The ultimate travel companion: the best books to bring on your next adventure

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. – Dr. Seuss.

Here at BIRD, we are strong believers in these wise words from the doctor, which is why we’ve lined up a few of our favourite on-the-road reads to inspire wanderlust in every type of traveller. Read on for more…

For the dreamer – Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

This pint-sized novella will fit nicely into your hand luggage, but packs a punchy motivational message longer tales could only dream of. It tells the story of Jonathan Living Seagull, a rebellious soul who rejects the conventions of seagull society and a life of ‘ simply eating and surviving’ to pursue his love of flying. If you’re dithering over whether to embark on that solo trip around the globe, this one’s for you; there’s no one quite like old Jonathan Livingston to make you realise the importance of making the most of our lives, even if goals run contrary to the norms of our flock. It’s not for nothing that this has become one of the most celebrated inspirational fables of our time.

 For the adventurer – Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart, Tim Butcher

Blood River by Tim Butcher

This Sunday Times bestseller tells the autobiographical adventure of Telegraph journalist Tim Butcher’s solo trip through the Congo, as he retraces the legendary expedition of Henry Morgan Stanley. This certainly isn’t one for the fainthearted and at times it’s a difficult read, as it casts a spotlight on the dark and turbulent history of a failed continent. However, it’s a truly epic account of one man’s eye-opening journey into Conrad’s untamed ‘heart of darkness’, and cannot fail to capture the imagination of adventurers the world over.

For the sun-worshipper – Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Time to turn to a more lighthearted read as we line up our pick for those slow and sun-baked days of poolside lounging. Enter girl-of-the-hour and former Sunday Times dating columnist, Dolly Alderton, who has just launched her must-have manual on life and love. This delightfully honest and daringly intimate account is sure to resonate with all ages thanks to Dolly’s glittering wit and articulate writing, and will leave you in turns laughing, crying and sighing with relief that there’s someone out there in the same boat as you.

For the thinker – The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

An alienated Pakistani man and his brief encounter with an American stranger form the basis of this traveller’s tale, with Hamid artfully highlighting our unfortunate tendency to judge one another based on clothing, skin colour and mannerisms. This one is sure to get the brain whirring and questioning one’s own preconceived beliefs and attitudes, and is a good one to flick through prior to setting off on a trip to any new place.

For the wellness-warrior – The Anxiety Solution, Chloe Brotheridge

The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge

You nearly missed your flight, forgot the suncream, left the rental villa unlocked and told the beach boy ‘estoy caliente’ (which translates to something rather spicier than ‘I’m hot’, as many a Brit discovers on their first trip to Spain). Time to stop and take stock, which is why we’ve got The Anxiety Solution on hand for the next sunny trip – the ultimate guide to a calmer, happier and more confident life. The creation of therapist Chloe Brotheridge, this little stress-buster takes an in-depth look at anxiety in the modern world, from social media pressure and perfectionism to fear of failure, and is your one-stop shop for regaining control of your life. Fancy combining self-care with a sun tan? Chloe will be running an exclusive series of Anxiety Solution workshops at Gili Lankanfushi from 10-17 November 2018.

For the nature lover – A Vision of Eden, Marianne North

A Vision of Eden by Marianne North

 This list wouldn’t be complete without at least ONE picture book (because we’re all still children at heart, aren’t we?), and especially when it’s from Victorian girl-crush Marianne North. This English biologist and botanical artist was one of our most prolific explorers who travelled the globe to satisfy her avid wanderlust, back when solo travel wasn’t a thing, especially for a woman. Always equipped with her paintbrush and oils, Marianne composed over 800 paintings of flora and fauna while visiting a total of 17 coutries, which you’ll find detailed in this wildly colorful tome along with a collection of beautiful musings on her far-flung journeys. See the full collection at the dedicated Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens.

Suitcase suitably groaning with the weight of books to be devoured? Now all you need is the backdrop to go with the book. Well hello thereSão Lourenço do Barrocal.

Credit: Nelson Garrido