Travel is not just a simple physical act of packing your bags and taking off on a next holiday you booked in a rush, just so you can get busy and exhausted in a different country. “Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with existence or the exotic. It is almost always an inner experience” (Paul Theroux). The mindfulness or paying attention to our present-moment experiences can be so easily applied to travel. To celebrate the mindful travel and to encourage the absolutely terrifying idea of putting your phone down, we have put together a list of books that will help you get in the mood before embarking on your holiday and will keep you away from the busy mind during travel.
1. The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World (Lonely Planet)
This must be the ultimate introduction to a world of travel. Take a journey through every country in the world in 850 images. We can guarantee, you will make travel plands for a few years ahead afterwards!
2. The Lonely Planet Guide To Experimental Travel
Quirky, fun, bizarre, unique…How to shift your focus to travelling and not reaching the destination. Good news, many of the experiments are easy to complete without traveling to far-off locations. If you’d had to chose just one book to read this year, please make it this one!
3. Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
The book by Ian Frazier, a funny and very skilled storyteller, is an indispensable contribution to the travel-writing genre. It’s a unique chronicle of amazingness of Russia that will leave you book hangover.
4. Through Siberia by Accident by Dervla Murphy
This is a book about a journey that didn’t happen, and what happened instead …The showcase of Siberian hospitality towards strangers and the descriptions of the beauty of the region will forever shatter any stereotypes of a bleak and unhospitable Russia you may still have.
5. The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us by Francis Tapon
3 years and 25 countries; plenty of insightful facts and anecdotes. If you are looking to learn about the stereotypes (and drinking habits 😊) of Easter Europeans, this is the book for you. No country is safe in this entertaining culture guide!
6. Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People by Jonathan Dimbleby
An absolute classic for anyone wanting to travel to Russia. Jonathan Dimbleby crosses eight time zones and covers 10,000 miles, from Murmansk to Vladivostok, trying to get beneath the skin of modern Russia. Exceptionally good.
7. Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist by Daniel Kalder
If you know all about Russia already and are on the lookout for something different, the Lost Cosmonaut is for you. Explore some (and there are lots) of the obscure republics of Soviet Europe: Tatarstan, Kalmykia, Mari El, and Udmurtia. The Evening Standard called Kalder The Bill Bryson with Tourette’s…so that might be enough to make you want to read it.
8. The House by the Dvina: A Russian Childhood by Eugenie Fraser
A delightful memoir written by Russian-Scottish author. It all starts with the years leading up to the Russian Revolution to 1920. If you are not into travel writing, chose The House by the Dvina and immerse yourself into the lives of two families separated in culture and geography but bound together by a Russian-Scottish marriage.
9. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
One of the best-loved works in all of Russian literature. One day, the devil arrives in Soviet-era Moscow and chaos follows. What makes it a fascinating read, that the people and places that feature in the novel can be retraced in real-life Moscow. Next time you are in the Russian capital, pop in to the Flat number 50, ulitsa Sadovaya where the M.A. Bulgakov Museum was set up in 2007 via a government initiative. To enter, ring the doorbell of number 50, as the building is still a functioning apartment block.
10. Moscow Noir (Akashic noir) by Natalia Smirnova, Julia Goumen
If like us you are inspired to read any books that are set in your next travel destination, you might as well explore some dark crime fiction…set in Moscow and full of all those dreary stereotypes. As reviewed in Russian life magazine: Deliciously dark feast of fables and horror stories, murders and farces. It is noir with a decidedly Russian twist. Gogol would love it.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Are you staying in the grand 5* Metropol hotel in Moscow? This mega-bestseller (soon to be made into a movie with and by Kenneth Branagh!) tells a story of Count Alexander Rostov who, deemed unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, the hotel across the street from the Kremlin.
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