By Ann MacLean
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The following books are oldies, but in my opinion, goodies! I have read them all. Some of them twice! They have all inspired me in one way or another to dare to follow my dreams, to break from the mould and step off the too long trodden beaten track!
Hopefully, if you haven’t read them already, they might inspire you too, but at the very least they make for excellent reading entertainment; sometimes dramatic; sometimes tragic; sometimes romantic; sometimes spiritual and often with great humour. All of them however give a detailed and touching insight into different cultures and an outsiders enduring and courageous struggle to try and understand, integrate and be accepted by that culture.
These are only a handful of my favourites and there are so many truly inspirational travel based stories available to read. It would be great to hear about your favourites and how they inspired you so please share your story in the comments box below.
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This one first inspired me to seek an alternative life after I read how Annie Hawes and her sister found themselves quite by accident moving to the Italian Riveria. Their trials and tribulations as two English girls working along side olive farmers, and integrating into village life of Diano San Pietro, hilarious. This is a must read.
Frances Mayes – widely published poet, gourmet cook and travel writer – isn’t this just a great read and I’ve seen the movie of the same name that was based on the book… several times! Another inspirational read that influenced my dream to find my own Mediteranian dream life. On a whim she buys and restores abandoned villa in the beautiful Tuscan countryside and writes about the adventures of her incredible journey. using produce from her garden and the nearby countryside and markets, she creates delicious recipes in her traditional kitchen and talks passionately about the food and wine that she experiences. A great insite into wonderful Tuscany life. Under The Tuscan Sun is a great read.
I really enjoyed this book about Peter Mayle’s experience of living in rural France. A Year in Provence.
Peter Mayle and his wife took the plunge and bought a two hundred year old farmhouse in France, making their long cherished dream come true. The story tells of a year beginning with a marathon lunch which set the scene for twelve months of gastronomic delights, they also survived the unexpected and often hilarious curiosities of rural life. From mastering the local accent and enduring invasion by bumbling builders, to discovering the finer points of boules and goat-racing, all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life are conjured up in this delightful book.
It’s All Greek to Me!
Intoxicated with dreams of a Greek paradise, John Mole inflicts upon his family a tumbledown ruin on a hillside with no water, no electricity, no roof, no floor, no doors, no windows and twenty years of goat dung… far away from the tourist resorts and posh hotels.
Through hard work and comic misadventures a bond is formed with a vivid cast of village characters – from Elpida who cures back pain with raw eggs to beautiful Eleni yearning for Düsseldorf – over bottles of ouzo, whisky and wine. If only Hector the dog would calm down.
UPDATED EDITION WITH A NEW CHAPTER.
I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.’ So begins Robyn Davidson’s perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company.
Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia’s landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.
WITH A NEW POSTSCRIPT BY THE AUTHOR AND A STUNNING COLOUR PICTURE SECTION
Also a major motion picture starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver
“Mutant Message Downunder” is the fictional account of an American woman’s spiritual odyssey through outback Australia. An underground bestseller in its original self-published edition, Marlo Morgan’s powerful tale of challenge and endurance has a message for us all. Summoned by a remote tribe of nomadic Aborigines to accompany them on walkabout, the woman makes a four-month-long journey and learns how they thrive in natural harmony with the plants and animals that exist in the rugged lands of Australia’s bush. From the first day of her adventure, Morgan is challenged by the physical requirements of the journey–she faces daily tests of her endurance, challenges that ultimately contribute to her personal transformation. By traveling with this extraordinary community, Morgan becomes a witness to their essential way of being in a world based on the ancient wisdom and philosophy of a culture that is more than 50,000 years old.