BLOG - The next 4 books from my library at home inspired me the most. I hope they inspire you too.
Every time when I travel you can find in my backpack one or more books. And I know, there are such things as an e-reader or a tablet. But personally, I still want to feel between my fingers the paper of a good book. Most of the time I read some travel books because they inspire me and make me dream of travelling.
1. I'm off then: losing and finding myself on the Camino de Santiago
This book from Hape Kerkeling is my number one. And I can give you a lot of reasons for that.
I know I’m a workaholic. And in the past my main goal from working was to reach big money. And if I’m honest, I was good in that with the job I did. But it was not what I was looking for in my life. So, I got a very big burn out. A few years later in 2007 I picked up that book in the library. And in one day I had read the whole book. I knew already after a few seconds I was reading in the book, that I had to do the same as Kerkeling was doing in his book.
At the end of the same week I was in the south of France and started my most beautiful travel ever. In 35 days I walked without budget, without experience, without preparation, without the necessary equipment and with a backpack of 6 kg of luggage over 850 kilometres. On that trip I decided to make my dream come true: to be a writer and a traveller.
Kerkeling's book is filled with quirky fellow pilgrims, historic landscapes, and Kerkeling’s self-deprecating sense of humour, ‘I’m Off Then’ is an inspiring travelogue, a publishing phenomenon, and a spiritual journey unlike any other.
Overweight, overworked, and physically unfit, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the pilgrimage across the French Alps to the Spanish Shrine of St. James, a 1200-year-old journey by many people every year. But that didn’t stop him from getting off the couch and walking. Along the way, lonely and searching for meaning, he began the journal that turned into this engaging book. Simply by struggling with his physical limitations and the rigors of long-distance walking, he discovered a deep sense of peace that transformed his life and allowed him to forgive himself and others.
It has sold over 3 million copies and been translated into eleven different languages. Pilgrims have increased along the Camino by 20 percent since the book was published.
Book: Ich bin dann mal weg. Meine Reise auf dem Jacobsweg (I'm off then: losing and finding myself on the Camino de Santiago), 2006, Hape Kerkeling.
2. Best foot forward
This hilarious true story from Susie Kelly, the writer of ‘Best foot forward’, inspired me to a lot of travels. The book is about a solo walk across France from La Rochelle on the west coast to Lake Geneva over the Swiss border.
Through this book I decided to undertake my trip on the tops of the Pyrenees, but also my hike from the north of Belgium via the Netherlands to Luxembourg over 450 kilometres. And I’m sure there will be follow more of this kind of trips.
With no experience of hiking or camping, not to mention using a compass, Susie Kelly found out the hard way that it is possible to be overloaded and ill-prepared at the same time. Scorching days, glacial nights, perpetual blisters, inaccurate maps, a leaking tent and an inappropriate sleeping bag were daily vexations, but as she hobbled eastwards, the glory of the French landscape revealed its magic and the kindness of strangers repaid her discomfort in spades.
Book: Best foot forward, 2003, Susie Kelly.
3. On foot through Africa
Ffyona Campbell, the writer of this book, is the first woman who ever walked around the whole world. She covered 32.000 kilometres over 11 years and wrote about her experience in a series of three books. One of the books is ‘On Foot Through Africa’.
It's a remarkable story about a woman who walks across the entire continent of Africa. I found it intriguing that someone would even be inspired to do this, and it was interesting to read about all her encounters along the way. Until now, this book can only make me dream about the almost impossible: a walk around the world.
She left Cape Town, South Africa and walked the length of Africa covering over 16.000 kilometres before arriving in Tangiers, Morocco two years later. She had been joined by her boyfriend, British survival expert Ray Mears, for five months during the journey through Zaire after an uprising had forced her and her team to abandon the support vehicle and be evacuated by the French Foreign Legion along with all the other expats. She was able to return to central Africa within weeks of the evacuation and continued walking from the place she had left.
During the stretch across the Sahara, she walked an extra 4.000 kilometres around a war zone to avoid missing out any steps. She reached Tangiers and was greeted by the international media. The walk raised awareness of Survival International, an organisation which helps protect the lives of threatened tribal people. She wrote about this journey in her book ‘On foot through Africa’. It’s an amazing story from an amazing woman. If you love hiking, adventure and the outdoors it's well worth a read.
Book: On foot through Africa, 1994, Ffyona Campbell.
4. The child of the snows
I’m not sure that this book from Nicolas Vanier, a French adventurist, writer and director, is published in English and if it’s the right title. I was reading it in Dutch.
I do not like the cold myself, but that is rather because I feel cold very quickly. But that does not stop me from dreaming about cold destinations like Iceland, Antarctica and Alaska. And when I was reading this book, I realized that one day I should take the step towards these cold places.
This book is the story of the fulfilment of a lifetime dream. Nicolas Vanier and his wife travel with their daughter for around a year through the snowy wilderness of Canada. Their dream becomes reality. They build a log cabin, hunt, fish and find their own food. In winter it can be minus 50 degrees Celsius and they are 2.000 kilometres away from any kind of civilization. It’s a story about an ordinary family on a not so ordinary trip.
Book: l’Enfant des Neiges (The child of the snows), 1995, Nicolas Vanier.
Text: T. Hanan S.
Pictures: various cover photos
ME Magazine & Blog
Magnificent-Earth.com is an online 'Magazine & Blog' from the Belgian traveller and adventurer Thierry Hanan Scheers travelling around the globe. Be sure you follow the adventures! You can find at Magnificent-Earth.com reports, stories, photos, videos and more about travel and culture at worldwide destinations. Discover at Magnificent-Earth.com the beautiful and wonderful places of our planet, far and close to home.
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