While I wait to know my fate, it doesn’t hurt to start/keep dreaming, does it? It kind of does.

Turns out that if you don’t feed it, the travel bug starts to act up and you begin to exhibit symptoms such as itchy feet and an insatiable lust for (unattainable) wandering.

Side effects include googling backpacks (what do you think of this one?) and checking flight prices obsessively.

One remedy? Vicarious travel.
Here are a few suggestions on how to do this:


Some of my favourite travel blogs right now include:

Lateral Movements Lauren’s amazing blog about working her way around the world is terribly inspiring and well-written.

Plan A  I love reading about Heather and Duncan’s travels. And all the descriptions of yummy food.

nod ‘n’ smile This NYC blogger is going around the world and has great articles, pictures, and tips to show for it. Love her!

There are loads of great travel writers out there (and they seem to be multiplying recently). Here are a few books that I’ve read recently that have had an impact on my life and dreams (in terms of travel).

Mary Kingsley on a stamp.

Mary Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa (1895) I re-read this brick while re-writing my play Virginia Aldridge, BSc last year and was reminded of how adventurous and surprisingly hilarious Mary Kingsley was. After her parents died, she travelled to many places no European had been before and apparently changed some of the perceptions about Africa at the time. She wrestled a crocodile.

Rachel Friedman’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost (2011) I really loved this coming-of-age travel memoir. I related to the ‘good girl’ label sticking a little too firmly and making it hard to just let go. But then she does follow her heart to Ireland and that’s where it all starts… Funny, engaging, and inspiring.

The Lost Girls (2010) by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner.  Although it wasn’t as jam-packed with adventure or revelations as I expected, kudos go to these women for going for it, writing about it, and using their savvy business skills to brand themselves as the ones to follow.

Susan Jane Gilman’s Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven (2009) Not to name-drop or anything, but this memoir was suggested to me by Rachel Friedman (over Twitter).  This is a page-turner about two American girls naively exploring the People’s Republic of China in the 1980s. It’s so engrossing that you won’t mind reading it on the subway, even though the cover is embarrassing (naked girl hiding behind her backpack. Really? Note: the paperback edition cover is much, much better.)

Just realised this is very close to the backpack I want...

Graham Greene’s Travels with my Aunt (1969) Not only will this novel make you laugh out loud, but you will get to travel through Europe, then on the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul and finally to South America with an 70-year-old woman.  Apparently the only book Greene wrote “for the fun of it.”  You can tell.

Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn (2009). I’m not sure if this novel about an Irish girl moving to Brooklyn in the 1950s counts as a travel novel, but it’s one of my all-time favourite books and everyone should read it.  The end.


A few songs to dream about travel by (turns out they’re all folky and about America):

City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie

Harrisburg by Josh Ritter

California by Joni Mitchell

America by Simon and Garfunkel


Away We Go

I Went Down

L’auberge espagnole

Lost in Translation

Into the Wild

The Motorcycle Diaries

Before Sunset

In Bruges