Hotels have begun unbolting their doors. Airports and airlines have started to share the steps they’ll be taking to make us feel more comfortable when flying. Yet international travel remains a daunting prospect.
Deciphering the travel restrictions that still apply, the international corridors that have opened up, and the policies of countries on either side of a potential trip is anything but straightforward – especially as governments across the world update their guidelines on an almost daily basis.
When you do decide to travel again, the experts at luxury tour operator Carrier are on hand to ensure your trip is as safe and seamless as possible. Working with exclusive airport service providers around the globe, Carrier can talk you through the ways it can help facilitate safe travel – from private jets, fast-track security and private check-ins, to your own departure lounge and the option to board a plane first or last.
Getting from A to B might have become more complex, but your passion for travel needn’t be diminished. So as to help you plan your next adventure, Carrier has compiled a directory of bucket-list books guaranteed to reignite your wanderlust.
Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts
Influenced by real events in the life of author, Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram follows the story of an Australian bank robber who escapes prison and settles in India’s largest city: Mumbai. Praised for its vivid accuracy and unique insight into the multi-faceted lives of Mumbai’s residents and underground network, Robert’s account provides an exciting escape into the heart of India and divulges an entirely different perspective of the country. With Robert’s guide, readers will be transported from their homes to the colourful and vivacious streets of India.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières
Attend enough weddings and you’ll be well acquainted with the famous extract from Louis de Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. ‘Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.’
The novel is an epic love story, as you can probably work out, set during the Italian and German occupation of Cephalonia during the Second World War – though you needn’t be holidaying on that specific island to fall in love with the picture of Greece and its inhabitants that the book so beautifully paints. Called ‘absolutely brilliant’ by former Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, and making a cameo appearance as Hugh Grant’s page-turner of choice in Notting Hill, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin will leave you yearning to discover the place its protagonist falls so deeply in love with.
Wild: From Lost to Found, Cheryl Strayed
Described by The New York Times as ‘spectacular… at once a breathtaking adventure tale and a profound meditation on the nature of grief and survival … both a literary and human triumph’, Wild: From Lost to Found became a blockbuster movie starring Reese Witherspoon in 2014, two years after Cheryl Strayed’s titular memoir had topped the New York Times Best Seller list.
Aged 22, Strayed had already lost her mother to cancer, witnessed her stepfather and siblings scatter to the wind, and seen her own marriage crumble at the hands of drug addiction and infidelity. Aged 26, she decided to hit the road, or, more accurately, the hiking trail, impulsively deciding to walk 1,100 miles, across nine mountain ranges, along the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. The United States of America might remain closed to international visitors, but this raw, emotive tale of travel’s ability to enrich and inspire will have you pining to visit the American West once it’s safe to do so.
Theatre For Dreamers, Polly Samson
Billed as one of the best new books of 2020, Theatre for Dreamers captures the carefree hedonism and bohemian spirit of the Greek island of Hydra in 1960. The sunny idyll famously attracted artists, writers, musicians and drifters, including Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian lover and muse, Marianne Ihlen, who are central to the novel.
The book has been expertly researched by Samson and is written from the point of view Erica, a naive ingénue who heads to Hydra following the death of her mother. It poetically conjures heady, sun-drenched beaches and bougainvillea-draped, tumbledown houses, as secrets, surprises and entangled love affairs unfurl amongst the artist’s colony.
Down Under, Bill Bryson
‘It is the driest, flattest, hottest, most desiccated, infertile and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents and still Australia teems with life – a large portion of it quite deadly. In fact, Australia has more things that can kill you in a very nasty way than anywhere else.’
There’s a reason why Bill Bryson is one of the world’s most widely-read travel authors – namely, that his affable, accessible, acerbic style of writing and dry-witted way of looking at the world will have you laughing out loud page after page as he barrels around whichever country he finds himself in. With Australia, there’s a helluva lot of country to be barrelling around. Travelling via train and car, Bryson documents the country’s history, people, geography and wildlife with characteristic perception and trait hilarity.
Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes
‘When I look back over the last two decades, it occurs to me: one of the great privileges of the author’s life is that you can make the world your home,’ wrote Frances Mayes in The Guardian in 2016 – 20 years after the publication of Under the Tuscan Sun. Mayes’ memoir of refurbishing a rundown villa in the Tuscan countryside made it on to the New York Times Bestseller List, where, incredibly, it remained for two and a half years. It has since been published in some 50 countries.
So emphatically does Under the Tuscan Sun capture the hope and romance of establishing a new life in a foreign country, and so attractively does the book portray the charms of Tuscany, that people travel from all over the world to see the ruined building that Mayes turned into a home. ‘Of the gifts that came back to me from writing,’ Mayes has written, ‘an Italian sense of time may be number one.’ A love letter to Tuscany, and the food and people found there, the book will have you longing for a sorjourn to the Italian countryside.
Luxury tailor-made tour operator Carrier is looking to the future with a spirit of optimism and perseverance – travel will return, and when it does, it will be ready. In the meantime, travellers can speak with Carrier’s experts to design their dream holiday, which can be embarked upon just as soon as it is safe to travel again. Please visit carrier.co.uk or call 0161-820-4807