The best books in which the author has a crazy travel adventure and you get to live it vicariously

R.A. Dalkey Author Of The Road to Innamincka
By R.A. Dalkey

Who am I?

I’m a stubborn ox who won’t ever accept that something can’t be done. Tell me I can’t be a Formula 1 reporter for a particular magazine on the other side of the world, and I’ll embark on a journalism degree. Tell me I can’t be a professional golfer, and I’ll quit my job to get practicing. Tell me I can’t camp here, and up goes my hammock. Tell me to grow up and stop fantasising about driving road trains in Australia, and you’re basically insisting I get a truck licence. I like that being this way creates unique stories and that I have a little talent for writing them down.


I wrote...

The Road to Innamincka

By R.A. Dalkey,

Book cover of The Road to Innamincka

What is my book about?

When a 9-year-old R.A. Dalkey decided he was going to become an Outback truck driver, the poor Australia-besotted boy had no idea what he was getting into.

He’d been born on the wrong continent for a start. And even if he could make it out of Africa one day, where was an Australian work visa to come from? Or, for that matter, a licence to drive 53-metre trucks on red desert roads? But he never let the dream drop—not even decades into adulthood. So join him as he pursues the ultimate whimsical travel quest…

The books I picked & why

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A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland

By Ben Aitken,

Book cover of A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland

Why this book?

How could I not love a book written by a fellow ‘Brexit refugee’? Around the same time Ben Aitken moved to Poland in the wake of the momentous 2016 UK referendum, I fled to Austria. Although we had different motives and his time in Poznan was a temporary adventure, I had to know how it went! And I wasn’t disappointed. There’s dry humour, plenty of self-deprecation, and lots of interesting trivia, which I like. Best of all, it’s a unique premise: “Britain has just reacted to ‘Poles taking our low-paying jobs’. So let me be the first Brit to try going to Poland as a manual labourer, and see how that pans out.” To learn the answers, and have your thoughts provoked whilst being thoroughly entertained, I recommend joining Aitken in the chip shop!

A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland

By Ben Aitken,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Chip Shop in Poznan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A TIMES BESTSELLER

'One of the funniest books of the year' - Paul Ross, talkRADIO

WARNING: CONTAINS AN UNLIKELY IMMIGRANT, AN UNSUNG COUNTRY, A BUMPY ROMANCE, SEVERAL SHATTERED PRECONCEPTIONS, TRACES OF INSIGHT, A DOZEN NUNS AND A REFERENDUM.

Not many Brits move to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop.

Fewer still come back wanting to be a Member of the European Parliament.

In 2016 Ben Aitken moved to Poland while he still could. It wasn't love that took him but curiosity: he wanted to know what the Poles in the UK had left behind. He flew to…


Don’t Go There: From Chernobyl to North Korea—one man’s quest to lose himself and find everyone else in the world’s strangest places

By Adam Fletcher,

Book cover of Don’t Go There: From Chernobyl to North Korea—one man’s quest to lose himself and find everyone else in the world’s strangest places

Why this book?

A humorous travel book that visits a bunch of places I’ve been to, including Pyongyang, Jerusalem, and…Thetford! Yes, please! If you’ve lived a life like Fletcher’s or mine, you’ve got no need for fiction because you know that people putting themselves out there in the real world delivers story-fuel beyond compare. The ‘quest’ here is to ‘lose himself and find everyone else in the world’s strangest places.’ Okay, it’s a little ethereal and refers to some of his relationship woes—but those words give you a perfect insight into the novel way in which the author sees the planet around him. Oh, and having also landed up basing myself in a Germanic country, I can relate to his experience of having a Teutonic girlfriend too!


Notes from a Small Island

By Bill Bryson,

Book cover of Notes from a Small Island

Why this book?

One of the only criticisms we might level at Brill Bryson is that his idea of a crazy quest is likely to be something relatively tameand heaven forbid it should play out in a developing or non-English-speaking country! But we’ll let him off, of course, because of the writing genius he brings to the party. This is a writer whose style and cutting observational humour I consider the benchmark to which my own real-world books must aspire. So his quest to traverse the United Kingdom exclusively by public transport inevitably makes my list. The fact that it was almost three decades ago is (to snatch another of his book titles) neither here nor there.

Notes from a Small Island

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Notes from a Small Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1995, before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire to move back to the States for a few years with his family, Bill Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite; a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named…

A Land of Two Halves

By Joe Bennett,

Book cover of A Land of Two Halves

Why this book?

I don’t really get why Joe Bennett isn’t more famous as a travel writer. The Briton passes through the world with a detached cynicism that results in sheer hilarity. If that’s not enough, this book has a thread: the challenge of hitch-hiking around New Zealand, his adopted homeland. A country that had a cameo part to play in my own Outback truck driver mission. A country with which I have a love-hate relationship. (I love its beauty and old-world charm; I hate it because I’m South African and its rugby team is too keen on beating mine.) Like me, Bennett’s first impressions of the Antipodes came from dead-of-night sports broadcasts. Like me, Bennett wrote about how (in)accurate those were in his book. I think we’d get on…

A Land of Two Halves

By Joe Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Land of Two Halves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After ten years in New Zealand, Joe Bennett asked himself what on earth he was doing there. Other than his dogs, what was it about these two small islands on the edge of the world that had kept him - an otherwise restless traveller - for really much longer than they seemed to deserve? Bennett thought he'd better pack his bag and find out. Hitching around both the intriguingly named North and South Islands, with an eye for oddity and a taste for conversation, Bennett began to remind himself of the reasons New Zealand is quietly seducing the rest of…

Llama Drama

By Anna McNuff,

Book cover of Llama Drama

Why this book?

I’m not usually into reading about places I haven’t visited, because the most interesting thing for me is hearing someone else’s take on things I’ve seen for myself. I get a kick out of nodding along in agreement—or otherwise. But this book came recommended, so despite South America being an enormous gap on my to-do list, I read it. Though it may not score as highly on humour as the others on my list, it’s still a breezy, inspiring read with a quest that arguably eats them all for breakfast. Cycling up and down the Andes for six months is a huge deal. Especially with the same friend, all the time. It certainly isn’t all giggles and selfies. Helmets off to McNuff for sharing the story with such honesty.

Llama Drama

By Anna McNuff,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Llama Drama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in South America, North Korea, and travel?

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