Nine Travel Novels to Escape To

Many of us envisioned 2020 as our travel year. We booked flights to Japan or Italy. We were looking forward to a relaxing few days on a luxurious cruise. Unfortunately, we had to cancel such plans in the name of health safety. We all stayed at home and dealt with the effects of quarantining on our mood.

One of the ways to cope is to focus on self-care and relaxation. You can finally invest in a laser treatment to permanently remove body hair and feel good about your skin. You can treat yourself to small luxuries such as a well-aged bottle of wine. And, most importantly, you can focus on rest and relaxation by curling up on the couch with a good book. What’s great, though, is that you can also do a bit of traveling on your own with these books.

1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

That’s right, you can also turn to fantasy when you have a travel craving to quench. In one of Neil Gaiman’s classics (that was also made into a TV show on Amazon Prime Video), you can join Shadow and Mr. Wednesday. They drive across America, uncover its mysteries, and discover its secrets.

2. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

This story is also about a road trip across America, much like American Gods. But this one is very much different. Instead, it’s full of rebellion and freedom. As one of the tenets of the Beat Generation movement in literature, this novel features Sal and Dean as they brought a whole new meaning to the American Dream—or the debunking of it, rather.

3. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This story shows that no one is too old for an adventure. On his 100-year-old birthday, Allan Karlsson, a man in surprisingly good health, decided that he is not about to spend the rest of his days in a nursing home. Through this book, you’ll get to see the world through the eyes of a person who’s old and jaded. But he rediscovers its beauty, and all that it has to offer.

4. Arcadia by Jim Crace

Another fail-safe way of relaxing and forgetting our worries for a bit is by delving into an imaginative world. Victor, an elderly millionaire, explores his unnamed city and immerses himself in the city’s corners that he used to ignore.

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5. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to travel to India? What about becoming a citizen, a fully-immersed member of its society? Well, this novel would be the best fit for you. You can join with Lin, an escaped convict from Australia. He goes to India and uncovers the underworld of Bombay—a world that is ignored by many. In the underworld, the beggars, gangsters, prostitutes, ex-convicts, and other exiled members of society dwell.

6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

An international bestseller, this classic is cited as one of the prime novels you have to read. It takes you on an adventure of knowing deeper about the world and yourself. Santiago, the protagonist, is initially set on traveling from his native town in Spain to the deserts of Egypt for the purpose of finding a treasure. Instead, he finds an invaluable realization of his inner self. No travel is more fruitful than that.

7. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

Japan is on most people’s bucket list of dream destinations. But if you want to get to know the Japanese culture, Haruki Murakami is the greatest teacher for you. In this novel, you can join Toru Okada as he navigates the real and the fantasy in Japan, gets to know its hidden gems and encounters a set of colorful characters.

8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

If you crave some form of escapism, there is no better way than going beyond the world, beyond your imagination. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect embark on a journey to outer space. There, they find that the vast universe does hold more wonder than they could have ever anticipated.

9. The Odyssey by Homer

This timeless classic is the pinnacle of travel stories. It tells the story of Odysseus’ resilience, wit, and will. He travels back home after enduring the horrors of the Trojan War. His story shows us a whole new meaning of home after being away from it for so long.

The travel industry is one of those that took a big hit from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It might take a while before we could go on an adventure. So you can sit back, relax, and join the characters of these books as they embark on a journey to various places around the world (and beyond!), and gain new perspectives on life.