A majority of people turn to books to escape real life and enter a place where then can spiritually grow. Some books provide answers to our questions.
The Road to Oxiana
Written in 1933, The Road to Oxiana tells the real-life events of author Robert Byron. Documenting his time through the Middle East, Byron keeps a record of his discoveries and adventures. Being a British travel writer, Byron’s realistic re-telling of his adventures allows two cultures to collide and create an interesting dialogue. It also provides modern readers with a painting of traveling during a simpler time.
The Twenty-One Balloons
1948 appears to be long ago, yet for this small novel written by William Pene du Bois, it’s still timely. To escape teaching mathematics, Professor William Waterman Sherman attempts to fly across the Pacific Ocean. When he crash-lands on the island Krakatoa, he uncovers a world of imagination. The best thing The Twenty-One Balloons does is proving age is not a factor in unearthing our adventurous side.
One of the most decorated novels of its time, The Alchemist covers a broad spectrum of ideas relating to travel. The book was written in 1992. The story centers on the self-discovery of Santiago in search of a grand treasure. Through his adventure to find physical treasure, Santiago realizes spiritual knowledge and wisdom is worth more than gold. This novel does an excellent job at portraying the life-changing effects of traveling.
Many people know the name, Jack Kerouac. Through the Beat Poetry movement, Kerouac is an American household name. First published in 1958, The Dharma Bums follows two brilliant American writers in their quest for the truth. Traversing the American terrain, Kerouac combines the beauty of nature and the privilege of traveling into an instant classic.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost
This last novel on this list is much more modern than Kerouac, but still just as timely. A Field Guide to Getting Lost (2006) is written as an interesting set of autobiographical essays. Author Rebecca Solnit writes about the act of wandering and being lost. The result is an empowering novel that screams for self-discovery in its readers. Her extremely personal essays open up on much larger topics than all of us, showing how much we still have to learn.
These five novels do an excellent job of expressing the need to travel. Whether for spiritual gains or self-fulfillment, reading about discovering our paths is a great place to begin. While these are not the only novels about travel, they offer a valuable insight into the crucial necessity of travel.