Take an imaginary trip with these 6 books

Alix M Campbell

Senior Contributor

You’re sinking into a soft cushion while being protected from the gleaming sun by a red-and-white striped sunshade. There’s a refreshing lemonade within arm’s reach, a nice piece of juicy watermelon next to it and you’re sporting your favourite sunglasses. As you get more comfortable in your sunbed, you grab one of these books (or all of them) and let yourself be transported into another world. You’re ready to immerse yourself into these entertaining stories filled with novel experiences and sprinkled with adventure. Let the learning begin.

On Mexican Time by Tony Cohan

The author takes you on a trip to Mexico in the year 1985. A time when he visited the charming town of San Miguel de Allende together with his wife. This colonial city in the hills of Central Mexico oozes with charm, as you join the couple and take a walk over cobblestones passing colourful houses and buildings of baroque, neoclassical and neogothic origin. It’s hard not to fall under the spell of the vibrant ambiance and leisurely pace of San Miguel, just like the protagonists, who in a whirlwind decide to sell their home in California and buy and refurbish a house in Mexico. Naturally, many adventures ensue.

Orkney by Amy Sackville

This book takes you to a remote island in Orkney, an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland. The protagonists of the book, a literature professor and his student turned wife, travel there for their honeymoon. The author manages to bring an incredible intensity to the description of the place, and you can’t help but get dragged into the cosy cabin, that shelters them from the relentless elements and the power of nature of this secluded place. It’s hard not to keep turning the pages when the professor’s bride seems to slip away further and further and he begins to question the true nature of the young women he married.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

Something for history buffs and adventurers alike, this book takes you on a journey to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu, undertaken by Hiram Bingham III. The author puts on his hiking boots and makes his way through majestic remote landscapes together with his tough survivalist guide from Australia. The book goes back and forth between 1911, when the original adventure took place, and our present day, when this adventure writer tries to uncover the secrets around the place we know today as Machu Picchu.

Driving over Lemons by Chris Stewart

Juicy, ripe lemons, sunny Spain and a charming protagonist. A delightful read for a warm summer’s day. Similar to “On Mexican Time”, you’re able to witness a rash decision to purchase a house in a foreign country, this time it’s a couple from the UK who decide to give up their old lives to run an Andalusian mountain farm. The location is so isolated that they have to overcome obstacles like no running water or electricity. Language barriers and a clash of cultures makes for many hilarious moments during this read. 

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

The author is known for his humorous travel books covering Europe, Australia and the United States of America. In this book he takes you on a strenuous hike of the longest continuous footpath in the world, the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. Bryson undertakes this 2,200-mile-long walk with his poorly prepared friend Stephen Katz as they wander through wilderness filled with bears, poisonous plants and merciless insects. Deep into the book as the hikers face savage weather conditions you’ll be wishing for a soft bed and some sunshine. Oh wait…

The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux

In this book the author takes you on a train journey down the length of North and South America, starting in Boston. From ice-bound Massachusetts via the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu (which we’ve just discovered in detail) to the most southern tip of Argentina, you’ll be suffering in dry heat, before shivering in the cold as you climb and plummet through the landscape, getting distracted by different personalities encountered along the way. A book that evokes wanderlust as it has you travelling to ‘the end of the line’.

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