There is something special about a good book that will transport you from a cozy sofa at home to a tropical rain forest in South America or to one of the tallest peaks in the Himalayas.
I caught up with Wan Phing, a traveler and photographer for AsiaRooms.com, and she gave me a list of books that have inspired her to travel. Born and raised in Penang, Malaysia, she has lived in Beijing, London, Benevento, Kuala Lumpur, Manchester and currently resides in Singapore. Perhaps her picks will inspire you to travel, too.
The Beach by Alex Garland
The Beach by Alex Garland has no doubt influenced backpackers the world over who’ve watched Leonardo DiCaprio dive into the azure waters of Ko Phi Phi island in Thailand. Filmed in Maya Bay, the original 1996 novel tells the story of Richard, a young British backpacker who goes in search of a paradise island after meeting a mysterious man in a Khao San Road hostel who hands him a map. A mix of mystery, adventure, danger and romance all in one, The Beach inspired me to discover Ko Phi Phi for myself in 2010, where I explored its limestone rock formations and underwater caves.
The Ripley Books by Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith is one of my all-time favorite authors, and her five Mr. Ripley books; The Talented Mr Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, Ripley Under Water and The Boy Who Followed Ripley are all set in Europe and follow the adventures of Tom Ripley, an American living in France. Highsmith’s stories take you everywhere from the small bars of Fontainebleau in France to the seaside town of Mongibello in Italy and the noisy auction houses of Fleet Street in London. I’ve been so lucky to spend five years traveling around Europe from 2005-2010, no doubt trekking down Mr Ripley’s paths!
The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice
The Tale of the Body Thief is the fourth book of Anne Rice’s highly-acclaimed Vampire Chronicles. It follows the Vampire Lestat, a strong, beautiful and rebellious l’enfant terrible of the vampire world, as he trades bodies with a psychic and causes havoc both in the natural and the supernatural world. Every scene in the book is held in a different continent – his home in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the warm office of his only friend David Talbot in London, the Florida docks where he prowls for victims and the lonely closing scene by a beach in Rio de Janeiro; this book put the Americas on my travel bucket list and is where I’m headed to next.
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What books inspire you to travel?