Christmas is coming, that’s for sure. Temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter quickly and one look at you town square should suffice to tell that the festive season is upon us. Christmas trees, lights, Santas… Everyone is getting their decorations up. Yet that does also mean that it’s about time to think what you want to gift to your loved ones. It’s never a good time to leave things up to the last minute, as delivery times can get pretty long around this time of year and you don’t want to run around town like a mad person either. Plus, speedy decisions are seldom the best ones.
But what to buy? Let’s be honest, most of us already have a lot of stuff. After all, we do live in a consumer-oriented society, meaning buying something new is part of our weekly, if not daily life. So when you’re buying something as a gift, it’s not always easy to know what the other person already has got. Especially if it’s someone you don’t talk to on a daily basis. And although it’s not the end of the world if you get them something they already have, it’s just nicer if they don’t.
So let’s fantasize a bit here. Let’s say you have to buy something for your cousin, who you know is a big travel lover. Yet as far as equipment goes, you really haven’t got any idea of what he or she needs. Well, in that case, a beautiful travel book is the perfect gift. Most travelers don’t necessarily want to pay for such a thing, as it reduces their actual travel budget. Yet that’s exactly what makes the perfect gift: something someone wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves but secretly always wanted to have. So, here you go, these are five magnificent travel books full of inspiration for their next trip.
1. Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide
The curious traveler out there will surely already be acquainted with Atlas Obscura and more precisely with their side project, Gastro Obscura. Their website boasts with all things strange, from airport currywurst stands made out of airplane parts to a substitute for salt made from ashes. And their book is essentially a paper gathering of all those weird stories and little-known facts. Perfect if your travel-loving friend also has a weak spot for all things yummy (and less yummy).
2. Footsteps: From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco
Amongst travelers all around the globe, The New Yok Times’ column Footsteps is quite famous. In the literary pieces, we dive into the geographic muses and backgrounds from world-famous authors. How exactly did the dirty, seductive Naples inspire Elena Ferrante? What do Saigon and Marguerite Dumas have in common? How did F. Scott Fitzgerald go from the French Riviera all the way to Gatsby’s scandalous world? Well, it’s all in this book.
3. No Signal
If the person you’re buying a gift for speaks a bit of French, No Signal is a fine choice. Brice Portolano gained his fame on social media, where he inspires thousands of people with his perfectly balanced, dreamy travel pictures. In No Signal, he takes this to the next level. He interviewed and of course photographed people all over the world who decided to take a step back from what we consider to be the ‘normal’ society, in order to get closer to nature. What happens when you don’t have internet, electricity, or even running water? Something good, apparently, because their stories are breathtaking.
4. Around the World in 80 Trains
Of course, the title of this book is a not so discrete wink to Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, yet that shouldn’t dampen the fun. On the contrary. Monisha Rajesh traveled across the globe through eighty train journeys, totaling about 45.000 miles, some of which even more legendary than others. From Tibet’s Qinghai railway to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Rajesh wrote down all her adventures, all the out-of-the-ordinary encounters along the way. A book that makes you want to pack your bags, book a train ticket and never look back.
5. Peaks of Europe
Just like Brice Portolano, Johan Lolos is a well-known name on social media. The Belgian photographer captures landscapes like no other yet Peaks of Europe is much more than that. During five months, he travelled all over Europe, living out of his car. A journey which clearly wasn’t always a positive experience yet Lolos doesn’t hesitate to share those moments too, something quite rare within the industry. Along the way, Lolos also dived into the world of portrait photography because, in his words, “At the end, the people I met were what I remembered most.” A piece of art to display proudly in your library.