Whether you’re a fan of the latest thriller or you prefer sporting autobiographies, books provide us with a sense of escapism. But they can also inspire us with a sense of wonder, and wanderlust! There is no shortage of books that have centred on great journeys – of both discovery of self and exploration of new places. And with that in mind, here are some of our favourite books that have inspired plenty of walking holidays as we follow in the protagonists footsteps.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
While this book doesn’t offer tips on how to approach a long distance trail, it does show the healing power of immersing yourself in nature. Cheryl Strayed’s autobiography takes the reader on her journey of self-discovery after she decided to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in a bid to heal after a bereavement and broken marriage. Readers will be left encouraged and inspired by her resolve and journey.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
Laurie Lee is a writer renowned for painting picture perfect scenes of halcyon days. And in this, the sequel to Cider with Rosie, we follow Laurie Lee’s journey as young 19 year old out of the Cotswolds and then across Spain, all by foot.
Evocative of summer days of youth, As I Walked Out One Midsummer is a beautifully written ‘coming of age novel’ that effortlessly and vividly describes both Britain and Spain at a time of great change in the 1930s.
Lee’s descriptions of both the landscape and the people he encounters on his journey are delightful and guaranteed to inspire a desire to visit southern England and Spain.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
If laugh-out loud humour is more your thing, then Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods is for you. If you’ve ever had a moment where you have seriously regretted choosing to embark on a long distance trail, then Bryon’s anecdotes of his time traversing the Appalachian Trail will make you feel better!
He talks – with fondness – about his naïve decisions on what to pack, unwanted walking partners and the inevitable unfortunate brushes with nature. He also effortlessly tells the fascinating history of long distance walking in the USA and the wonderful ways it allows use to feel reconnected with nature.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
This best-selling novel and 2012 Man Booker Prize long-list finalist from Rachel Joyce is a heart-warming book about hope and the kindness found from strangers – often during our lowest points. The book is a story of Harrold Fry who goes out to post a letter ends up walking 700 miles over 87 days to see a dying friend. Set in England, it’s hard not to be inspired to head out and explore this beautiful English countryside.