, donated all of his $24,500 college fund to Oxfam, and travelled across the United States to the west coast. Two years later, after hitchhiking his way north, he was found dead inside of an abandoned school bus in the Alaskan backcountry due to starvation triggered by toxins in Eskimo potato seeds or a virulent strain of mold known to grow on them. Despite the tragic ending, the book is a moving tribute to McCandless. It offers a sensitive critique of societal expectations, risk-taking behavior, and the struggle of finding one’s place in the world.

5. The Big Open: On Foot Across Tibet’s Chang Tang by Rick Ridgeway
In 2003, Rick Ridgeway joined Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Galen Rowell on a 275-mile crossing of the Chang Tang plateau in north-western Tibet. Their objective was to find the chiru’s birthing grounds, a type of endangered antelope hunted by poachers for its high-value wool, and in doing so, petition the Chinese government to establish a protected area. Pulling customised rickshaws, they travelled for one month following pregnant female chiru through the high desert, which reaches altitudes over 5000m. Along the way, they encounter unexpected challenges ranging from equipment failure, torturously-thick mud, and rugged gorges which threaten to scupper their adventurous conservation project.

Fancy a bit of adventure yourself? Reach out to us to get more information about upcoming trips!