Armchair Travels

Armchair Travels

(Guest post by Tee Lineng)

When I was young, I spent a lot of time with my nose buried deep in a book. Reading provided a wonderful escape from homework I didn’t want to do, or places I didn’t want to be. Reading opened up my imagination, taking me to countries that my parents weren’t able to take the family to, teaching me about the world beyond the small city I grew up in, introducing me to different ways of thinking, loving, feeling and living.

As I grew older, I had the opportunity to visit, work or study in some of those countries I’d read about, which made the experiences more precious, since I could compare if what I’d imagined or dreamt of was true. Two experiences stayed with me–the verdant greenery of the tea plantation hills in Ooty, India, which I had studied about as part of my Geography GCSE “O” Levels, and finding out why people seemed to love Japan (I’d done modules on Japanese culture and written carefully-researched essays about the country long before I ever set foot in it).

I’ve also been able to visit places I had not read about, and one of the small thrills for me before any trip still is to research the sights and sounds and people whom I might encounter on my visit. This usually involves, in addition to looking at photos, travel forums or ‘best of’ lists, some of the literature produced by writers from that particular country, or some online articles about the culture in the country.

Given how the current Covid-19 situation has made it mostly impossible for international travel to take place, this seems as good a time as any to stoke those feelings of wanderlust, and recline in a favoured armchair to devour tales about beautiful places I will journey to next. Perhaps you too are interested in travel writing, in which case please find a list of links below. Do write to share your favourite authors and articles too, and who knows, perhaps we can get to meet on the next flight or boat ride out, and swop travel tales!

Click titles to access articles.

For those who love the sea, with a touch of whimsy: 

About travelling solo, in South America:

In Guatemala, a Solo Traveler Learns It’s Sometimes Best to Leap Before You Look

A personal take on feeling like an outsider in Japan: 

The Space Between Us and the Ground Below Us, or: Why I Traveled to Japan

Insight into how writing about travel has changed over the years:

Wish I Were There the Life and Times of A Travel-writer

The Messy Divides in Travel Writing

Tomoki Yamada Traveling High Low

Something to imbibe:

Have Gin Will Travel

Some have aged better than others, but all worth a read for the zeitgeist of the times:

The 20 Best Travel Books of All Time