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FERNWEH, a German word that literally translates into English as ‘far- sickness’ means, a strong desire to travel and visit far off places. By this definition, it is the most wonderful disease to be diagnosed with and it is enveloping everyone with an incessant urge to see new places and meet new people. It is kind of poetic to travel to different cities embracing their history, living their culture and chasing new experiences from sunrises to sunsets, while pushing your boundaries and expanding your horizons. There are gifted humans who have turned their life- changing-travelling- stories into writings that have inspired and brought to life the “wanderlust” within many.
“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, while studying political science in New York University, started working on her short stories inspired by her travels across the country, working in bars, diners and ranches, collecting experiences to pen down into fiction. Her first book called ‘Pilgrims’ was a finalist for PEN/Hemingway award. She is best known for her 2006 memoir ‘Eat Pray Love’, a beautiful experience through Italy, India and Indonesia chronicled in an eloquent and candid yet an empowering style. Her work inspired many women to go solo exploring. Her recent novel is ‘The Signature of all Things’, a sprawling tale of 19th-century botanical exploration.
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.”
Paul Theroux, an American, can easily be termed the King of literary travel writing as he is the best that there is in the recent times. His reign started with his bestselling debut The Great Railway Bazaar, an assorted mix of exotic tales from a four-month journey by train across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Trains and railways have long fascinated him, and his writings have delighted the readers. The Old Patagonian Express tells the alternately hilarious and horrifying story of his travels from Boston to Patagonia. His work is richly descriptive dipped in sharp wit and irony, exemplified in Dark Star Safari, the account of his overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town.
“The true fruit of travel is perhaps the feeling of being nearly everywhere at home.”
A fearless English traveller, Stark’s fiercely extraordinary quests to the remotest corners of Arabia, the Middle East and Afghanistan gave a fillip to her writing career in the 1930s. She was one of the first non-Arabs to travel through the Southern Arabian Desert. Her pioneering achievements capture the interests of modern readers, with every moment recorded and relished in exceptional prose. The writer Lawrence Durrell rightly hailed her as a “poet of travel.” Some of her celebrated works are ‘The Southern gates of Arabia’, ‘Baghdad Sketches’, ‘Letters from Syria’ and many more.
“For puritans of whatever faith, God is in the detail.”
Mackintosh-Smith is an Arabist, traveller, writer and a lecturer, who has lived in Yemen for almost 30 years, piling up his travelling experiences in North Africa, the Middle East, India, Africa, and Europe. He is a Brit, possessed with a delightful passion to retrace the journeys of the great 14th century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battutah in the old Islamic world. Iconoclastic, erudite, occasionally coarse, he is an entertaining proof that there is plenty of life left in the travel-writing genre. His adventures with his idol ‘Ibn’ are documented in the best of his works, ‘Travels with Tangerine’, ‘Hall of a thousand Columns’, ‘Landfalls: On the edge of Islam with Ibn Battutah’ and the list goes on.
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves.”
Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer is a celebrated travel writer, who began his career documenting a neglected aspect of travel — the sometimes surreal disconnect between local tradition and imported global pop culture. He is a British-born essayist and novelist of Indian descent. He has written ten books, exploring the cultural consequences of isolation, whether writing about the exiled spiritual leaders of Tibet or the forbidden society of Cuba. His acclaimed books include ‘The Art of Stillness’, ‘The Open Roads’, ‘The Man within my Head’ and many more delving into his personal life while celebrating his professional interests.
So, let the works of these authors sweep you off your feet and take you to the faraway lands in search of experiences never experienced before. Explore the world and discover the ‘you’ within.