The Long Way Home

Travel books that aren’t necessarily about travel

Some books to read when you can’t go anywhere

The Moon by Night by Madeline L’Engle

Madeline L’Engle is better known for her science fiction rather than her spiritual writings in the Episcopal church, but it’s her non science fiction chronicles that make me love her writing so much. The church I attended as a kid was chockfull of her young adult books,  and The Moon by Night was one of my favorites. In the second book of  the Austin family series, Vicky Austin confronts growing pains and first love while traveling cross-country with her family in a ramshackle camper. While the thoughts of traveling with my own family would have me running for the hills, I always thought it would be so cool to live in a house on wheels, and I loved the groovy 1970s bookcover, and the interconnected world of L’Engle characters.

Nancy Drew Mystery Series

Who the hell knows which state River Heights actually exists, but it’s in close proximity to New York City and Chicago, as well as Shadow Ranch, Moonstone Castle and the ghostly Blackwood Hall. I was always envious that Nancy and her chums were lucky enough to encounter mysterious mannequins in Turkey, or solve crimes in such exotic locales as Japan and Scotland. They had all the time and money in the world. It wasn’t until I was an adult who could afford her own travels that I asked, how did Nancy do it? When I want to escape to the Forgotten City, I think of eating tea sandwiches at roadside inns, lunch always interrupted by the next adventure.

Culinaria Hungary

This beautiful cookbook is more travelogue than recipe collection. With its stunning photography and detailed historical research, each region of Hungary comes to life through the pages. It makes me want to climb into the book and emerge from Budapest on the other side.

The Oblivion Seekers by Isabelle Eberhardt

Isabelle Eberhardt was a late-Victorian female traveler who spent much of her time primarily in Algeria. She dressed in men’s clothes, converted to Islam and traveled through the North African deserts alone. Unlike Isabella Bird or Gertrude Bell, women travelers who made a living through their travel writings, Isabelle was addicted to morphine which often clouded her judgment as well as hampered her writing ability. The Oblivion Seekers, translated by Paul Bowles, is more a collection of diary-like pieces rather than short stories. Most of her journals were washed away in a flash flood, which killed her at the age of 27.


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