As we leave the winter doldrums behind and temperatures start to warm here in New England, thoughts of wanderlust start to creep into our minds as we look forward to better weather ahead. Travel can take so many forms: a long weekend at the shore, camping at one of our National Parks, crossing the pond to one of our European neighbors, or searching out some exotic and life changing experience. Traveling to new places is not only fun and a way to recharge our batteries, but also a way to expand our horizons, learn more about the world and the many types of people who inhabit it. And depending upon how you do it, a chance for self-discovery. But if you can’t get away or like to be an “armchair traveler” the following travel memoirs are the next best thing to being there.
Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.
Prepared by Nancy Gahagan
Recording Studio Manager
by Maya Angelou
DB 25432, BR 17159, Available as BARD Download
African American poet, actress, civil rights activist, and television producer-director recalls a 1960s pilgrimage to Ghana to connect with her ancestral roots. Describes her sadness and disillusionment at the lack of acceptance among native Ghanaians. Some strong language. 1986.
by Albert Podell
DB 81883, Available as BARD Download
Journalist describes his travels to every country on Earth, including seven that no longer exist, since he began in 1962 with a trip to Canada. Describes personal relationships with his family and girlfriends, co-leading the Trans World Record Expedition, and ways he entered countries closed to tourists. 2015.
by William Least Heat Moon
DB 18700, Available as BARD Download
With humor and compassion, the author, who is part Indian, recounts his travels of some 12,000 miles along the backroads of America in his live-in van. Seeking out such obscure places as Dimebox, Texas; Nameless, Tennessee; and Lookingglass, Oregon, and in search of himself, he found an America that restored his beliefs. Some strong language. Bestseller. 1983.
by Anthony Bourdain
DB 54047, Available as BARD Download
Chef’s journey pairs food and travel for adventures—if not perfection—in eating. Bourdain eats duck in the Mekong Delta with Vietnamese war heroes, attends a pig slaughter in Portugal, and retraces childhood summers in France. Strong language. Bestseller. 2001.
by Rosemary Mahoney
DB 67048, Available as BARD Download
Rower and award-winning author, recounts her 120-mile solo journey along the Nile between the Egyptian cities of Aswan and Qena. Describes her search for a boat, her excitement in finding ancient ruins, and the obstacles she faced as she confronted searing heat and cultural differences. Strong language. 2007.
by Elizabeth Gilbert
DB 61789, BR 21243, LT 20600, DVD 636, Available as BARD Download
A successful young author, recently divorced, seeks distraction and solace during a year of travel. She describes finding culinary pleasure in Italy, ascetic meditation at an ashram in India, and a love affair in Bali. 2006.
by Colin O’Brady
DB 98789, Available as BARD Download
Man’s chronicle of crossing the Antarctic alone ten years after being horrifically injured in an accident. Discusses his mental and physical preparations for the trip, challenges he encountered, reflections on his past including relationships that shaped him, and what it took to achieve his goal. 2020.
by Bill Bryson
DB 50276, Available as BARD Download
The author of A Walk in the Woods (DB 46519) now chronicles his exploration of Australia. This good-humored traveler relates his outback adventures with anecdotes about the history and local inhabitants. Describes the harsh terrain and hostile wildlife including crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and attacking seashells. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2000.
by Dervla Murphy
DB 25033, Available as BARD Download
An Irishwoman recounts the rigors and joys of a four-thousand-mile bicycle trip she undertook in 1963 through nine countries. She describes episodes of hunger, heat exhaustion, unbearable terrain, remote cultures, and several incidents of personal danger, but through all she revels in the adventure of her journey, the grandeur of her surroundings, and the hospitality of the people she met. 1986.
by Kate Harris
DB 92700, Available as BARD Download
Memoir of a bicycle trip across the ancient Silk Road from Istanbul, Turkey, to the Greater Himalaya mountain range. Details experiences had on the trip and includes reflections on the personal revelations the author had while traveling. 2018.
by Paul Theroux
DB 76902, Available as BARD Download
Author of Dark Star Safari (DB 63045) and The Lower River (DB 75221) chronicles his final journey across the African continent in 2011. Shares his observations on being an older traveler, the state of modern African life, and traveling alone. 2013.
by Conor Knighton
DB 99776 91754, BR 11395, LT 2393, Available as BARD Download
In the wake of a failed engagement, and for the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service, Knighton decided to travel to all fifty-nine national parks. Shares insights of his travels, and discusses the history and potential future of the parks. 2020.
by Andrew McCarthy
DB 75519, BR 19622, Available as BARD Download
Actor and travel writer McCarthy, discusses the impact his travels have had on his psyche. Describes climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro; visiting Baltimore, Maryland; and boating on the Amazon. Details the ways the trips helped him grow up, learn about himself, and better relate to others. 2012.
by Mary Morris
DB 28335, Available as BARD download
Growing weary of life in New York, Morris, a novelist and short story writer, sets out for San Miguel, high in the Mexican desert, where she intends to create a home base for a year. In the end, Morris finds and forfeits romance, and comes to an understanding of Mexico and of herself as she finds the courage to travel on alone. 1988.
by Irene Skyriver
DBC 6979, Available as BARD Download
Irene Skyriver celebrated her fortieth birthday by making a solo kayak voyage from Alaska to Washington State’s Lopez Island. As she made her journey, she pictured what life was like for Native American and white ancestors. 2022.
by Winifred Georg Sebald
DBC 1303, BR 12353, Available as BARD Download
A walking tour of England’s southeast coast frames a wide-ranging series of meditations on literature and stories from Britain’s imperial past. A stay in a Norwich hospital prompts the protagonist to search for naturalist Thomas Browne’s skull; a railroad bridge over the river Blyth recalls England’s silk trade with China. 1998.
by Peter Matthiessen
DB 14615, Available as BARD Download
Account of a journey that began in September, 1973, when the novelist-explorer set out with field biologist George Schaller to the Crystal Mountain across the Himalayas on the Tibetan plateau. Schaller wished to observe the rutting of the blue sheep, and Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, hoped to find the Lama of Shey. 1979.
by Rita Golden Gelman
BR 15269, Available as BARD download
Children’s author and self-proclaimed “modern-day nomad” recounts her travels since 1986 when, on the verge of divorce at age forty-eight, she abandoned her upscale California existence. Gelman’s serendipitous lifestyle takes her around the world—from the Galápagos to Thailand and beyond—where she connects with locals, learns their customs, and shares their lives. 2001.
by Alastair Scott
DB 33380, Available as BARD Download
“It seems that every winter we have an unusual musher…and this year we have Alistair Scott. He arrived in Manley from Scotland,” said an Alaskan newspaper about the author. Scott prepared to follow the eight-hundred-mile route of the Iditarod, the annual dog sled race, arriving in Alaska with no dogs, no sled, and no experience. He chronicles his adventure with hospitable characters and all-but-human dogs. 1990.
by John Steinbeck
DB 16094, BR 9952, LT 2402, Available as BARD Download
Feeling that as an American writer he has lost touch with his country, the author sets out on a swing around the United States to see what it is really like. He travels in a trailer with “an old French gentleman poodle.” Here is the leisurely account of what he saw, whom he talked with, and his conclusions, hopeful and otherwise. 1962.
by Cheryl Strayed
DB 74646, Available as BARD Download
Author recounts the three-month, 1,100-mile solo hike she took on a whim in 1995, after years of devastating personal losses. Describes her encounters with rattlesnakes, locals, fellow hikers, and her own thoughts during her trek from Los Angeles to Washington State on the Pacific Crest Trail. Strong language. Bestseller. 2012.
by Alice Steinbach
DB 52105, Available as BARD Download
Travel memoir by a Pulitzer Prize-winning Baltimore journalist, who recalls feeling too narrowly defined by her roles as a newspaper columnist and mother of grown sons. In 1993, to rediscover herself, Steinbach spent a year living in Europe and sent herself postcards recording her impressions of the adventure. 2000.
by Frances Mayes
DB 61339, Available as BARD Download
Author of Under the Tuscan Sun (DB 44847) and her husband explore Spain, Portugal, southern Italy, Sicily, Morocco, Greece, Crete, Scotland, Turkey, and places in between. Discusses each country’s cultural, historical, and literary highlights and savors the local cuisine. Commercial audiobook. 2006.