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Books to set your mind travelling
There are guide books and there are guide books. Some will tell you in great detail ever, what, where, when, why and how. While others will only hint at what you may find. I love reading travel guide books because they fill me with inspiration and ideas. Ideas of places to visit that may never have showed up on my radar screen, not because they are not worthy, but simply because there is so much world to see. So, begin your travels with a good book. And, sometimes, that book is not a guide but a book that will open your mind to possibilities of which you may have never dreamed.
“Dead Man’s Chest: Travels after Robert Louis Stevenson by Nicholas Rankin, is a beautifully researched book, first published in 1950. The author’s passion for Stevenson’s works compelled him to follow in Stevenson’s footsteps from Edinburgh to his home in Samoa. Stevenson is famous for his works set on tropical islands populated with pirates include: Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and the Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson lived in many locations in the South Pacific and Hawaii, travelling further than many of us dare to venture even with all many of comforts available.
“Blue Latitudes” by Tony Horowitz will take you in the paths of Captain James Cook, arguably the world’s greatest explorer and cartographer. Horowitz had sailed to many of these places aboard the replica of Cook’s ship Endeavour and got to experience firsthand the cramped conditions, rolling seas and grueling effort required to undertake such journeys. For biographies of Captain Cook, it’s hard to find one better than “The Life and Times of Captain Cook by John Beaglehole or “Captain Cook, Master of the Seas,” by Frank McLynn. Both tomes (they are prodigious reads), give remarkable insights into this intriguing man and the circumstances and forces that forged his journeys.
“Guns, Germs and Steel,” by historian Jared Diamond is a fascinating look at the forces that have shaped the history of the world. If you have ever wondered why some civilizations have developed so differently from others this book will open your eyes and mind to ideas you may have never considered previously. Livestock, varieties of grain, proximity to other cultures and even the axis of alignment on earth have played major roles in man’s development.
“Pillars of the Earth,” by Ken Follett will have you gazing at the interiors of England and Europe’s great cathedrals in a whole new light. Follett manages to combine historical detail with great accuracy, a touch of geometry and thrilling plot lines.
Take your mind travelling with a good book and find new destinations to visit in the new year.
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