There's a special appeal with travel writing books that transcends snapshots captured on social media. The narratives weave anecdotes, observations, and raw emotions together into stories that carry away readers. They reflect fascinating accounts of journeys through the ages, and of how our world is constantly evolving.
From the earliest of times, writers and explorers across the continents have kept journals of their travels. Herodotus' Mediterranean details in 440 B.C.E. and Pausanias' impressions of Greece in 150 A.D. were indicative of people somewhat familiar with the lands. This then changed in the 12th through 17th centuries, to a common theme of people traveling to foreign territories. Notable vintage travel writing books range from Petrarch's 1336 Mont Ventoux adventures and Jean Chardin's 1673-1677 wanderings in Persia, to Charles Darwin's 1831 Voyage of the Beagle, which became a rich foundation of notes for his future Origin of Species.
'Armchair' writing in the 19th and early 20th centuries countered first-hand experiences. These were stories created from bits and pieces of actual travelogues, but by writers who never left home. However, that period also saw a rise in authentic works by female writers who went abroad to find purpose beyond what they felt were Victorian-era restrictions. Mary Kingsley's 1897 Travels in West Africa and Freya Stark's 1934 log of the Middle East, The Valley of the Assassins, are among the influential entries of that time.
Then and now, these essays cover more than just landscapes; they reveal personal insights into political climates, trade customs, and other facets that define a region. Whether it's anthologies like Her Fork in the Road: Women Celebrate Food and Travel by Lisa Bach or the singular A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson, take a look at AbeBooks' extensive inventory. When you're ready to buy travel writing books, find mint condition and lovingly dog-eared hardcovers and paperbacks to enhance your collection.