Feel like travelling ? Books are our best companions !

Our taste in reading may change, depending on our mood ; these days I’ve been reading books that took me far away, three books that made me travel on the whole planet :

tribulations

The first one is from Philippe J. Dubois, french author and ornithologist. Some of his birds guides have been translated in english, but I don’t think this one has.

In this book he recalls his most fantastic expeditions : wandering through Chitwan Park in Nepal, Dubois comes close to a tiger (!), in Myanmar he has to cope with extremely suspicious authorities, in Morocco they have repetitive problems with an old Peugeot car. On another expedition he’s lucky to discover Siberia at the beginning of the 90’s, just after the opening of Russia to foreign visitors, and this time he travels as far as Sakhalin Island and then back to the continent.

Alaska, Georgia (in the Caucasus), Mongolia, Antarctica, Dubois went everywhere on the planet, and the last chapter is set in Ouessant Island, most western point of Brittany (and most western point of mainland France), well-known spot for birdwatchers.

I’ve always been interested in wildlife, as a kid I was devouring books about animals, but it kind of vanished later. From time to time, I find books that rekindle this interest, and here is one that is marvellous.

 

From fauna to flora, it’s just the distance to the second book : “La route du thé”, from Julie Klein & Philippe Devouassoux, a young french couple who travelled on foot through chinese Sichuan and Yunnan regions.

route du thé

A lot of people know about the ancient silk road, but the tea road is far less known, that’s what they decided to explore : during 5 months, they walked more than 2000 miles and gathered information on a dedicated blog.

The first part is dedicated to Yunnan, from Pu’erh to Deqen, at the gate of Tibet. The second part goes from Ya’an to Xinlong, discovering Sichuan region. Julie & Philippe were autonomous, so they were able to stop anywhere to put up their tiny tent, but they often encountered locals that offered to host them. Travelling on foot, they could testify that language differs a lot from one place to another (especially in Yunnan, where there are a lot of ethnic minorities), and so does the food, they make us discover an incredible variety in tastes. I hope one day this book will be translated, it’s a fantastic testimony about travelling by yourself and meeting local traditions, I highly recommend it !

 

Le grand marin

This last one is more an adventure novel than a book about travel. Catherine Poulain is an incredible little french woman, she worked in a canning factory in Iceland, she was a barmaid in Hong Kong and she went fishing for ten years in “the last frontier”, yes it is, Alaska, that’s the subject of this book.

“Le grand marin” (“The great sailor”) is one of these books that you cannot drop until you finish it. It carries you along a whirlwind of sounds, smells, encounters, waves and wind. It’s the story of Lili, who will decide on a whim to leave the smoky bars of Manosque in southern France to travel alone as far as Kodiak island. This wild adventure is filled with a lot of sensations : fear, cold, extreme tiredness, intense joy, everything is mixed and the blazing style helps to the pleasure of reading. Just by turning the pages, you can transport yourself over there, sail with her, and that is the magic of reading, it’s all about escaping from the real world and dive in fiction.