The end of University, and everyone hops on a plane or into a car and floats away to Istanbul, Morrocco, Freedom Festival…anywhere but here. Everyone but me. I was happy to be staying here this summer, working and writing, until it seemed as though the contract on the new place might not go through. Suddenly I was Back-Up Plan Girl and decided that I would dump my stuff at my Mum’s and head to Europe.
Now we’re all moved in safely and happily (Yay!) …and I really want to be on a cramped coach for ten hours jolting towards the mountains. Argh! But I can’t. So instead of sampling the exotic delights of faraway countries, I’m going to put together a good time in England. It can be done! Just take my advice (‘Here, just a bite of this apple, girl…’) and you will no longer be jealous of those wandering fools!
I plan to do lots of travel reading and up my research of volunteering in Peru. Every penny I’m not spending in Amsterdam right now is going towards that. But…I want to go now!
First in the series: books on travel! Vicarious adventures are second only to the real thing. Yeah. If we can’t be there, we can at least hover over their shoulder as they outrun the police in Mexico, flag down spaceships with towels and sail between sea monsters and whirlpools.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Naturally. If you’ve only seen the film, then you’re in for a treat. It’s a trilogy of five, spanning the entire space career of Dent, Arthur Dent as he discovers how to erect a Somebody Else’s Problem field, learns to fly and visits the creator’s message to the Universe. Oh, and there’s Marvin, the Paranoid Android.
On The Road– Jack Kerouac
Grab your best mate, get in a car, and drive. Or read about it in Kerouac’s inimitable style. Upon arriving home, he typed the whole thing out on his typewriter, taping the pages together so he wouldn’t have to stop. (Of course, then his dog ate some of it…) The pace is frantic, energetic and enough to get you standing up to the man. Whatever your reasons for staying home this summer are…they will seem a lot less important after reading this novel. (Warning: May cause you to quite your job and become an international bum. I’m just saying.)
The Odyssey– Homer
While there is a lot of debate about who Homer was and if anyone can truly have ‘written’ The Odyssey, it’s still an epic worth perusing. Odysseus is the original backpacker (though, he did have his own boat for some of it) jamming around the Aegean, just trying to make it back to his spouse…while hanging out with Calypso and Circe for not insignificant amounts of time (nudge nudge). Along the way he loses most of his crew to drugs, blags his way into the court of a king and builds his own boat. Valid lessons for any would-be traveler to learn.
The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test– Tom Wolfe
Not so much a travelling book as taking an extended trip…The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test broadened my horizons considerably. All the thrill of the road is encapsulated in the Furthur Bus’s unique aesthetic, perfect for anyone wanting to put the foot to floor and fly off wherever the road takes them.
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
Gaiman really gets under the skin of London in this informative guide to the Underground System. Follow Richard Mayhew as he navigates sewers, Knight’s Bridge and Earl’s Court as never seen before. What is so terrible about the Blackfriars? Why does Angel get his own tube station? Are there shepherds in Shepherd’s Bush? Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about London, but been afraid to ask, is answered for you in this twist on a tourist leaflet.
I’m not going travelling this summer (wah, wah) but will be getting started on Neverwhere very soon. I’ve only read On the Road by Kerouac (and loved it enough to get a quote tattooed from it) but always meant to read more; I plan to order Dharma Bums soon. When I say I’m not going travelling, I’m still going on ‘holiday’. We plan to head to Brighton for a couple of days at the end of July, and Amsterdam at the end of August. Then I’m jetting off to Corsica in September. Ah, it’s a hard life. I’m really looking forward to it!