Great travel books for tough times

reading cross-legged
Public Domain Unsplash / Blaz Photo

If you can't travel in real life, try to see the world through the pages of a book.

Trapped in the confines of our own homes, unable to venture out into the world, there has never been a better time to engage in some armchair travel. Grab a great book and lose yourself in the worlds beyond your walls. Relive what it's like to explore foreign countries, taste new foods, twist your tongue around exotic words. Fill your mind with spectacular scenery, dialogue with strangers, and inspiring stories about others facing difficult times. From real places to fantasy worlds, the following list showcases the TreeHugger staff's top picks for escapist reads.

Melissa Breyer, Editorial Director of TreeHugger

  • 'Landmarks' by Robert MacFarlane: This book is described as "a love letter to the British Isles." It's a glossary of sorts, full of thousands of words used throughout the United Kingdom to describe land, nature, and weather.
  • 'A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail' by Bill Bryson: Tracing the famous trail that runs from Georgia to Maine, Bryson is an entertaining tour guide who describes ecological and historical findings along the way.
  • 'The Rings of Saturn' by W.G. Sebald: This tells the story of a walking tour along the coast of England and interesting encounters that happen along the way.
  • 'My Life in France' by Julia Child: An autobiographical account of Child's arrival in France and how she discovered a passion for cooking.

Katherine Martinko, staff writer

  • 'Land of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road' by Kate Harris recounts an epic 10-month bicycle tour from Turkey to Tibet, Nepal, and Kashmir. (Read my review here.)
  • 'The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit' by Michal Finkel is the captivating tale of a man who seemed to leave for a weekend camping trip but didn't reappear for a quarter century. (Read my review here.)
  • 'Island of the Blue Dolphins' by Scott O'Dell tells of a 12-year-old girl stranded for years on an island off the coast of California and how she survived.

Lloyd Alter, staff writer

  • 'Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written' by Leonard Bickel. Lloyd says, "The title really says it all, as did Edmund Hillary, calling it 'the most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history.' You will never want to leave home again."
  • 'The Worst Journey in the World' by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. "My favorite travelogues are in Antarctica. Wonderful description of Scott's fatal mission."

Lindsey Reynolds, social media editor and writer

  • 'The Chronicles of Narnia' by C.S. Lewis is a 7-book fantasy series originally written for children, but just as delightful for adults.
  • 'Anne of Green Gables' by L.M. Montgomery offers a heartwarming portrayal of rural life on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Lindsey says someday she'll visit.
  • 'Lonesome Dove' by Larry McMurtry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Western novel described as "the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America."

What are you reading right now? Please share in the comments below.

Great travel books for tough times
If you can't travel in real life, try to see the world through the pages of a book.

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