9 Trav­el­ling for ro­mance and death

This month’s book­shelf is not the sen­ti­men­tal type…

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - 360˚ Need To Know -

Death is just the be­gin­ning for this month’s books, and in­deed for mor­ti­cian Caitlin Doughty, whose pro­fes­sional cu­rios­ity sees her trav­el­ling to gain an un­der­stand­ing of how the planet deals with pass­ing on. Tak­ing her from the USA to In­done­sia, Ja­pan and Bo­livia, From Here to Eter­nity (W&N, £15) is a study in cul­tures, places and pro­found mo­ments – and with a nec­es­sary slice of mor­bid hu­mour, too.

In Voy­age of the South­ern Sun (Black Inc, £17), Michael Smith gets to feel death’s icy breath as well, though it may just be wind re­sis­tance. His quest to be the first per­son to travel the world by am­phibi­ous plane al­most comes to an end off the Cana­dian coast. Thank­fully, a hefty thwack of Aussie can-do at­ti­tude and good cheer gets him through the jour­ney – and the rest of the book.

There were cer­tainly gig­gles to be had on the The Hip­pie Trail (Manch­ester Uni­ver­sity Press, £20) in the ’60s, the start­ing point for many life­long trav­ellers. Strip­ping the hazy ro­mance out of it, Sharif Gemie and Brian Ire­land’s his­tory in­stead analy­ses the wider so­cial con­text of who, how and why the Afghan­wear­ers found them­selves Afghanistan-bound.

Mean­while, there’s plenty of travel ro­mance found in Scraps of Wool: A Jour­ney Through the Golden Age of Travel Writ­ing (Un­bound, £20). Com­piled by Bill Cole­grave, this col­lects to­gether ex­cerpts of lit­er­ary gems from around the word. It’s a chest of travel writ­ing trea­sure and will pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion aplenty.

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