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Destinations inspired by literature

Literature in itself is a form of escapism. It has the power to create powerful imagery in your imagination and make you long to see a place you’ve only read about. Some describe beautiful landscapes, others captivate us with the people and their culture, and others create a sheer sense of curiosity that we just can’t shake off. We have compiled a list of great reads that have inspired us to travel.

Appointment with Death, Agatha Christie: Petra, Jordan

Appointment with Death is one of many Christie novels inspired by her travels to the Middle East and her interest in archaeology. Christie often leapt at the opportunity to create a murder scene in a romantic foreign location. She shared the popularity 20th Century society had and continue to have, to explore ruined civilisations. Take out the murder and Christie’s novel basically created the dream itinerary; lunching in Jericho, sightseeing in Amman and luxury camping with Bedouin guides in Petra.

The Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway: Paris, France

Les Deux Magots, Café De Flore, Shakespeare and Company. Just a few iconic places mentioned in Hemingway’s memoirs, where he wrote outstanding pieces of literature, spent time with F. Scott Fitzgerald and enjoyed the Parisian café culture. A compilation of manuscripts written in the 1920s, Hemingway describes his life in Paris while he was a struggling young writer. He writes with simplicity yet has a great talent in observing the world and creating snapshots in our imagination of the streets of Paris. He captures Parisian romanticism and gives it such character that it will forever remain a celebration of Parisian life.

The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara: South America

The Motorcycle Diaries is a memoir of the early travels of a young Che Guevara and his friend through South America. The idea came from his desire to explore the South America he knew from books and it definitely inspires us to follow his journey. Journeying on his 1939 Norton motorbike, he records both the disasters and the discoveries of his travels through places like the Atacama Desert, the Amazon River Basin and the Andes. Nothing is sugar-coated, but that exact rugged beauty is what inspires us to visit.

Out of Africa, Karen Blixen: Kenya

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”

Out of Africa is a memoir written by Karen Blixen of when she called Kenya home, providing a snapshot of when European colonists settled in Kenya. Blixen’s descriptions of the people and the landscape in her memoirs make you eager to set out on the untamed and spiritual plains of Kenya. During her relationship with Denys Finch Hatton, she romantically describes safaris through the Maasai Mara and flying by plane over the African plains, describing a type of rough paradise.

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden: Kyoto, Japan

The fictional memoir of a famous Kyoto geisha displays the abundance of culture and well-preserved heritage Kyoto has to offer. Reading this piece of literature creates a sense of familiarity with Japanese customs and sparks the interest to explore where old traditions still thrive. A journey to Hanamachi, the geisha neighbourhoods, may mean getting a glimpse of the mysterious geisha that continue to perform in Kyoto. Gion, the most famous geisha neighbourhood, has an abundance of shops, restaurants and Ochaya tea houses where geisha and maiko (apprentices) entertain.

A Room with a View, E M Forster: Florence, Italy

One of the best novels of the 20th century, A Room with a View is both a romance novel and a humorous critique of British society. While Lucy Honeychurch tours through Florence with her entourage, the city is described in such depth and glamour that you immediately wish to visit the Tuscan capital, the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to the infamous Medici dynasty. The Basilica of Santa Croce, the Tuscan hill town of Fiesole and of course, Arno River and Ponte Vecchio are some of the novel’s locations.

Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie: Venice Simplon Orient Express

The main storyline may be murder, but throughout the plot the descriptions of the famous Orient Express make the reader want to ride the midnight-blue train themselves. It is the uncontested icon of trains and emulates the opulence and elegance of the 1920s. Just like the characters, you will feel detached from the outside world, in a bubble of luxury. Celebrate artisanal cuisine, relax in the gold and blue interiors of the Iconic 3674 bar car and take in breathtaking scenery from the comfort of your glamorous carriage.

The Jungle Book. Rudyard Kipling

“The air was full of all the night noises that, taken together, make one big silence”

From the short-tempered black panther Baheera to the mysterious and powerful Bengal tiger Shere Khan, we dream to see the inspirations that created the familiar characters of our childhood. We all are curious to see the lively landscape echoed in The Jungle Book, where there is the freedom to move between worlds. Satpura and Kanha National Parks are the real-life Jungle Book locations and are on most of our bucket lists thanks to Rudyard Kipling.

The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton: New York, USA

The Age of Innocence is a novel by Edith Wharton set in the 1920s among the upper-class American society. It is a tragic love story set among the old world of rigid and proper New York society, at a time when the old and new conventions were colliding. Wharton’s assessments of architecture and society may possess a sadness, but there is an undeniable romanticism about it that makes the reader curious to visit New York and to step into the world of glamour and luxury themselves.

Eat, Pray, Love: Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is a memoir about Gilbert’s trip around the world after her divorce and her quest to find happiness. Spending time in some of the most culturally rich and picturesque countries in the world, the book is bound to make you feel inspired to travel. However, the difference is that she embraces the solo traveller, she celebrates travelling by yourself and encourages people to go soul-searching through the glorious world without the need for a partner.

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