Eight Great Travel Books Based on True Stories

Eight Great Travel Books Based on True Stories

Evasion – Don’t Know

A collection of zines published by CrimethInc in 2003. The author travels the US by hitchhiking and train-hopping. He sleeps on the roofs of donut shops, dumpster dives, shoplifts and generally tries just about everything except working to survive as a strict Vegan on the streets. I don’t reccomend you start returning reciepts you found in bins to scam shops into giving you money to buy bagels but it’s definetly a must read soley for the writing. No book I have ever read has portrayed such a desire for adventure, with a vegan anarchist twist. The authors story is interesting too and often funny. Not many regulars of punk concerts living on the streets refuse to eat meat, drink alcohol, smoke weed, shoplift Madonna CDs and hope to find a girlfreind while dumpster diving. Free PDF copies are available around the internet.


On The Road – Jack Kerouac

Kerouac’s masterpiece which has immortalised the “Beat Generation”. Apparently written in only three weeks the fast paced book races over and back across the US and down to Mexico. Sex, drugs, shoplifting and Kerouac’s struggles on the road as he more or less followed Cassidy, a rogue car-jacker around the US. A must read even if you don’t plan on living it rough. The Dharma Bums is worth a mention too, if you like this book.

Kerouac and Cassidy

American Shaolin – Matthew Polly

I was left with a burning desire to visit China and learn martial arts after this book. The author comes from the US and is not only practised in martial arts but fluent in Chinese and an entertaining writer. The book is often very funny but provides a very real insight into life within China and the Shaolin Temple itself. A must read if you desire a journey to China.


Marco Polo

Again set in Asia, not as relevant to today but still a garanteed page turner for the adventurer. The slow paced travel of the days before the engine will leave you grateful yet somewhat dissapointed. The strange customs and places Marco meet will never be meet again. The way he described strange animals such as a Giraffe filled me with jealousy, he really explored the unkown. An unknown we can never find in the age of the internet.

Marco’s Travels

Hitchhiking Round Ireland with a Fridge – Tony Hawks

He did exactly that after losing a bet to a friend. Tony details the more fun side of hitchhiking just for the hell of it. A great example in how hitchhiking is so easily doable in almost any circumstance with a positive attitude. He stayed in B&Bs and was helped by a radio station so don’t expect anything “backpacker” about the book. Still very funny and definetly worth a read.


Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck

Steinback takes to travelling around the US in a camper with his poodle. A very well written and light read, Steinback of course writes in only the way a member of the lost generation writes, just beautifully. He set out to discover more about his fellow country men and along the way he ponders many great questions such as the politics and racism whitin the US and even picks up two hitchhikers.

Steinback and his Poodle Charlie

 Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

A must read for any backpacker. Wheter or not you believe Christopher Mccandless was wreckless in his adventure into Alaska or a hero that todays materialistic world needs to learn lessons from is up to you.

The book is very well written and goes into far more detail then the movie of the same title bases on Christopher’s adventure on the road. Probably the books that’s most relevant to todays backpackers and hitchhikers on the list.

Chris in Alaska

The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was another writer to spring from the “lost generation”. WW1 soldiers left in Europe with little desire to work and plenty of motive to drink.

The book is based on Hemingways life in Paris and travel to Spain to witness some bullfights and to party. Possibly his best book it will leave you craving a walk around Paris to “utilise” bars and speak French.


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