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Travel Journal Reading

Updated on February 17, 2011

Reading Travel Journals

Not only do I enjoy writing travel journals, but I love to read them as well. For simple information, I can go to a travel guide book, but a travel journal brings a place to life in a special way. Not just a laundry list of places to go and things to see, the journal is colored by the writer’s background, experiences and temperament and gives her impressions and how the destination affected her personally. If the writer is talented and has a likable voice, the travel journal can be as exciting as any adventure novel, as dramatic as any novel.

Mark Twain - Innocents Abroad

When my sister and I took a Mediterranean cruise, we stopped in Venice, Croatia, Turkey and Greece, some of the same places that Mark Twain visited on a cruise almost 150 years ago. He wrote about his experience on that trip in the non-fiction book “Innocents Abroad.” My sister brought the book along on our trip, and the night before we got to a new destination, we read Twain’s account of his experiences there. Let me tell you, that Mark Twain was one sarcastic, funny dude. I especially loved the passage where authorities forbade the passengers to leave the ship outside Athens, but Twain was determined to see marvels like the acropolis that he and three other guys snuck off late at night and toured the town in the dark. Good stuff.

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay

This book was about Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough, a couple of young ladies who traveled to Europe in the 1920s. It’s a fun book from a very fresh and innocent point of view: they spend the night in a house of ill repute, thinking it’s a hotel. It was prohibition times back in the USA, and the girls’ glee at being able to drink legally was cute. The book was later made into a film and a Broadway musical

French Milk

I stumbled across this travel journal at a discount book store.  It relates the experiences of an art school student and her mother as they spend a month long vacation in Paris.  What I loved about this is that the author is a cartoonist, and the entire journal is illustrated. It made me wish I had artistic talent so I could illustrated my own journals like that.


Eat, Pray, Love

 Not a literal journal, but a good read.  Following the break up of her marriage and another failed relationship, a journalist decides to spend a year traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia. I love Italy, and I love to eat good food, so the Italy section was my favorite.  In the India portion of the book, she spends her time at an ashram in a small village, struggling with the boredom and emotional demands of hours spent each day praying and meditating. That part was a bit harder to get through, but still good.  And then she goes to Bali and falls in love. I'll admit I was turned off right off the bat at the way she describes the breakup of her marriage, but I stuck with it all the same and wound up enjoying the book. 


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    • arthurchappell profile image

      arthurchappell 7 years ago from Manchester, England

      good summary of an under-rated literary genre

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 7 years ago from South Carolina

      Very interesting, well written hub. I didn't realize that Mark Twain had traveled abroad and written a non-fiction book about it. Thanks for sharing this hub.